The Byrd Cage

Dear Diary: The Bruins Maul the Bison(s)

In Features on February 6, 2012 at 1:32 pm

Miss the Battle of the Boulevard on Friday?  Well, don’t you worry!  One of our great writers at the Byrd Cage, Jono Broadhead, kept a running diary of the last installation of the Battle of Boulevard as an Atlantic-Sun conference match-up.  Enjoy!


Dear Diary:

And we’re live from Nashville, TN at Allen Arena on the campus of Lipscomb University. That leads to my first question, “Who is Allen Arena named after?” I’m sure there are plenty of famous Allen’s in the mix for this one, but he obviously wasn’t famous enough to get his whole name on the building so we’ll move on.

As always, the colorful color man for CSS; Sonny Smith. I think he makes a strong case every year for being the Vern Lundquist of A-Sun Basketball. This means that roughly 89% of the things he says will either be awkward, or factually inaccurate. But I love his energy. The other thing I love about A-Sun broadcasts is the fact that Sonny and Matt struggle with names and it would really be better if the cue sheets weren’t on the table so they weren’t always looking down. I get it, but still, you do one game a week; learn some freakin’ names.

Sonny starts breaking it down by talking about Kerron and I now know that he is tough and can dribble. Oh and blah blah blah, Jordan Burgason can only shoot 3’s. Good for him.

Things to watch in this game: 1) Does Blake Jenkins continue to be the X factor? 2) Can The Mont get it going from 3? 3) Will Lipscomb shoot with a horse shoe up their bums like they did at the event center? Only time will tell.

And of course, the game can’t start without a stadium malfunction. Apparently only half the lights in Allen Arena are working tonight. Wait… what was that? They’re what? Oh… ok. My bad. They actually have all the lights turned on. It’s just hard to tell cause it looks like you’re playing basketball in J Alexander’s.

Starters for the Mont: Johnson, Clark, The Byrd Cage’s recently minted Drew Hanlen, Jenkins, and Hedgepeth.

Starters for the Bison(s?): Alexander, Arnett, Burgason, Smith, Smith and Hornsby. Ok that’s six and there’s no dude names Hornsby, but when you’ve got two guys named Smith, you’re 2/3rds of the way to a strong name for a law firm.

That’s looks like a new paint job on the Allen Arena floor. A massive Lipscomb has replaced the old Bison(s?) head.

19: 35 Belmont starts with possession only to have Sonny point out that Lipscomb has excellent ball movement. Strong start.

18:53 Ian’s first three attempt, no good. I would like that to go in next time.

18:38 My audio has turned into a static white noise. Touche Comcast.

18:20 Sound is back

17:57 Malcolm Smith has decided to assert himself early. I’d be surprised if they keep this up. Burgason will start taking names if he doesn’t get to shoot a 3 soon.

17:47 That was deep by Ian. I would sure like to see him come alive in the 2nd half of the conference season. He has been strapped by foul trouble all year. I would assume if he could just stay on the floor, his production would skyrocket. Also to be noticed, Ian is living in Burgason’s jock. That guy better get real comfortable with a blue jersey in his back pocket.

17:28 Even Sonny and Matt are getting anxious as Matt points out that Burgeson hasn’t taken a 3 pointer. Heaven forbid, they’re already 3 possessions into the game.

17:19 6-3 Lipscomb. They are scoring in the paint at will.

17:05 Three ball by Drew. Quickest release in the ASun.

16:42 Malcolm Smith with 6 of Lipscomb’s first 8 points.

16:23 A few notable substitutions early in this one. Trevor Noack, who I affectionately call the Hay Bailer. I think this may be more of a stereotype because he is from Texas. It’s just that he doesn’t look weight lifting yoked, it looks like he’s thrown around hay bails for 20 years yoked. That is all. And for Lipscomb, the 2nd overall pick in the 2005 NBA Draft, Marvin Williams. Looks like both decisions will prove to be a mistake.

15:49 What do I love more? JJ Mann, or his socks?

First TV timeout, Lipscomb up 8-7. Nothing too scary right now. Lipscomb playing with the energy of a home team and Belmont playing like the better road team trying to get a feel for how the game will progress. I like where we are.

