DALLAS – The Lipscomb men's basketball team started off their Texas road trip the right way, knocking off SMU 79-73 in Dallas at the Moody Coliseum on Saturday night.
The Bisons (3-1) were led by a quartet of double-digit scorers as they went blow-for-blow with the Mustangs (2-2) throughout before pulling away for the win in the game's final minutes.
"They guys played with great toughness, competitiveness and character throughout the game tonight," Lipscomb head coach Casey Alexander said. "It was a great response to a tough loss the other night. I hope it says a lot about our team."
Senior Garrison Mathews started out the game on fire, pouring in 10 points on perfect shooting from the field (4-for-4) early in the first half to help Lipscomb build a 17-12 lead.
Mathews finished with 15 points, a team-high seven rebounds, four assists, and two steals. He also became the 19th ASUN member to score 1,800 career points.
SMU closed the first half on a 15-4 run to take a 36-29 lead into the break.
Senior big men Rob Marberry and Eli Pepper took over in the second half, leading the Bisons on a 10-0 run of their own to pull ahead 59-54 midway through the second half.
Marberry and Pepper each finished with a team-high 16 points, shooting a combined 11-14 from the field. Pepper also snatched five boards.
"We have to be an inside-out team, that's when we are at our best," Alexander said. "We had a lot of really good possessions where his (Rob) positioning was better. We also got him the ball in more ideal spots on the floor which led to a better game from him."
The Purple and Gold iced their free throws down the stretch to seal the win, hitting 8-of-10 in the last minute of action and shooting 21-27 from the charity stripe for the contest.
Senior Nate Moran came up big, going 6-for-6 from the line for nine points, all in the final minute. On his final make, Moran became the 48th player in program history to eclipse 1,000 career points.
"I am really proud of Nate," Alexander said. "He's still hurting some and his role is different, but we've talked to him about being ready when his number is called, especially when we know he is going to be in the game late. Six-for-six off the line, can't do any better than that.
"I am happy to see him get his 1,000th career point."
- The Bisons last matchup with a current American Athletic Conference (AAC) squad came in December 2012 with a 62-56 loss at Memphis.
- Lipscomb scored 13 points off of 16 SMU turnovers. The Bisons coughed it up 17 times.
- The Bisons were out-rebounded 38-37, but dished out 21 assists to SMU's 13.
- Senior Matt Rose also tossed in 11 points and five rebounds.
- Junior Kenny Cooper led the team with five assists, while Mathews and junior Michael Buckland each handed out four.
- Freshman Alex Jones tied Mathews for a team-high two steals.
- Lipscomb now has two 1,000 point scorers (Mathews and Moran) with Marberry on the verge.
- Ethan Chargois (22) and Jimmy Whitt Jr. (20) paced the Mustangs.
- Lipscomb sophomore Greg Jones played in front of a number of friends and family as he grew up just 30 minutes north in Frisco, Texas.
Lipscomb will continue its Texas road trip with a visit to the Big 12's TCU on Tuesday at 7 p.m.
"We don't know much about TCU yet, other than the fact they are very well coached," Alexander said. "They have won a lot of games the last couple of years, so it will be a tough task on Tuesday."