The Lipscomb Bisons has never been to the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. The Florida Gulf Coast Eagles were standing in their way. With Florida Gulf Coast University playing at their home stadium, Alico Arena, the Eagles seemed hungry to get that automatic bid to the “big dance.” However, the Bisons were starving for the same opportunity.
Their first half performance was one for the ages, and boosted Lipscomb to an amazing 60-31 lead. The Bison’s were lead by Garrison Matthew’s 26 points [18 points in first 9 minutes], and Matt Rose came off the bench for 13 points. Lipscomb shot a blistering 66.7 % from the field, and 52.9 % from beyond the arc. The FGCU fans appeared shell shocked by the first half performance, and many wondered if the Eagles could get back into the contest.
As the second half started the score jumped to a 69-37 lead for Lipscomb with 16:33 left in the contest. Then, as if flipping a light switch, the Eagles began increasing their full court pressure, and the home fans were suddenly an important element in the game. In just over six minutes, the Eagles went on a 34 to 12 run, closing the gap to 81-71. During this run, the Eagles were led by ASUN player of the year Brandon Goodwin’s 24 and ASUN First Team guard, Zach Johnson’s 29. Johnson hit an amazing 7 3 pointers in the run. The atmosphere was electric, borderline chaotic, and both teams were frantic—Lipscomb to right their course, and FGCU to continue to employ more pressure.
A 5:41 mark, FGCU lead had been cut to 6, 91-85. At this point, Lipscomb connected on some key field goals and sealed the game at the free-throw stripe. As the horn sounded, the Bison’s claimed a 108-96 Atlantic Sun Championship victory.
This is the first ASUN championship for Lipscomb and the first time in program history the Bisons will be part of the NCAA Championship Field.
HMG Staff Writer: Peter Wehry