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Lipscomb (12-17 (7-10ASun))
Mercer University (21-9 (13-4 ASun))
2/23/2012 | Macon, Ga. - University Center | Attendance: 2450
Wednesday, February 22, 2012
”If this man should fall, who will lift the flag and carry on?” - Col. Robert G. Shaw, the movie Glory.
Coach Scott Sanderson is not directing his Lipscomb Bison into a battle, but he has spent much of the second half of the season trying to replace his top two scorers.
First, Robert Boyd, the second highest scorer on the team, did not return to school after Christmas due to academic issues. Two weeks ago Jordan Burgason, the team’s scoring leader was dismissed for the violation of team rules.
The eight remaining scholarship players have had to regroup. To make matters even more challenging six of them are freshmen and one is a transfer in his first year with the program. But those six have accounted for 43.9 percent of the scoring this season.
The remaining players have pulled together, something that does not surprise Sanderson. Five of the active players are averaging between 8.0 and 9.6 points per game
“Playing together as a team is vital now that we down in numbers,” Sanderson said. “Sometimes when you have smaller numbers it seems to work that way.
“Everybody is playing. It is easier to be all in when everybody is competing and playing. Everybody has a role. The roles of some guys have expanded.”
Freshman Martin Smith has been one of the players to step forward. He has started the last seven games and averages 27.7 minutes in the last 11 games and is averaging 9.7 points during that span.
He scored a career-high 18 points Monday night in the loss to ETSU.
“Martin was playing 12 minutes a game early in the season,” Sanderson said. “He has played very, very well. He has gotten the opportunity and he is taking advantage of it.”
“I told Martin when we recruited him that I thought he had a huge upside. He is very, very skilled. He can shoot it. He can handle the ball. I don’t think he has any idea how good he can be.”
Junior Deonte Alexander has scored 67 points in the last five games, an average of 13.4. Freshman Malcolm Smith leads Lipscomb with 9.6 points in 18.4 minutes per game. Senior Justin Glenn averages 8 points on 60.4 percent shooting and a team-high 7.2 rebounds, third in the Atlantic Sun Conference.
The Bison have a berth in the A-Sun Tournament which begins Feb. 29 in Macon, Ga. But they still have two regular season games, both on the road. Thursday night they face Mercer in Macon at 6:30 and then head to Kennesaw State for a 4 p.m. game Saturday.
The Bison are 4-9 on the road and Mercer has lost once at home this season in 12 games.
“We want to continue to make strides defensively,” Sanderson said. “We want to continue to make strides rebounding the basketball.
“Playing them on their home court where they are comfortable is not a bad thing at all. We haven’t seen them since December. They beat you by community. No one guy is going to go out there and overwhelm you. They beat you with their team.”
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