A last-minute time change and a scarce crowd couldn’t deter Josh Slater and the Lipscomb University men’s basketball team.
When Monday’s game against North Florida was moved from 7:15 p.m. to noon due to the snow and inclement weather that hit the Nashville area, Slater, a guard for Lipscomb, wasn’t going to let his surroundings affect him.
That’s exactly what the senior did as he dropped 30 points in an 80-76 victory in front of 1,391 fans at Allen Arena who braved the cold and snow.
“We are a veteran team. It really didn’t affect us much. ... Honestly, being a senior, having 14 games left, any environment is fun,” Slater said. “[We] four seniors on the team are not taking anything for granted. We are just trying to enjoy it and play our hardest and our best because time is winding down.”
Slater hit two free throws with 10 seconds left to hold off the Ospreys (5-11, 2-3 Atlantic Sun). The 6-3, 200-pound Slater was 15-of-19 from the free-throw line and fueled a Lipscomb comeback.
The Bisons (9-6, 4-2) trailed by as many as 12 points in the first half as North Florida shot 64 percent from the field. The Ospreys led 64-56 with more than eight minutes remaining before Slater sparked a 15-4 run.
The game stayed closed from there until Adnan Hodzic made a jumper with 1:52 left for a 75-73 lead. Lipscomb never trailed again.
Hodzic finished with 14 points and Jacob Arnett added 12 for the Bisons.
Slater, a graduate of David Lipscomb High School, said the students were out in full force as Lipscomb returned to class for the first time since winter break. They witnessed a big win for the Bisons, who had dropped four of five before Monday and who play at rival Belmont on Thursday night in this season's first installment of the Battle of the Boulevard.
“We just had to grind out the game [Monday],” Slater said. “I thought we fought hard and played hard the whole game. We still have room for improvement but it is good getting a win heading into Thursday.”