In what could be the last time, seniors Ahsan Asadullah and Matthew Schner graced the Allen Arena floor in the battle between the Jacksonville Dolphins and Lipscomb Bisons.
However, it would be the heroics of sophomore transfer guard A.J. McGinnis, nailing a right-wing bank shot buzzer-beater in the final seconds to give Lipscomb the 62-59 win.
“I was just tryna get a shot up before the buzzer man,” said McGinnis.
After celebrating some pregame senior night festivities, it was time for Saturday night basketball between the Dolphins and the Bisons.
Immediately after the tip-off, Dolphins redshirt junior guard Jarius Cook knocked down a three-pointer deep in the shot clock to open the scoring.
Lipscomb would answer on a three-ball of their own as sophomore transfer guard Derrin Boyd tied the game at three.
The teams would trade buckets briefly before Schner hit a faceup three-pointer, giving Lipscomb a 10-8 lead.
After the made basket, it was Jacksonville, proving why they were top 30 in Division one in scoring defense heading into the game, as they hindered the ability of Lipscomb to make threes.
The Bisons also didn’t help themselves at the line either, as they shot 1-5 at the free throw line in the first half.
On the other side, it was the Dolphins getting 12 points from Cook and having their way down low with their junior forward tandem of Mike Marsh and Omar Payne, who combined for 10 points.
The combination of methodical play by the Dolphins and sloppy play by the Bisons would lead to Lipscomb trailing 39-31 at the half.
Coming out of the tunnel in the second half would be an inspired Lipscomb team.
Out of the gate, it was Asadullah using his signature post moves to carve up the defenders and set Lipscomb on the right track.
The Bisons would ride the momentum from the early second-half bucket to the tune of a 9-0 run that was helped by multiple Dolphins turnovers and gave Lipscomb a 40-39 lead.
In addition to the fast start that forced Jacksonville to use all but one timeout, Asadullah hooked up with sophomore forward Jacob Ognacevic for a slam dunk that rose the crowd to its feet.
However, the Dolphins would not go away that easily.
Connecting on some difficult threes and forcing some misses by the Bisons, Jacksonville senior forward Osayi Osifo tied the game at 59 a piece with 2:26 remaining on a couple of makes at the line.
After missed shots and a scoring drought on both sides of over two minutes, it would come down to one final play for the Bisons.
In one of the biggest shots of the season, McGinnis sent the Bisons faithful into an uproar with a game-winning bank shot off the Asadullah pass to give them the 62-59 win.
“That’s really what he does,” Asadullah said. “He hits tough shots.”
The victory was not only a salute to an impressive homestand for Lipscomb but a reminder of the potential of this team.
Now the Bisons will turn their focus to the road as they battle Florida Gulf Coast and Stetson. After the two respective matchups, they will learn their fate in the ASUN tournament, which will run from February 27-March 5th.