By Tom Wood
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Zach Johnson watched his Florida Gulf Coast basketball team squander a big first-half lead. And with another meltdown a real possibility, the sophomore guard wasn’t about to let it happen again.
Thanks in large part to Johnson’s big plays down the stretch, the Eagles (14-5, 3-0 ASUN) hung on for an 84-80 victory over scrappy Lipscomb (10-10, 2-1) on Saturday night at Allen Arena.
After Lipscomb rallied from 12 down for a 40-40 halftime tie, FGCU rebuilt its lead to 14 at 74-60 with six minutes left in the game. But the Bisons — much like they ended the first half — came back strong and made the Eagles work for their third consecutive league road victory and seventh overall.
“We knew they were a real good offensive team and they were definitely going to have some runs just like we had some. It’s just how you sustain them and how you’re going to hold your own,” said Johnson, who led FGCU with 23 points.
“We knew we had to close out the game and hit some free throws. We had to guard the 3-point line and make them make plays and rely on our defense.”