1972: The year the Rebels’ streak ended

In the last installment of the series we discussed Belmont’s winning streak that began in 1967. Today, we dive into the game that ended that streak.

It was 1972 and the Rebels had dominated the Bisons for the last four years. Over those eight games the closest that Lipscomb came to beating the team down the road was in 1969 in a 61-59 game.

12/2/1967 at Belmont Belmont 102-86
1/20/1968 at Lipscomb Belmont 54-46
1/18/1969 at Lipscomb Belmont 61-59
2/15/1969 at Belmont Belmont 78-48
1/17/1970 at Belmont Belmont 95-81
1/31/1970 at Lipscomb Belmont 83-70
1/14/1971 at Lipscomb Belmont 96-88
2/11/1971 at Belmont Belmont 87-74
1/13/1972 at Belmont Lipscomb 88-86


Still, in true rivalry fashion, Belmont battled back tying the game with about three minutes to go. Lipscomb then tied the game with a jump shot and played tight defense on the way back down the floor. Lipscomb held on for the win and a streak their own.Lipscomb, then lead by coach Mike Clark, led by as many as 14 points in the game and led by 11 at halftime. The Bisons had the lead for 36 straight minutes after Belmont opened the scoring.But finally, on January 13, 1972, the Bison played a back and forth game versus the Rebels, but came out on top at the end.

The streak lasted all of 25 days. Belmont beat Lipscomb in McQuiddy gym in a double overtime game that ended 79-76 in the Rebels favor.

The following article was taken from the January edition of the 1972 Babbler.

by Danny Dozier

The Jan. 13 victory over arch rival Belmont college has Bison fans more hopeful than usual for a win on Homecoming Day, Feb. 5, when Northern Kentucky State College will be the foe.

A few hurdles are in the way, like Southwestern at Memphis, scheduled to invade McQuiddy Gym for an 8 p.m. contest Jan. 29.  The Bisons toppled the Lynx at their previous meeting Jan. 15 on Southwestern’s own hardwood by a score of 84-69.

Feb. 2 will find the Bisons in rough-tough Pioneer country as Lipscomb travels to Lexington, Ky., to play Transylvania College.

Coach Mike Clark and his team will be looking to even the scorebook as the Pioneers downed the Bisons 86-61 on Jan. 22 in McQuiddy Gym.

Then back in Nashville Feb. 5 for the Homecoming battle against Northern Kentucky State College at 3 p.m.

Finally after four years and eight consecutive losses, the Bisons toppled city rival Belmont, edging past the Rebels 88-36.

“This is the greatest win ever for me,” Clark said after the breath-taking victory.  “Everyone gave their best, and we played almost errorless basketball.  It was just great!”

Belmont’s Joe Gaines scored the first two points of the game, but after that, Lipscomb held the upper hand for more than 36 minutes of the battle.  The Bisons led by as much as 14 points and were ahead of the Rebels 52-41 at half-time.

Coming out for the last half, Lipscomb saw its lead tighten as the Rebels played the entire half in a full court press. With less than three minutes left Belmont took a two-point lead on a jumper by Rebel Benny Proffitt.

Lipscomb’s Roy pate hit a 25-foot jumper to tie up the game.  Belmont failed to score their next trip down the floor.  Bruce Bowers was fouled and promptly pumped in the winning points.

Bowers led the scoring with 32 points.  Calvin Bailey added 25, while Pate had 13 and Buford 12.  The Bisons shot 51 percent from the field.

Lipscomb picked up its 10th win stopping Southwestern at Memphis 84-69.  Bowers again held the hot hand, scoring 30 points while Bailey trailed with 18.

Athens College brought the five-game winning streak to a halt, slipping past Lipscomb 91-86 in the Athens, Ala., gym.  Leading by five at the half, the Bears never let up and won by that same margin.

Bowers tied his school scoring record, dumping in 51 points, but the Bear attack was much too even be overcome.  Bailey and Clyde Whitworth supplemented Bowers’ scoring with 12 and 11 points, respectively.

The Bisons received a double blow in their loss to always tough Transylvania College Jan. 22.  Not only did they drop the contest by a score of 86-61, but they lost the services of explosive 6’1” senior forward, Bruce Bowers.

Less than two minutes after the opening tipoff, Transy’s Bobby Jobe was cited for a charging violation which spelled disaster for Lipscomb.  On the play, Bowers sustained a painful knee injury and immediately limped to the sidelines where he was taped.

Bowers re-entered the game with 14:35 on the clock in the first half but had to return to the bench for the remainder of the evening.

“It felt like a clip in football,” the big forward said.  “I thought the tape would solve the problem, but when I got back on the court I had no movement in that leg.”

“We beat Transylvania here last year quite decisively, so I knew they would come down ready to play a tough one,” assistant coach Charlie Pearman said.

“Bruce’s injury was a psychological boost for them and a might big let-down for us.”

Lipscomb has been fortunate concerning injuries up to that point.  Clark said he had been expecting something like Bowers’ injury.

Bailey led all scorers with 24 points, while Farrell Gean pumped in 19 points, and Whitworth tossed in 10.


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