15:47 What do I hate more? Scott Sanderson, or his hair?

15:22 Marvin Williams hits a jumper and Sonny points out that the Smith brothers are having a big night. Duly noted.

14:36 Two shot blocks early for Belmont which is surprising because we are 546th in the country in blocked shots.

14:20 Great look by JJ. He is sneaky. Slow and sneaky.

13:50 JJ does his job by crossing over Alexander and putting him on his butt. Scotty makes Alexander look good by allowing him to get up, run to the hoop and block Scott’s shot all in the time in takes Scott to actually leave the floor. We need to incorporate some explosiveness drills.

13:40 The officials hate to actually make decisions so instead of deciding who the ball went off, they call a jump ball. Arrow to the Bruins. What a waste of the arrow for Belmont.

13:05 Lipscomb goes zone. Thank you.

12:39 Block number 3 for Belmont. This one by the Hay Bailer.

The time has gone out on the CSS graphic. Classic

??:?? Bruins starting to find a rhythm and lead by 6 at the second TV timeout. One thing I’ve seen that I like; the Bruins are forcing tough shots all over the place from Lipscomb. If you can point to one glaring difference between this year’s team and last, it’s that this year’s team has struggled to defend people, especially on the perimeter. Tonight they’re chasing people nicely around screens, keeping the ball in front of them and forcing long jumpers.

11:33 Nice trouble shooting by Comcast to get the game clock working on their graphic during the TV timeout. Looks like everybody is taking this opportunity to make some in game adjustments.

11:20 Drew again. That’s his second three ball. He and Ian each have two early.

11:01 Mick with two fouls already.

10:48 Drew with another 3! Must’ve been the interview with The Byrd Cage. And the snowball is starting to roll. Time out by Emilio Estavez Sanderson. I think I just said that cause his hair looks wet. Kinda like in D2: The Mighty Ducks.

10:40 Lipscomb just attempted an alley-oop to a white guy. How often does that work?

10:23 Blake draws a foul attacking the hoop. That’s something I like to see.

9:20 Scott Saunders picks up his second foul. I guess that means we’re in foul trouble. But given the lack of height on the Lipscomb roster, I think we’ll manage with our “small” lineup

9:20 The 2nd pick from 2005 is back in. He’s been about as effective as the other Marvin Williams.

8:59 Ian with a runner. He is such a complete player.

8:42 Malcolm Smith travels, then throws the ball over the backboard and somehow draws a foul. That made sense.

It would be irresponsible for me to not mention the initial entry by the Bakery. Please make good decisions Brandon. Thank you.

8:05 After a possession of throwing the ball around the perimeter, Kerron buries a 3 as the shot clock goes off. Dagger. That was Belmont’s sixth three of the game. See point number 2 from the pregame keys.

That takes us to the under 8 timeout with the Mont up 31-15.

7:39 Burgason finally scores. Whatever. Actually, you know what. Thanks to Byrd Cage writer Kyle Williams I recently learned that Burgason was quoted as saying he saved his worst bowel movements for the Curb Event Center. He may actually be right because his butt hole has been clenched real tight so far. Ian is in his head.

7:17 Drew is 4 for 4 from downtown. Look out. Next one may be for a heat check.

6:54 Adam Barnes is now taking his turn chasing Burgason and nearly forces a turnover.

6:30 Remember that heat check three Drew was going to take? It just went in. He’s now 5 for 5. Andy Wicke is within range.

6:04 Sonny points out that the small line up for the Bruins has been working like a dream. Nice work Sonny. Nice work. I actually agree with you.

5:54 JJ’s socks join the 3-point brigade and Emilio calls another timeout

5:02 Kerron Johnson. Like a hot knife through butter.

4:25 I love Blake Jenkins. That has to be the smartest thing Rick Byrd has done all year. 2 weeks ago I was ready to write a post about how the swing position has been a trouble spot trouble for Belmont all year. Between Trevor, Baker and Blake, we weren’t getting a whole lot of production. Blake has taken the last 4 games and squashed those worries. I call it smart by Rick Byrd, but it was also 2 months too late.

