The Lipscomb men’s basketball team won’t be playing in the NCAA Tournament.
That dream ended Wednesday when the top-seeded Bisons fell 72-69 to No. 8 seed Kennesaw State in the opening round of the Atlantic-Sun Conference Tournament in Macon, Ga. It was the first time since 2000 that an eight-seed knocked off a No. 1 in the tourney.
Josh Slater hit a jumper with 55 seconds left to give Lipscomb a 69-68. But Kurtis Woods responded with a bucket as the Owls regained the lead on the next possession. Spencer Dixon then stole the ball from Slater and Markeith Cummings made two big free throws with six seconds left.
Jordan Burgason’s 3-point attempt as time expired fell short for the Bisons.
Lipscomb (17-13) had earned the No. 1 seed in the tournament after finishing in a four-way tie for the regular-season conference championship with Jackonsville, Campbell and Belmont, which plays Mercer at 8 p.m. Thursday. But the Bisons couldn’t shake pesky Kennesaw State (13-19).
Lipscomb never led by more than six and was up 61-55 with 4:38 remaining. Woods hit two 3-pointers to spark an 8-0 run by the Owls for a two-point lead more than a minute later. After that, the lead changed five times until Woods’ bucket with 19 seconds left.
Woods finished with a team-high 19 points (5 of 7 from beyond the three-point arc), Kelvin McConnell had 14, Cummings had 13 and Dixon finished with 11 for Kennesaw State, which split the regular-season series against Lipscomb.
For the Bisons, Adnan Hodzic again showed why he was named the A-Sun Player of the Year on Tuesday. The 6-foot-9, 255-pound center scored a game-high 29 points and hauled down 16 rebounds. The junior has scored double-digit figures in 57 straight games, which is the longest active streak in the nation.
Although Hodzic was 11-of-15 from the field, this rest of his Bisons teammates shot just 14 of 42 (33 percent).
Slater added 15 points but committed five of Lipscomb’s 13 turnovers. Brandon Brown had 10 points.