At the end of back-to-back-to-back weekends on the road, the men’s basketball team found success in their second-to-last road trip before winter break. Traveling to the Music City of Nashville, Tenn., they took down Lipscomb University 78-64.
The Tigers (5-2) came into this contest looking to bounce back after dropping their last two games against Stony Brook and St. Joseph’s. It had been rough shooting-wise both times for the Tigers — they shot just 36.5 percent in their battle against the Seawolves and 28.8 percent in the contest against the Hawks.
However, these losses were not without bright spots, on which the Tigers could improve in later games. In particular, junior forward Henry Caruso and freshman forward Devin Cannady both shone against Stony Brook — each put up 16 points on the day.
Caruso would come out strong in this one as well, lighting the Bisons (4-9) for 15 in the first half. The Tigers as a whole raced out to a healthy lead in the first 20 minutes, as they went up by as many as 13 points. Lipscomb, however, responded valiantly to the Tigers’ push, and was able to bring a menacing Tigers advantage down to just six points before both teams entered the locker rooms after the first half. Their surge was the result of strong play from the Bisons’ J.C. Hampton, who scored the final five points for Lipscomb (including a three-pointer just before the buzzer sounded to end the first half) to bring the score to 40-34.
Come the second half, however, the men of the Orange and Black began to pull away from their opponents. While the Bisons continued to rely heavily on the play of Hampton, the Tigers would receive strong contributions from multiple outlets. While Caruso continued his strong offensive performance on the day, junior guard Spencer Weisz and junior forward Pete Miller would also step up to lead the Tiger charge. The trio would combine to score all but four of the Tigers’ field goals in the second half.
Indeed, the Tigers opened up the second half on a 10-2 run, as the lead ballooned to 14. While the Bisons would go on a 7-0 run to cut the lead in half, they would get no closer than that throughout the game. The Tigers would push their lead to as much as 18 points as the game drew nearer to its closing stages and ultimately came away from Nashville with a 78-64 victory.
The victory is particularly impressive as one observes that the Tigers held Lipscomb to their lowest scoring total in the season so far.
“We needed to get back in the winning column, and we came out aggressive and hungry against Lipscomb,” Caruso said. “We knew they could shoot the three-ball really well, and we made an emphasis to take away their perimeter shooting by contesting every shot.”
With his hot performance, Caruso was one of the Tigers who stuffed the stat sheet Saturday night. He finished with a mightily impressive double-double: 24 points and 12 boards. Miller and Weisz would follow suit, getting 12 points and 10 boards and 21 points and 11 boards, respectively.
“Rebounding was another big key, and we had a strong collective effort cleaning up the glass,” Caruso said.
With this victory in the books, the Tigers will compete in one final game before winter break: a battle at their own Jadwin Gymnasium against Liberty University. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. and the game can be viewed via the Ivy League Digital Network.