New York State of Mind; Lipscomb Tops Shockers in NIT Semifinal

New York State of Mind; Lipscomb Tops Shockers in NIT Semifinal

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NEW YORK, N.Y. – Trailing by 11 points with eight minutes remaining in the game, Lipscomb ended the contest on a 21-3 run to advance to the National Invitation Tournament Final with a 71-64 victory against Wichita State in Madison Square Garden. The Bisons held the Shockers to only three points over the final eight minutes of the game which all came on free throws. Wichita State failed to add to its score over the final 3:46 of the game as Lipscomb's defense clamped down on WSU.

Lipscomb is the first-ever ASUN Conference team to reach the NIT Final and the fourth in conference history for any sport to compete for a national title joining FGCU Women's Basketball (WNIT; 2016), Mercer Men's Basketball (CIT; 2012) and FIU Men's Soccer (NCAA; 1996). The Bisons await the winner of Texas and TCU for the NIT Final on Thursday at 6 PM CT on ESPN.

ASUN Player of the Year, Garrison Mathews tallied 34 points in the victory as the Bisons collected their 29th win of the season. First Team All-Conference Member, Rob Marberry added 14 points on 7-of-9 shooting, while Kenny Cooper dished out 10 assists and senior forward Eli Pepper secured 15 rebounds including 12 on the defensive end. Lipscomb ended the game with four more three pointers than the Shockers including two clutch triples from seniors Nate Moran and Mathews in the final minutes. 

At halftime, the Bisons held a 35-30 advantage as Mathews put up 18 points on 6-of-13 shooting from the floor including three triples made. Cooper had five of his 10 assists in the opening half, while Marberry recorded eight points going into the break. Lipscomb held the Shockers to 12-of-35 from the field and forced six WSU turnovers. 

With the win, Lipscomb improved its record to 29-7 on the year as the Bisons have tallied three-straight 20-win seasons for the first time in the program's Division I history. The Bisons last accomplished the feat in the 2000-01 season as they strung together 18-straight 20-win seasons starting in the 1983-84 season. Their 29 wins are also a Division I program record. Wichita State fell to 22-15 with the loss as the Shockers were led in scoring by Dexter Dennis with 13.

Lipscomb vs. Wichita State NIT Semifinal Notes
- Mathews tallied his second-straight 30-point game after scoring 44 against NC State in the NIT Quarterfinals. He now has 12 30-point games in his career.
- Pepper became the fourth player in the league history to reach 1,000 career rebounds as he reached the plateau in the first half. He now owns 1,013 in his four years at Lipscomb.
- Marberry's 14 points moved him into the top-50 for career points in league history as he pushed his total to 1,431 in only three years in Nashville.
- Mathews passed former North Florida great Dallas Moore (2013-17) for second place in the ASUN record books for career points. The Lipscomb senior now owns 2,463 points.
- Cooper's 10 assists marked the fourth double-digit assist game of his career and third of the season.
- In the NIT, Mathews is averaging 28.3 PPG and has connected on 17 three pointers over the course of four games.
- Lipscomb's win improved the ASUN Conference's record to 6-2 in postseason play as Liberty (NCAA) and NJIT (CIT) each added victories in postseason tournaments.