Lipscomb shocked the sellout crowd of over 4,600 at Alico Arena on Sunday afternoon by taking down Florida Gulf Coast in the ASUN Championship game. The Bisons started out hot, but they needed to survive a furious second half comeback by FGCU, who cut a 32-point second half deficit down to five.
First-team all ASUN member Garrison Mathews finished the night with 33 points, 26 of which came in the first half. Lipscomb scored a total of 60 points in that first half against the best defensive team in the ASUN.
The first highlight play of the game came when Eli Pepper slammed home an alley-oop to give Lipscomb an early five point lead. For the rest of the first half, the home team Eagles were never really in the game.
It looked like this wouldn’t be much of a game when we got started in the second half, but FGCU responded like champions. The game really took a turn for the worst for Lipscomb when head coach Casey Alexander got a technical foul called on him with just over 15 minutes to play.
At this point, Lipscomb led by a score of 72-45.
Soon after, Kenny Cooper picked up his fourth foul. Suddenly, FGCU began pressing and hitting shots on offense, and we’ve got an 82-76 game with 9:05 to play.
Lipscomb did not go away though, their advantage stayed between five and ten for most of the final minutes, but they never let FGCU take the lead.
FGCU’s Brandon Goodwin and Zach Johnson played valiantly in the second half while their team was down. The Bisons got a huge break when Johnson fouled out with 3:22 to play, in what was a very questionable call by the officiating crew. From then on, it looked like the Eagles were out of gas, and Lipscomb capitalized on this.
I’m sure most Lipscomb fans are still hyperventilating and recovering from the panic attack that resulted from FGCU’s comeback. But now they can shift their focus to the NCAA Tournament. Most tournament experts predicted either Lipscomb or FGCU to be 16 or 15-seeds in the tournament, but that’s all dependent on how other conference tournaments shake out.
One takeaway that I think we all had after watching that game: THIS IS MARCH.