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Tennessee Tech (5-5)
12/5/2013 | Nashville, Tenn. | Attendance: 687
Thursday, December 05, 2013
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Hitting 8-of-19 from beyond the arc including seven in the second half and shooting 74 percent from the charity stripe, the Lipscomb men’s basketball team downed Tennessee Tech 87-79 on Thursday night at Allen Arena in Nashville.
Lipscomb (4-4) junior forward Martin Smith continued his solid play with a game-high 24 points including a 12-of-14 night at the line. The Bisons were bolstered by freshman Josh Williams adding 20 points and six rebounds from the bench. Five of the rookie’s 20 points came in the final 1:08 of action.
“Hopefully tonight was a real building point for Josh,” said Lipscomb head coach Casey Alexander. “He hit some critical baskets down the stretch. I give him a ton of credit for posting with poise. He wanted the ball and his position was good but he didn’t overdo it and he didn’t try too hard. We also didn’t try too hard to get it to him. We had post feeds at the right time and his uncontested layups for us were the difference down the stretch.”
The Bisons also got 19 points from redshirt freshman point guard J.C. Hampton. The floor general added four assists and four rebounds in the win.
“J.C.’s ball control tonight was pretty good for the most part tonight,” said Alexander. “It was nice having him kind of as a one-man press break and that’s what good point guards do. I’m really proud of his effort in the second half.”
The first half saw the lead change hands four times but a Williams layup with 6:58 to play in the opening frame broke open an 18-18 tie and the Bisons never trailed again on the night.
Lipscomb built a lead as large as 15 points in the final 20 minutes of action when sophomore forward Talbott Denny sank a pair of free throws with 8:59 to go but the Golden Eagles (5-5) refused to back down. Tennessee Tech pulled to within two points at 77-75 with 3:32 to play on a pair of free throws by Josiah Moore.
One of the biggest plays of the game would come less than 30 seconds later as Tech’s Ty Allen missed a three that could have made it a one-point game and junior forward Malcolm Smith dove on Don Meyer Court to snag the rebound. His effort allowed the Bisons to push the ball up the floor on a fast break and twin brother Martin finished the play on the other end with a layup to put Lipscomb ahead 81-75 with 2:53 to play.
Lipscomb overcame a 42-35 rebounding deficit by outshooting the Golden Eagles 45 percent to 39 percent.
“The strengths of their team are how hard they play and how relentless they are on the backboard and that’s what kept them in it,” said Alexander. “We made several runs to push ourselves ahead but they kept pursuing the ball and kept getting second opportunities. It was a challenge but we persevered.”
The Bisons managed the Tech full-court press winning the turnover battle 15-13. Lipscomb also notched 20 assists in the victory.
Moore led Tennessee Tech with 12 points off the bench while Dwan Caldwell added a game-high 13 rebounds for the Golden Eagles.
Lipscomb hits the road on Saturday for a 3 p.m. tilt at Murray State. The contest will air on 94.9 Game 2 with Jonathan Seamon and Jay Walton on the call.