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Wednesday, February 23, 2011It’s all about taking it one game at a time for the Lipscomb Bisons basketball team, but even they are having trouble separating the final two games of the regular season.
Thursday the Bisons visit Kennesaw State for a 6:30 p.m. game. Saturday they close out the regular season at Mercer in Macon, Ga., at 3:30.
Five days later they will return to Macon for the Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament. No matter what happens in the final regular season games the Bisons will face Mercer again for the second time. One of the teams will be the No. 4 seed and one will be No. 5.
“I honestly believe that we are not that far away from reaching our peak.” Lipscomb coach Scott Sanderson said. “This year we have won a couple and then we will lose one. It has kind of gone back and forth.
“The beauty of it is it is Feb. 23 and our team still has room to grow and get better. The best part about it is that not only do our coaches know that, but our players know it and feel it. That is very, very important.”
Sanderson knows his team still can improve in the next several days. He would like to have some momentum heading into the tournament in terms of wins, but that hasn’t always been successful.
“If we can win these two we will have won four of our last five games,” Sanderson said. “That would give us some momentum.
“Two years ago we went into the A-Sun Tournament on a 10-game winning streak and last year we went into the tournament on a seven-game winning streak. We got beat in the first round last season and the second round two years ago.”
One thing missing from the Bisons this season has been consistency.
“As soon as we get better I am going to continue prodding them to get even better,” Sanderson said. “We haven’t been consistent on both ends of the floor.
“For a three-to-five minute period if you are inconsistent it is going to cost you. The players are taking that in. We have good internal leadership with players like Josh Slater and Adnan Hodzic.”
Playing against Kennesaw State will be a challenge on a number of levels. The Bisons have historically struggled at KSU’s Convocation Center. Kennesaw State is also playing for a tournament spot.
“We just don’t play particularly well there for whatever the reason,” Sanderson said. “Plus Kennesaw State is fighting for its life to get into the tournament.
“It’s all about knowledge and understanding and having fresh legs down the stretch. More than anything I want them to show me their understanding by the way they play in practice.”
The game with Kennesaw State will pit some of the top scorers and rebounders in the league against each other. Kennesaw State’s Markeith Cummings is at the top of the conference in scoring with 18.7 points per game. Hodzic is second with 18.2. Slater is fourth overall with 16.2 points per game. Spencer Dixon is 10th with 13.2 for Kennesaw State. Jordan Burgason is averaging 10.4 points.
On the boards Kennesaw State’s LaDaris Green leads the conference with 8.5 rebounds per game. He is also averaging 10.1 points. Hodzic is second in rebounds with 7.3.
Slater leads the conference in steals with 86, an average of 3.19 per game. He is also second in the nation in NCAA Division I in steals.
Lipscomb’s Robert Boyd is fourth in the conference in steals with 1.81 per game.
The Bisons beat Kennesaw State 99-73 Dec. 18 at Allen Arena.
The Bisons are 16-11 overall, 11-7 in the A-Sun. Kennesaw State is 8-20 overall, 6-12 in the conference.
Written by Mark McGee, Senior Publisher/Director of Media Relations.