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ETSU (14-11, 7-5 A-Sun)
Lipscomb (11-13, 6-7 A-Sun)
2/8/2014 | Nashville, Tenn. - Allen Arena | Attendance: 4078
Saturday, February 08, 2014
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Despite tying a season high with 13 threes, the Lipscomb men’s basketball team could not keep pace with Atlantic Sun Conference foe ETSU falling 96-88 on Saturday afternoon at Allen Arena.
The air assault started early for the Bisons (11-13, 6-7 A-Sun) as the first four balls to go through the hoop for Lipscomb were all 3-pointers. Freshman guard Josh Williams got things started with a trey on the first possession of the game before redshirt-freshman guard J.C. Hampton drained a trio of threes on three consecutive trips down the floor. The Gainesville, Ga. native would go on to hit seven on the afternoon and finished with 22 points.
With 27 lead changes and 15 ties the contest was a back-and-forth affair all afternoon until the closing minutes of action when ETSU (14-11, 7-5 A-Sun) put together a trio of defensive stops to put their clamps on the game.
“I’m not sure we tried hard enough to get them to quit scoring,” said Lipscomb head coach Casey Alexander. “ETSU played with unbelievable aggression all night and unbelievable confidence offensively. It’s because we were willing to just hope they missed. You can’t play a good offensive team that way.”
Lipscomb was led in scoring by junior forward Malcolm Smith, who scored a career-high 27 points on the day on 11-of-18 shooting from the field and a 5-of-6 effort from the free-throw line. He was joined in double figures by junior forward Martin Smith and senior guard Khion Sankey, who scored 11 and 10, respectively.
The Bisons had no answer for ETSU’s Jalen Riley, who led all scorers with a 30-point night hitting shot after shot for the Buccaneers. The junior seemed to find every spot on a Don Meyer Court a favorable one hitting 7-of-10 from the field including 4-of-5 from deep to go along with a perfect 12-for-12 afternoon at the charity stripe.
“We were on our heels,” said Alexander. “I don’t have any explanation. I felt like we were ready to play the game. It’s not like they came out and blitzed us. There’s just such a fine line between wanting and hoping and tonight it was a lot more hope. We hope they miss. We hope we score.”
All told, the Buccaneers made 41 trips to the free throw line and sank 35 of them for 85.4 percent on the afternoon. Lipscomb on the other hand made just 25 treks to the line making 17 for 68 percent. The solid shooting at the line also carried over to live action for the Bucs as ETSU shot 61.4 percent on the night overall and 46.7 percent from beyond the arc. The Bisons shot 44.6 percent from the field and 38.2 percent from deep making 13 of 34 tries.
The Bisons held a 15-10 advantage in turnovers but were outrebounded 34-29. Lipscomb did hold an edge in offensive rebounds pulling in 13 that resulted in 11 second-chance points.
Lipscomb returns to A-Sun road play on Thursday at Mercer. The contest is scheduled for a 6 p.m. tip from Macon, Ga. and will be carried live on 94.9 Game 2 and http://www.ASun.TV