GREENSBORO, N.C. – The Lipscomb men's basketball team needed a second-half comeback to keep its season alive Tuesday at Davidson. The script on Saturday in Greensboro, North Carolina was much different. The Bisons turned a one-point deficit late in the first half into a convincing 86-69 beat down of top-seeded UNCG in second-round action of the NIT at the Greensboro Coliseum.
With the win Lipscomb advances to the quarterfinals of the NIT and will face the winner of No. 3 NC State and No. 6 Harvard next week for the right to take a trip to New York City.
It is the farthest any ASUN Conference team has advanced in the NIT since 1987 and the 17-point victory is the largest in the history of the NIT for the ASUN.
Lipscomb outshot the Spartans .525 to .391 from the field overall, and knocked down .364 percent of its shots from 3-point range. The Bisons went 8-of-22 from deep and held UNCG to just a 5-of-28 (.179) effort on the afternoon. It marked the 25th time this season they tallied at least eight triples in a game.
Seniors Rob Marberry and Garrison Mathews were a 2-man wrecking crew as the duo combined for 45 points, 15 rebounds and seven assists.
After missing his first shot of the game less than two minutes in, Marberry dominated the rest of the game. He did not miss a shot the rest of the way as he finished 12-of-13 for a team-high 24 points, most of which came against the SoCon's 2018 Defensive Player of the Year James Dickey.
The first 17 minutes saw the teams go blow for blow with neither side leading by more than two possessions as UNCG held a 30-29 lead. From that moment forward it was all purple and gold.
Marberry deposited back-to-back buckets, slammed a two-handed jam and assisted on the last make of the half off a long rebound that saw him feed fellow senior Nate Moran streaking down court behind the Spartans defense for the easy lay-in. A 10-2 run to end the half sent the Bisons into the locker room up 43-35.
The second half saw Lipscomb and Marberry pick up right where they left off in the first. Marberry scored on three straight trips down the floor in the first two minutes to grow the lead to 14 and force UNCG to call a timeout.
In front of a hostile crowd of 4,248 the Spartans tried to cut into the deficit, but they would never get any closer than 12 the rest of the way as they were simply outmatched.
Mathews came up clutch with his second double-double of the season and the ninth of his career with 21 points and a season-high 11 rebounds. He drained three treys and finished a perfect 8-for-8 from the line.
With 7:41 remaining in the contest, Marberry found a cutting Andrew Fleming in the lane for a wide-open layup to give Lipscomb a 29-point lead, its largest of the day, at 84-55.
The Bisons controlled the boards 41-27 and recorded their 11th game of the season with 20 assists. They shot .500 from the floor in the second half and cruised to their 13th road victory of the year.
Lipscomb advances to the quarterfinals where it will take on the winner of Sunday's NC State and Harvard matchup. The game will be played on Tuesday, March 27 at a time and location yet to be determined.
If NC State wins, the Bisons will make a third trip to North Carolina. If Harvard pulls the upset, the Bisons will host in Allen Arena.