DAVIDSON, N.C. – The Lipscomb men's basketball team needed a second-half rally, but when the horn sounded, the Bisons found themselves advancing to the next round of the NIT with a wild 89-81 victory at Davidson Tuesday night inside John M. Belk Arena.
The victory gave the Bisons their first postseason victory in the D-I era.
"It feels great, and it shows a lot of character from our team to come off that loss in the championship game and just battle with toughness," Lipscomb head coach Casey Alexander said. "I could not be more proud of our team."
Junior Michael Buckland led team with a season-high 19 points, while seniors Rob Marberry added 17 and Garrison Mathews chipped in 14.
Down five with 10:30 remaining in the game, the Bisons surged ahead for good with a 13-2 run over the next six minutes. Mathews drained five attempts from the charity stripe to jump start the run after getting fouled on back-to-back 3-point attempts. In front of friends and family, Buckland capped the spurt with a triple and an and-one on back-to-back possessions to help lead him to 16 points in the second half.
"Buck burries those shots at the end and we make all of our free throws," Alexander said. "It was pretty picture-perfect the last four or five minutes."
Davidson (23-10) was nearly unstoppable for much of the game, especially in the first half where it shot 62 percent. Kellan Grady led all players with 31 points, while Luke Frampton chipped in 19.
"Davidson is as well-coached as anybody and they execute what they are trying to do," Alexander said. "For us to come here on the road, and trailing the better part of the first 35 minutes, it says we are a pretty good team too.
"I didn't know if we would ever stop them. Our history is we typically don't win the games where we are trading baskets."
The Bisons shot 54 percent and hit 11 triples, while the Wildcats shot 51 percent with 12 threes.
- Lipscomb got 23 points from its bench, led by 10 from All-ASUN Freshman Ahsan Asadullah. Matt Rose added seven points and Andrew Fleming six.
- Mathews paced the Bisons with seven of their 29 rebounds. Eli Pepper contributed with six.
- Kenny Cooper scored eight points and totaled a team-high six assists.
The Bisons will head to Greensboro to take on UNCG in the second round of the NIT. A day and time are still to be determined.
"Our staff will be happy to coach this team as long as we can, because we love them and love being on the sidelines with them," Alexander said. "UNCG is a great team and has had a great year, very similar to ours. We know we have another challenge, but there will be a lot fewer teams playing after this weekend.
"We don't know when we will play again, but we get to keep playing."