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Bisons learn valuable lessons in first game of Canada trip

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Sept. 2, 2006

TORONTO, ONTARIO _ Exhibition basketball games in early September are more about the experience gained than the wins collected.

But Lipscomb Coach Scott Sanderson would have been a lot happier if his Bisons had ended up on the right side of an 84-77 score Saturday morning against the University of Toronto Varsity Blues at a neutral court at Humber College. But the fast-paced game gave Sanderson's team the type of test it needed.

"This kind of game was great for us, especially how Toronto played and the way they spread the floor offensively," said Sanderson. "This game is going to be an unbelievable learning experience for us.

"Toronto shoots the ball and executes well," said Sanderson. "They did a lot of pick and rolls, which we have not worked on a lot. They knew when to take the ball to the basket. They caused some problems."

Tonight the Bisons return to the court to play Guelph University at 7 p.m. CDT in the second of four exhibition games against Canadian teams.

Sanderson used 10 players, with freshmen Devon Seaford, Michael Teller, Brandon Moore and transfers Ryan Daniel and Jason Hopkins all on the court for significant amounts of time.

The Bisons starting line-up for both the first and second halves was Trey Williams at the point, Brian Fisk and Michael Lusk at the other guard positions, Eddie Ard at the No. 4 forward spot and Hopkins at center.

The Bisons were down 45-37 in the first half but outscored Toronto 40-39 in the second half.

"The thing I didn't like was the transition baskets we gave up in the first half," said Sanderson. "We gave up a lot of cheap transition baskets. I thought our half-court defense in the first half was not very good.

"And then, when we got to a workable margin late in the second half, we never could get that signature stop. I thought in the second half was established ourselves on defense for a little while."

Teller and Seaford both showed an unusual amount of poise. Teller led the Bisons in scoring with 17 points, hitting 6-of-10 shots from the field, 3-of-5 from the 3-point line. Seaford added 10 points.

"We thought going in both of those kids were going to good players for us," said Sanderson. "They have a long way to go defensively, but they are going to be good players."

Also in double figures for the Bisons was Ard.

Toronto placed five players in double figures with Dwayne Grant leading all scorers with 20, Mike Williams (19), Ben Katz (16) and Mohammed Safarzadeh and Mike Degiorgio with 10 apiece.

The Bisons shot 44.6 percent (29-of-65) from the field. Toronto shot 58.2 percent (32-of-55) from the field.

Toronto also held a 36-29 advantage in rebounding. Lusk and Ard tied for the rebounding lead for the Bisons with seven each.

"This experience will be so valuable to us in January and February in terms of building this team," said Sanderson. "We wanted to build team unity on this trip. And we wanted to learn the strengths and weaknesses of our players. After game one we learned more about our team than we did after 10 days of practice."

The Bisons play York Sunday night at 7 and then close out the trip against Humber Monday morning at 10 a.m. All games will be broadcast live on the Internet.