The Lipscomb Bisons wrapped up an exciting night at Allen Arena with a 75-62 victory over the top team in the ASUN, Eastern Kentucky Colonels.
The day started with the usual posts about game day, but head coach Lennie Acuff and his team wanted to make sure people knew to come out. The squad headed over to the Bennett Campus Center and Bison Square, and all afternoon they handed out Lipscomb basketball shirts to get the students excited for tonight.
Despite the help from the large student section that packed its part of Allen Arena, Lipscomb struggled to get any offense going. The scoring drought lasted the first four minutes of the contest until sophomore forward Jacob Ognacevic found the bottom of the bucket.
Lipscomb’s defense played a crucial role in helping them catch back up to the Colonels. After trailing by double digits early in the first half, a three-pointer by sophomore guard Derrin Boyd gave the Bisons their first lead, 23-21, with six and half minutes left to go in the first half.
Boyd’s bucket that led his squad to their first lead brought life to Allen Arena. Acuff’s team used that momentum to get their offense rolling, taking a six-point lead at halftime, 35-29. The Bisons shot 41% from the field while converting 36% on their threes.
With that lead, there was also plenty of inconsistency with the Colonel’s offense. Lipscomb’s slow start on offense helped them out a lot since there was no rhythm to their offense, shooting at 38% from the field and only going 1-11 from behind the arc, a mere 11%.
Lipscomb came out of the gates strong to start the second half. Not only did it score the first five points, but it held Eastern Kentucky scoreless for the first three minutes of it.
The Colonels then found their way back into the books, which caused the teams to trade baskets. At that point, Lipscomb led with eleven minutes left to play in the game, 50-41.
The Colonels kept chipping away at Lipscomb’s lead getting it down to six, but sophomore guard AJ McGinnis had something to say about it. The sophomore drained back-to-back threes to push the Bisons back up by eleven with just under eight minutes to play.
After the spark provided by McGinnis, the lead for Lipscomb was briefly in peril as Eastern Kentucky began to apply some full-court pressure, which allowed them to hit back-to-back threes in a mere ten seconds.
However, the Bisons maintained the lead as freshman center Grant Asman slammed down an ally-oop pass coming from McGinnis, increasing the score to 75-62.
The dunk by Asman blew the roof off of Allen Arena, and the Lippy Lunatics went wild as the clock expired shortly after, which finished this exciting evening with a final score of 75-62.
Three quick takes:
McGinnis shows out
The player of the game was undoubtedly AJ McGinnis. He exploded for 15 points, with his second half being electric. With some slight inconsistency at times from behind the arc coming into tonight, he showed no signs of that.
McGinnis shot 50% from the three, and two of those attempts came late in the second half when they certainly needed it, silencing the Colonels after they hit a few shots they had to have if they wanted to have a chance. He also facilitated the play of the night, which was a perfect pass that led to an Asman dunk that brought everyone on their feet.
If McGinnis can continue to produce at this level, he will be a tough matchup late into conference play.
Bench production is key
Bench production has been a struggle for Lipscomb throughout the season. Tonight, it was most certainly there. Seventeen of thirty-five first-half points came from guys off the bench, and they added twelve more in the second half.
If Lipscomb can continue to get production from their bench, it can provide relief if the starters struggle or perhaps get into foul trouble, occurring in previous games. That was not the case for tonight, but it is nice to have it in your back pocket if that happens.
Tonight, we saw scoring off the bench from McGinnis, Clark, Schner, and Asman. Getting production off the bench from four different guys is needed, but considering how efficient they were is the most exciting part.
Sharing the love
There was no question that Lipscomb did a solid job sharing the ball and being completely unselfish on offense. The Bisons racked up twenty assists and found themselves with three double-digit scorers.
A team-high nineteen points came from Jacob Ognacevic, who was followed up closely by sophomore guard Derrin Boyd. Boyd brought eighteen points to the table, and AJ McGinnis was the third in double digits with fifteen.
Shutting down someone having a good night from the field can be done, but having to stop three players with that ability, proved impossible.
The dominating performance moves the Bisons to 12-8 as they battle Bellarmine at home on Saturday. That game will be broadcast on The Bison, Lipscomb’s on-campus radio station.