The Tide continued its home dominance and improved to 6-6 on the year. We jumped out to an 8-0 lead early, but then had a 5 minute scoring drought allowing Lipscomb to score the next 10 points. JaMychal Green got in early foul trouble but Tony Mitchell picked him up on the offensive end, with Chris Hines doing a very nice job against Lipscomb's talented center on defense. We finished the first half strong, and led 35-21 at the break. Lipscomb made a run in the 2nd half to cut the lead to 8, but Charvez Davis answered with 3 straight 3 pointers to put it away for good.
Lipscomb was one of the top 10 scoring teams in the nation coming in and we shut them down, much like we did Southeast Louisiana. For all the faults with this team, they play pretty good defense, and that will at least give us a chance to win in most games. We did a good job of mixing up our defenses to keep Lipscomb off balance. We used the press sparingly but effectively. We forced a lot of turnovers out of the 1-3-1 halfcourt trap, and the 2-3 matchup zone effectively limited their post play. Our ability to rebound out of the zone seems to be improving. Their white guys burned us for a few 3s in the second half, but Charvez Davis quickly answered with 3 in a row. If Davis could play just half as good on the road we would be a competitive team. He airballed his first attempt, then made his next 5 and finished with a career high 22 points.
Releford had an off night shooting the ball and had too many turnovers with 6, but he played most of the game and continues to get us in good position to score more often than not. Hankerson got the start at the 2 position instead of Senario Hillman who only played 15 minutes. Hillman had a steal and easy dunk, but otherwise was fairly quiet. He appeared to have some tape on his wrist, so I wonder if the lack of a start and limited action was due to some sort of minor injury. He should have been benched for his God awful Kid n Play haircut circa 1986.
Speaking of injuries, Charvez Davis went down for an extended period of time late in the game with what appeared to be cramps. Tony Mitchell was also cramping up at one point, but everybody should be fine. Tony Mitchell's play was somewhat overshadowed by Charvez Davis, but he had a great game as well with 18 points and 8 rebounds. He brings it at both ends of the court. JaMychal bounced back from his early foul trouble and had a solid game. After missing some jump shots early, he got more aggressive in attacking the basket. It seems to me that when he is moving toward the basket when he shoots, he's money, but if he's fading away, it's almost hopeless. Maybe he is starting to figure that out.
The officiating was inconsistent at best, but we did a good job of playing through it. Coach Grant got called for a technical foul in the first half for arguing a call that the officials clearly blew. Sanderson pitched much bigger fits in the game with no repercussions. We got away with several travels and a few hacks and holds in the trap, while they got the benefit of some block/charge calls that clearly should have gone the other way. They were very close to losing control of the game, but I don't think either team benefitted more than the other.
It was good to once again be able to empty the bench at the end of the game. Carter, Engstrom, Eblem, Hunter Jeffrey, and Justin Luguire were all able to get some playing time. Engstrom scored on a put back, but one strange thing we have noticed with him is that he has a habit of removing his mouth piece every dead ball and is slow to get it back in. On one throw in, he was literally reaching for a deflected ball with one hand, while his other was still trying to get his mouth piece situated.
The crowd was about what you would expect for a game over winter break. It was better than the last game, but still probably only 4,000 or so with very few students. Lipscomb actually brought a decent following from Nashville of probably 150 or so scattered throughout. If we continue to dominate at home, hopefully attendance will rise.
Up next, our old friend Tom Asbury rides his Pepperdine Waves in all the way from the West Coast. Tip off is set for 8pm CST on Tuesday, Dec. 28 at Coleman Coliseum, and will be televised on CSS. Until then, I wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.