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Bisons unable to win uphill battle against Jacksonville

Saturday, January 08, 2011

The Lipscomb Bisons have several talented parts, but getting those parts to play consistently as a unit is still a work in progress.

Saturday night in a 60-56 Atlantic Sun Conference loss to Jacksonville at Allen Arena senior center Adnan Hodzic had what would be an off-night for him, though most players would be more than thrilled with 14 points and 10 rebounds.

“Adnan was not himself,” Bisons’ coach Scott Sanderson said. “He did not play very well. He did not catch the ball very well. He looked sluggish and tired to me.”

Senior guard Josh Slater stepped up in the second half scoring 16 of his game-leading 21 points. But the Bisons’ coaching staff is still looking for consistent No. 3 and No. 4 scoring options.

“The way we are playing right now is something tough teams shake themselves out of,” Sanderson said. “I don’t know how tough we are. That’s a sad thing to say when you have four seniors who have played a lot of basketball.”

The Bisons fought back and tied the game at 56-56 with 1:11 left to play on a pair of free throws by Slater. But they couldn’t capitalize as Slater missed a 3-pointer with five seconds left and Jordan Burgason missed one with two seconds remaining in an effort to send the game into overtime.

“Against a top-ranked team in our league you can’t play just 20 minutes,” Sanderson said. “The problem we had was we were fighting uphill the whole time. And when you are fighting uphill that takes the gas out of you.

“The bottom line is we are not playing very good right now. To be honest we haven’t played a complete game on both ends of the floor since the Alabama game.”

The Bisons shot only 34 percent from the field hitting 18-of-53 shots. They were only four-of-20 from 3-point range, a 20 percent success rate.

Jacksonville wasn’t that much better hitting 35.6 percent from the field, 21-of-59; and 15.8 percent from the 3-point arc, three-of-19.

In the first half the Bisons fell behind 37-25 at intermission sparked by 14 turnovers and a nine-for-28 performance from the field.

“The first half set the tone,” Sanderson said. “They completely outshot us and beat us up pretty bad on the boards.”

In the second half Jacksonville did not score until 14:07 of the second half, but the Bisons managed only two points during that streak.

“We held Jacksonville to 30 percent in the second half and which is plenty good enough,” Sanderson said. “But when you give up 16 offensive rebounds that’s not good enough.”

The Bisons were out-rebounded 42-36.

Four Jacksonville players scored in double figures led by forward Ayron Hardy with 16. Guard Travis Cohn chipped in with 12. Guards Russell Powell and Keith McDougald each scored 10 points.

The loss dropped the Bisons to 8-6, 3-2 in the conference. Jacksonville is 10-3, 4-0 in the A-Sun.

The Bisons are back in action against North Florida which is coming off a 91-59 loss at Belmont Saturday night. North Florida is 5-10, 2-2 in the conference.

“North Florida is a very good team,” Sanderson said. “They will be tough and physical. The way we are playing right now everybody is going to be a challenge for us.”

Written by Mark McGee, Senior Publisher/Director of Media Relations.