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Bisons find the winning touch at home with 70-65 OT win over Samford

Monday, November 26, 2007

Nov. 26, 2007

Final Stats GALLERY

There is usually no place like home for the Lipscomb Bisons.

Monday night they played their first regular season home game, beating Samford 70-65 in overtime at Allen Arena. It was the second win for the Bisons this season in seven games.

It was the first overtime game for the Bisons this season and their first since Jan. 4, 2007 when they lost 75-72 to ETSU in Johnson City. The last overtime game in Allen Arena was a 97-85 win over Belmont Jan. 20, 2006.

"We love playing in Allen Arena," said Lipscomb coach Scott Sanderson. "But our success makes it difficult for us to play at home."

Freshman forward Brandon Brown completed his second double-double of the season tying with a team-high and season-high 17 points and a game-high and season high 16 rebounds. It was the fourth consecutive game that Brown has finished in double figures in rebounds. He had 10 points and 13 rebounds at Middle Tennessee State last week.

Brown finished on rebound away from tying the school's all-time single game record of 17 set by Cameron Robinson against Jackson State on Dec. 8, 2005 in Allen Arena. Brown is ranked second behind Robinson for a single-game rebound total in the NCAA era.

"My exact conversation with him under the goal in practice Sunday was that you play very good and I'm proud of you, but you can play better," said Sanderson. "He looked me in the eye and told me. `yes'. He stopped up against Samford and made big plays on both ends of the floor."

Brown has shown a willingness to not only listen to what he is being told, but to execute it as well.

"Brandon has great character," Sanderson said. "He wants to listen. He looks at you eyeball to eyeball. He wants to learn. That's what I like so much about him."

Sanderson admits that most of the reasons why Brown is such a solid rebounder can't be coached.

"He is very long," Sanderson said. "He has great anticipation skills. He has a great feel for where the ball is going to come off of the rim. He chases the ball down. A lot of his rebounds are away from the goal."

Senior forward Eddie Ard also finished with 17 points for the Bisons.

The game was a character check for the entire team. Sanderson stressed it is the type of game that a team can build on. The largest lead for Samford was five points at 12:29 of the first half. The biggest lead for the Bisons was eight in the overtime period.

The score was tied 10 times. There were 17 lead changes.

Samford's motion offense was challenge for the Bisons who played their strongest defense when the stakes were highest in the game.

"They are very hard to play against," Sanderson said. "They spread you out. They were making threes. They were back-dooring us. We had to guard the whole floor and that is difficult to do."

In the overtime period everything seemed to shift in the Bisons direction. They scored the first three points in overtime on a jumper by LaKory Daniels.

"We got three offensive rebounds in a row on our second possession and really wore them down," Sanderson said. "Samford had not shot the ball well this season, But they hit 11-of-25 3-point shots and hit 44 percent. We didn't anticipate that happening.

"I thought our press hurt them early in the game. We didn't get as much out of the press as we thought we would as far as scoring. But we forced them to turn the ball over a couple of times and that was very beneficial to us. We play solid on defense, but it was a hard game to play."

Sanderson also was impressed with the play of his reserves. Nicholas Hodge, Devon Seaford and Josh Slater all came in and hit big 3-point shots.

Joe Ross Merritt scored a game-high 20 points for Samford. Also in double figures for Samford were Trey Montgomery with 15 points, Travis Peterson with 12 and Curtis West with 11.

Samford slipped to 2-3 with the loss.

The Bisons are back at home Thursday night at 7 when McNeese State visits.