WillCo-heavy Lipscomb, Belmont teams likely headed to NIT after tourney losses

WillCo-heavy Lipscomb, Belmont teams likely headed to NIT after tourney losses

A handful of Williamson County basketball alums will be dancing in some sort of tournament this March, though the time and place is yet to be determined.

The Lipscomb Bisons, coached by Brentwood Academy alum Casey Alexander and led by Franklin alum Garrison Mathews, FRA alums Rob Marberry and Kenny Cooper and BGA alum Nate Moran, lost its chance at an automatic bid Sunday in the Atlantic-Sun championship to the Liberty Flames.

The team fell in a nail-biter to the visiting Flames late Sunday 74-68, with Mathews (21), Marberry (18) and Cooper (14) all leading the Bisons’ offensive attack.

Lipscomb had a lead late in the game, but let a handful of missed shots and turnovers give Liberty the advantage to close.

The team is now most likely to head to the National Invitational Tournament (NIT).

SB Nation’s Mid-Major Madness projects the Bisons as two-seeds in their latest NIT projection.

“One thing this team has done really well is live in the moment and stay on task with what is right in front of them, that’s why we are here,” Alexander told Lipscomb Sports. “We’ve had the best year that Lipscomb University has ever had, just hope we can do it again for another five games.”

The team is a long shot for an at-large bid for the NCAA Tournament, though it’s certainly possible.

The Belmont Bruins host a number of young WillCo alums on its roster as well: Independence’s Grayson Murphy, CPA’s Michael Mayernick and BA’s Garrett Suedekum and Tate Pierson.

The Bruins placed second in the Ohio Valley Conference, topped by Ja Morant and Murray State Saturday, 77-65.

Murphy scored 10 in the game as a freshman contributor.

That team has a better chance at making the NCAA Tournament as an at-large entrant, though they have better odds of finding themselves in the NIT with archrival Lipscomb.

The Bruins swept the Bisons in their annual “Battle of the Boulevard” double-header in the regular season.

Photo courtesy of Lipscomb Sports. 

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