You may have seen this guy’s awful dunk on the Byrd Cage Facebook page or even here. I guess it doesn’t even count as a dunk, because it didn’t go in, but defining Jordan Burgason on that one clip alone is simply not fair, I hate to say.
Now understand this, I hate Lipscomb. As far as journalistic integrity goes, I post the truth- but you need to understand that the truth is going to be a bit biased here. This fact is unavoidable. I love the Bruins and I hate the Bisons.
All that being said, Jordan Burgason needs to be talked about. He is currently ranked fourth in the entire NCAA in 3-Point Field Goal % Per Game. He also averages 16.9 points per game.
So, it isn’t like he is just playing a few minutes and shoots a few threes. The guy is clutch, and the fact that we held to him four attempts (making two) is an admirable goal in and of itself.
So what went wrong last time?
PART ONE: LOSING AT HOME
Belmont’s defense allowed double-digit points from every starter and one bench player against Lipscomb on January 6 putting together a total of 85 points against us in total. We have only allowed three other teams to score 80 points or more against us this year, and those teams were; Memphis, MTSU, and Marshall. We even kept Duke below 80.
So what was the deal with Lipscomb? That always seems to be the question. Drew Hanlen, in our exclusive Byrd Cage interview, even said the same thing- and he didn’t have an answer. But to not look at last game as two separate halves drastically changes the story.
In the first half, Belmont and Lipscomb were evenly matched. Ian Clark had 14 by halftime, Drew Hanlen and Clark were a combined 6-9 from the three, and our bench even had five steals. We walked into the locker room at half-time up, 39-36, feeling hopeful about the outcome of the game. But things were going in for Lipscomb as well. Shooting over 50%, the Bisons obviously didn’t feel too bad about their position coming back out.
This is where things changed.
J.J. Mann made 1 out of 7 three-pointers. Kerron missed all four of his three-point attempts. In the second half we shot 5-19 at the 3 point arc. A miserable 26.3%. Of course they out-rebounded us in the second half. Our post players scored 7 total, with only 6 total rebounds.
We fell apart. They made 15 of 16 free throws.
I felt sick.
Lipscomb took the game 85-74 and proceeded to stand in the middle of our court in a huddle after the game.
“Get off the floor!” some yelled. ”Isn’t it curfew?” others screamed. Others stood silently, holding up 4 fingers. You may have won the battle, but we always win the war Bruin fans seemed to pronounce without words.
Defeat at home, in the worst way.
But now it is February, after-all, the Bruins favorite time of the year.
Tonight we will come in swinging.
PART TWO: THE THREE PART COMBO FOR WINNING AT ALLEN ARENA
1. Blake Jenkins. Blake has steadily risen to the top of the Bruins lineup, proving he can score below and stand tall as a strong arm defender in both the passing and shooting lanes. Jenkins’ success tonight will be a deciding factor in tonight’s game.
2. Controlling the ball. Drew Hanlen leads the tempo of the game in explosive bursts. His expert footwork, skilled ball-handling, speed, and minimal turnovers give Belmont the edge in the A-Sun when it comes to controlling games. But I would like to see what the Bruins can look like as a controlled, composed, and in-charge squad at the end of games. I haven’t seen that this year. Hanlen’s last minute lob down the court at the end of their last game against UNF gave Hanlen an ear-full from Coach Byrd when we were up and needed to control the clock. We’ll need to be focused down to the last-minute of tonight’s game with a quiet confidence to win at Allen Arena.
3. Shutting Down Jordan Burgason. The man has averaged 21.5 points a game since the first meeting with Belmont. He is, frankly stated, on fire and this must be squelched. While their team has only gone .500 since our last meeting, their inconsistency as a team cannot be counted upon at Allen Arena tonight. Hands must be in Burgason’s face during every shot attempt. An open Burgason equals a losing Belmont squad.
Now, if you will, a moment of silence for the last A-Sun conference rivalry game between these historic squads.
Tip-Off is at Allen Arena tonight at 6. Tickets may still be available here