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Kennesaw State (2-18, 1-7 ASUN)
Lipscomb (8-11, 3-5 ASUN)
1/24/2013 | Nashville, Tenn. (Allen Arena) | Attendance: 895
Thursday, January 24, 2013
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- With a young and sometimes unpredictable team, nothing can be more gut-wrenching for a coach than a five-minute overtime period.
When Lipscomb men’s basketball coach Scott Sanderson huddled with his players Thursday night he decided the smart strategy was to play on the positives. He reminded his players that they had beaten Florida Gulf Coast on the road 87-78 in overtime Jan. 17.
“I told them we were 1-0 in overtime and that we knew how to win in overtime,” Sanderson said. “That’s what I wanted them to know in their heads. We had not played particularly well, but had five minutes left. I told them that we were fortunate to be in overtime so let’s win it.
“We got the stop we had to make to get us into overtime. We made some nice shots. We made some free throws after missing a bunch of free throws late in the game.”
Based on how the Bisons played for the first 40 minutes of the game, Sanderson struggled to find positives. But the upbeat approach worked as the Bisons beat Kennesaw State 79-72 in an Atlantic Sun Conference match-up at Allen Arena. The Bisons outscored Kennesaw State 18-11 in overtime after playing to a 61-61 deadlock in regulation.
“Sometimes you have to win ugly,” Sanderson said. “I don’t want to take anything away from Kennesaw State. They played extremely well. But our energy and focus weren’t very good. We were very fortunate to win.”
Forward Malcolm Smith was the most consistent player for the Bisons, finishing with a game-high 21 points and a team-leading 12 rebounds. Both totals were also one short of his career highs in those categories. It was also his third double-double of the season.
“We needed all of Malcolm’s rebounds,” Sanderson said. “He had a couple of baskets in transition. He is coming on. He is getting to be one of our most consistent players and we definitely need that.”
Malcolm Smith hit a pair of free throws with 27 seconds left to tie the game in regulation. He gave the credit to his teammates for his performance from the field, and blamed himself for a seven-of-12 night from the free throw line.
“I feel like I had a good night from the field,” Malcolm Smith said. “My teammates responded to me and I knocked down some shots. I am grateful for that.
“I definitely didn’t have a good night at the charity stripe. But I had two big ones and I thank God for that. I made them when I had to and that is what counts.”
In the overtime period center Stephen Hurt, one of a couple of Bisons players battling the flu, scored eight of his 12 points in overtime. He also added 10 rebounds for a double-double. Hurt has recorded double-doubles in seven of his last 11 games.
“Sometimes you have to play through being sick,” Sanderson said. “It’s unfortunate. We had to take him in and out of the game a lot more than we normally do because he couldn’t play for long periods of time.
“He didn’t play very well during the course of the game. He missed some easy baskets and he missed some free throws. He did some things he usually does not do. But he did step up in overtime.”
Hurt said it was a matter of refocusing.
“I knew what I had to do for us to get the win,” Hurt said. “I just stepped up my game.
“I think my teammates have confidence in me based on past experiences. They expect a lot from me and I have to live up to what they expect.”
Ironically, the last time the Bisons had two players with double-doubles was Dec. 3, 2011 when Malcolm Smith and Justin Glenn accomplished the feat here against Kennesaw State.
Also in double figures for the Bisons was guard Carter Sanderson with 15 points, hitting 3-of-6 attempts from 3-point range.
“Carter jumped up and made some threes early,” Sanderson said. “We needed somebody else to make some shots. He made some and made a couple of nice plays. He just has to get better on the defensive end of the floor.”
Guard Delbert Love led Kennesaw State with 20 points. Forward Aaron Anderson earned a double-double with 14 points and 13 rebounds.
The Bisons, 8-11, 3-5 in the A-Sun, are back in Allen Arena Saturday at 6:30 p.m. to face Mercer. Kennesaw State slips to 2-18, 1-7 in the conference. The Bisons have beaten Kennesaw State five games in a row and have won six of the last seven.
Written by Mark McGee, Senior Publisher/Director of Media Relations.