3:30 Under 4 TV timeout. Lipscomb working hard to keep it within 20. That has the student section still standing and cheering. Such are the expectations of the rival of the team that has won 4 of the last 6 Asun Championships.

Scott Saunders also playing a pretty complete game. When he plays like this, Belmont is a much better team (See the home win again Conference USA’s Marshall).

2:55 And as I say that, Scott picks up his third foul and Sonny said that Scott plays too hard sometimes. Ummm… ok. Also, Belmont has scored on 16 of its last 19 possessions. That’s why we’re the 9th most efficient offense in the country. Nuts.

2:40 How have I not mentioned Rick Byrd tonight, other than to semi slam his decision to start playing Blake now? He’s looking very Rick Byrd like in his sweater vest. I wish Jim Tressel had never worn a sweater vest.

1:27 Straight up strip and steal by Trevor. A strong pair of hands on that guy. Only hands that you could get by throwing hay bails around. Think about it.

1:12 15 footer by Ian. He has shown us everything tonight. Everything.

0:0.4 Here’s how the last 10 seconds played out. JJ Mann ball faked, took half of the shot clock to get to the rim and finished to put the Mont up by 23 (I know I give him a hard time, but I really do love his game. It’s just that he’s deceptively quick.) Then, Kerron is called for a foul on a 3-point attempt in which Zavion Williams went all Dwayne Wade and jumped into Kerron, initiated contact and flailed to the ground like a French soccer player. Justice is served when he only makes 1 of 3. Belmont goes into the locker room up by 22. The Mont shot 63% in the first half including 9 of 17 from long distance. Nice.

20:00 Belmont starts the 2nd half with the ball and goes ahead and throws it away. Elephant in the room for all Belmont fans. We blow chunks in the 2nd half. We’ve lost 2 conference games and in both of those contests he had double digit leads in the 2nd half and when we haven’t lost leads, we’ve done our best to try. And Lipscomb seems to have mastered how to take advantage of that defect over the past few Battles.

19:36 Lipscomb with a three. Here we go again.

19:12 Blake doing his thing with a put back. Nice to have someone on the team that can actually play above the rim.

18:30 Oh my, that was sweet. Blake drives baseline, kicks opposite corner to Drew who swings it to Kerron who swings it to Ian for a WIIIIIIIDDDEEEE open three. They are running the Bison(s?) around in circles. The ball movement has been exceptional all game long. Comeback crisis temporarily averted.

18:20 Burgason promptly answers with his first three, but he had to earn it. I will take attempts like that from him all night.

17:31 Marvin Williams with a surprisingly strong spin move and finish with the left-handed jump hook. And someone must have farted in the lane cause Marvin is running back down the court with his face all scrunched up. Or maybe that’s how he shows his approval for that previous move. I’d be pumped too if I just pulled my team within 17 points.

17:25 Kerron with the butter knife move again. Belmont has done a nice job of answering Lipscomb baskets so far in the 2nd half.

16:46 I’ve talked a lot about Trevor tonight, but haven’t said much outside of the fact that he’s bailed hay for 20 years. There are signs of him coming back from knee surgery. That was epitomized by his last move where he pumped faked from 3 and got himself a wide open 15 footer. It didn’t go in, but it was a solid, heady move. The kind of basketball we need from Trevor.

16:33 Lead down to 15 on another 3 by Lipscomb and Rick calls timeout. This is one of those moments where the Mont can let Lipscomb back into the game, or they can respond and squelch the comeback. I really hope they respond. I don’t want to be in a bad mood for the rest of this post.

16:25 Vince and Amy shot coming out of the timeout. There should be a prop bet for that somewhere and I would set the over/under at 1.5.

15:48 TV timeout. I hate the two timeouts within 30 seconds thing. Whatever.

More scratching noises coming out of the timeout. This is some solid audio work by CSS. Maybe Sonny needed an extended bathroom break.

15:47 This is an excessive number of comments in a short amount of time, but Rick just called the sweetest baseline out of bounds play. Trev set two cross screens then rolled to an unguarded basket for an uncontested lay up. That’s how you squelch a rally. Easy baskets.

15:25 Ian is still in Burgason’s jock.

