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BELMONT (17-7, 10-2 A-Sun)
Lipscomb (11-13, 6-6 A-Sun)
2/3/2012 | Nashville, Tenn. - Allen Arena | Attendance: 5387
Friday, February 03, 2012
It’s a game that can truly be called an event, but in the grand scheme of things it is only one game in a season.
Friday night in front of a standing room only crowd of 5,387, the second largest crowd in Allen Arena history, the Lipscomb Bison fell 84-58 to rival Belmont in the second installment of the “Battle of the Boulevard.” The Bison had won the first meeting this season 85-74.
When all of the hoopla is stripped away this was a key Atlantic Sun Conference game. The Bison dropped to 11-13 overall, 6-6 in the A-Sun. Belmont is 17-7, 10-2 in the conference.
“Belmont shot the ball extremely well,” Lipscomb coach Scott Sanderson said. “They shared the basketball. They played very well.
“We got beat here and it is one loss. We beat them three weeks ago and that was one win. We have to learn from this game and move on.”
Belmont set the tone of the game in the first half hitting 9-of-17 shots from 3-point range. At the half Belmont led 51-29.
The Bison made a run in the second half, pulling to within 14 at 63-49 with 11:26 left to play on a lay-up by Malcolm Smith.
“We thought we had a chance,” Sanderson said. “We came down three straight times and didn’t get a shot. They missed their shots but got five or six offensive rebounds during that segment. I thought that was the back breaker for us.
“If we could have rebounded the ball and cut their lead to 10 or under we would have started getting into their heads since we had come back several times against them.”
Guard Drew Hanlen paced Belmont with 21 points, hitting 7-of-9 shots from the arc. Guard Ian Clark added 15 points and forward Blake Jenkins finished with 10.
Forward Malcolm Smith led the Bison with 14 points. Forward Martin Smith tossed in 12. Guard Deonte Alexander chipped in with 10.
“It was definitely deflating,” Malcolm Smith said. “We came out pretty strong. We talked in the locker room about how important the first five minutes would be. We didn’t respond very well to Belmont’s runs.”
After shooting 63.3 percent from the field in the first half, Belmont cooled down a little in the second finishing with a 52.5 percent success rate. The Bison shot 37.7 percent from the field for the game.
“I thought our guys came out in the second half and played the way we wanted them to play,” Sanderson said. “But obviously you can’t build that big of a hole against a team as good as they are.
“In the game over there in the second half they got the same looks and didn’t make them. We got rebounds and scored a lot in transition. This time those same shots were going in for them.”
Belmont held a 41-28 rebounding advantage. Belmont scored 32 points in the paint compared to 12 by the Bison.
The Bison head to Florida for the next two games, stopping at Stetson Feb. 11 and then traveling to Florida Gulf Coast Feb. 13.