Nashville, Tenn. - Senior guard Brandon Williams (Miami, Fla.) scored a career-high 22 points, reaching double figures for the third time in the last four games, but it wasn't enough for the Stetson men's basketball team (3-8, 1-2 Atlantic Sun) in an 84-63 loss at Lipscomb (5-7, 2-1 A-Sun) Saturday at Allen Arena. Williams connected on six of nine three-point attempts in the game.
Down 11 at halftime, the Hatters struggled to cope with a swarming second half Lipscomb defensive effort, falling behind 60-39 with 9:18 left in the ballgame. The Hatters could not make a serious dent in the deficit, although they did manage to come within 13 points with six and a half minutes left. Lipscomb weathered that rally, however, and went on to win by 21.
The scoring effort was in fact the second straight career high performance for Williams, who had scored 12 points in the Dec. 29 win over FGCU at the Edmunds Center. Freshman forward Ridge Graham (Stuart, Fla.) scored 12 points, while senior guard A.J. Smith (Cocoa, Fla.) scored 10 points, adding a season-high seven rebounds along with four assists.
Lipscomb center Adnan Hodzic, who was honored in a pre-game ceremony for reaching 1,000 career points halfway through his junior year, dominated the game down low to the tune of 29 points and eight rebounds. Jordan Burgason scored 18 points and Josh Slater notched 16 with four assists for the Bisons.
"Brandon had a terrific offensive game for us; he was an efficient bright spot," Head Coach Derek Waugh said. "It came down to the fact that we just couldn't contain Hodzic like we usually do, he really killed us and that opened up their outside game. We need to come back Monday night and make smarter decisions with better execution against Belmont."
Lipscomb used Hodzic's bruising inside presence (6'9", 255 pounds) to build a 25-15 lead with just over eight minutes remaining in the first half. The Lipscomb advantage hovered around 10 points until the final two minutes of the half, when the Bisons stepped on the gas and pushed their lead to 15 on a Slater three-point play with 1:19 to go. The Hatters were able to get back within 11 at the break, using a Williams driving bucket with three seconds left in the half to cut the deficit to 39-28.
Stetson completes its two-game tour of the Music City on Monday when it takes on A-Sun powerhouse Belmont at the Curb Event Center. Tip-off is slated for 7:15 p.m. CT (8:15 p.m. ET); the game can be seen on A-Sun.TV.