14:46 Marvin Williams makes a play his namesake would be proud of and steps on the baseline to turn the ball over.

14:32 The Bison(s?) have no answer for the Noack/Jenkins combo. They are straight up out working them under the basket. Couple of offensive rebounds results in a foul and two shots for Blake.

14:23 Sound is back. Sonny is back.

13:28 Adam Barnes forces a contested three from Burgason and instead of shooting, he throws it away. Adam and Ian have harassed him all night. Awesome.

12:42 Lipscomb keeps getting within 15 but can’t seem to get any closer. That’s a good thing.

12:03 Burgason thought he was Pistol Pete for a second and threw a behind the back pass to nobody. Cute.

11:46 There’s my boy JJ again. Arnett comes from half court in the same amount of time it takes JJ to get from the free throw line to the hoop to foul JJ before he can get the lay up attempt on the rim. He’ll have two free throws when we come back.

11:18 Oh dang. Emilio has a kid that plays for the Bison(s?)! I’m sure that was an objective decision.

10:50 Lipscomb student section still excited about only being down 16.

10:10 Drew with his first 3 point attempt of the 2nd half. Bang! 6 for 6. Back on track for Andy Wicke status.

8:24 Huge, huge, humongous, enormous sequence. The Mont forces Lipscomb to play 2 minutes of defense after a couple offensive rebounds and then finishes it off with a drive and dish by Blake for a Saunders lay in. Up 21. Dagger.

7:46 Hello number 7!!! They’re coming in bunches for Drew now. Dear Rick Byrd, Please don’t take Drew out like the time where he was 1 point, 1 assist and 2 rebounds away from a triple double and you sat him for the last 12 minutes of the game cause we were ahead by too much. Please.

7:25 Burgason throws the ball to Scotty Saunders cause you know, they’re on the same team and Blake is fouled in transition. TV timeout with Belmont up 73-49. I’m feeling good now. But let’s stay focused.

7:15 The Bakery turns away a lay up attempt! We haven’t said his name much and maybe that’s a good thing. He’s quietly done the little things that are needed from him and hasn’t made any big mistakes.

6:50 Lost in the good night for the Bruins have been the struggles of Mick. He has these games where he just falls off the map. I don’t know if this is a function of a perimeter dominated team, if it’s cause he has to split duties with Scott, or if he just doesn’t play well sometimes. Either way, to be up by 20 without contributions from one of our seniors and strongest players is never a bad thing.

5:25 Ian slashes to the hoop and has shown us almost every way to score the basketball.

4:54 And Drew finally misses from downtown. The streak is over, but it was fun while it lasted. You’re safe Andy Wicke. You and Mercury Morris can pop the bubbly now.

3:38 Belmont goes to the last TV timeout up 23. I think we can call it comfortably ahead at this point.

3:26 Kudos to the Lipscomb students for needlessly cheering on their team. I assume they’re just trying to delay their curfew as long as they can.

1:21 It’s empty the bench time for Rick. Here’s an appearance for Chad Lang and Nashville local Holden Mobley.

1:07 Reece Chamberlain with a steal and lay-up. He’s actually played some strong minutes tonight. Good showing by the freshman.

0:26 Spin move and a nice lay-in from Holden. Nice for him to score in the Battle.

0:10 Drew finally comes out to obvious applause. Move turnovers from Drew than we’re used to seeing, but 7 of 9 from downtown didn’t hurt.

That’s the horn and Belmont wins 84-58. Drew was huge. Ian was efficient and put Burgason in a coma. Just a solid effort all the way around. Also, Lipscomb stinks. How did we lose to them? Either way, hopefully that’s the type of game that launches the Mont into a strong 2nd half of the conference schedule. Not to be overlooked is their next game, Monday night at home to the Guvna’s of Austin Peay. That’ll be a conference game for us next year and it would be nice to sweep the season series. Anyway, that’s a wrap. Time for Lipscomb students to go check in with their RA.

-Jono Broadhead


  1. This was gold. What is up with the increased turnovers from Hanlen this year? What an awesome game for him to go ape from the arc. What was Andy’s record?

    • I would link Drew’s slight up tick in turnovers to his increase in minutes. Up almostt 7 minutes a game!

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