The Battle of the Boulevard. A rivalry often defined by distance, integrity, fierce competitiveness and respect. The schools set just two miles apart on the same boulevard. In all of the NCAA, there are not two schools that sit closer to one another.
The game itself has the ability to bring out the best in any player, coach or team. Ever since the McQuiddy gym days, fans have had an extreme impact on the outcome of games. The Battle, while it is only two halves at a time, seems like a war.
It’s a war on the court between the players. Ten men at a time, battling not only for a boulevard, but for every inch of the court, every loose ball and every ounce of pride that one may have after a win against that “team down the road.”
Lipscomb and Belmont have played 129 times leading up to the February third matchup in Allen Arena on Don Meyer court. While Lipscomb holds the lead in the series 73-56, the two are tied since both schools have gone to the NCAA.
Twenty-four of those 73 wins were in the 1980s with the likes of Phil Hutcheson and John Pierce on the team. During that span, Belmont won only six games. However, in the 50s, 60s and 70s, Belmont had the better record.
Over the next week, the Battle of the Boulevard will be highlighted with articles dating back from 1960 to 2011. The wins, the losses, the heartbreak, the revelry, and the rivalry.
“Battle is the most magnificent competition in which a human being can indulge. It brings out all that is best; it removes all that is base. All men are afraid in battle. The coward is the one who lets his fear overcome his sense of duty. Duty is the essence of manhood.” – George S. Patton
The first year that we will look at is 1967. During the ’66-’67 season, the Bison split the season series with Belmont. Lipscomb, in odd fashion that season, dropped the game to Belmont on their home court. The Bison, however, redeemed themselves with a 75-68 win at the Striplin Gym on Jan 19th.
The following article, copied exactly as shown, appeared in the Jan. 21, 1967 edition of The Babbler.
By Byron Nelson
In the tradition of the past, the Bisons bounced back last week to avenge an earlier loss to Belmont College, winning 75 to 68 in one of their best showings of the season.
Not since 1963 has one of these schools dominated the series. After the tough Belmont team of 1964-65 dedicated its new gym with a 20-point win over the Bisons in front of a TV audience, the Bisons fought back a month later to pull one of the biggest upsets of the season.
A mediocre Belmont squad shocked the Bisons with a 75-66 defeat in the first game of the 1965-66 series. Later, the Bisons bounced back to hand the Rebels a defeat on their home court. This game saw another tradition in the Lipscomb-Belmont rivalry come to life.
Team balance keyed the Lipscomb victory on Jan. 19, again in the Rebel gym, after the Bisons lost the opener in the series last fall in McQuiddy.
Scoring columns showed all five starters in double figures. Richard Jackson led with 16 points, while Jimmy Beller and Stacy Myers added 15 apiece.
“The effort we put up against Belmont was really fine,” Coach Guy Ed Phipps said, after the game.
“The boys were able to get good shots off the pattern and, above all, the rebounding was up to par.”
The Belmont game has brightened the latter part of the 1966-67 season, which has generally not been on the winning side.
Before a game with Florence State University scheduled Thursday night as THE BABBLER went to press, the Bisons stood 5-9 for the season.
Fifty-three fouls and an off-night enabled Southwestern of Memphis to take a 91-65 win over the Bisons on a road trip Jan. 14. Beller was the bright spot in the lineup, hitting for 26 points and grabbing all rebounds.
On Jan. 16, the Bisons missed several key foul shots and handed the University of the South Sewanee, a 71-65 win. Again it was Beller who led the scoring, racking up 22 points.
The ninth defeat of the season came last Monday night on the home court, when Athens College downed Lipscomb 79-62 in a hard-fought battle.
After Athens jumped out ahead by 15 points early in the game, the Bisons fought back to within three points, leaving the floor at halftime down by 33-30.
In the second half the closest the Bisons could get was within four points. A scoring spree in the last four minutes pushed the Bears’ final lead to 79 to 62.
Despite the poor field goal percentage of 26.9, the Bisons outrebounded the Bears 50-45, in spite of their height advantage, in the best effort on the boards of the entire season.