By David Boclair
For the third time in four years, the Atlantic Sun Conference Player of the Year and Coach of the Year are from the same school.
That has not necessarily a good thing, and this time it’s Lipscomb.
The Bisons collected two of the A-Sun’s top individual honors Monday, which also was the first day of play in the conference tournament. Garrison Mathews, a senior from Franklin, was named Player of the Year and Brentwood Academy alum Casey Alexander was named Coach of the Year.
Florida Gulf Coast in 2018 and North Florida in 2016 also pulled off the Player of the Year/Coach of the Year double. Neither won the conference tournament or earned the NCAA Tournament bid that comes with that title. Lipscomb spoiled Florida Gulf Coast’s attempt last season with a 108-96 upset in the championship game.
Recognition for Lipscomb’s 2018-19 season also included All-Atlantic Sun first team honors for Mathews and senior post player Rob Marberry, an alum of FRA. In addition, Ahsan Asadullah was named to the A-Sun All-Freshman team.
Any potential downside to all those honors was not evident in the Bisons’ conference tournament quarterfinal. They defeated Kennesaw State 86-71 at Allen Arena behind a triple-double from guard Kenny Cooper (15 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists).
Mathews (pictured) led the conference in scoring (19.8 points per game) and 3-pointers made (86) during the regular season. He was second in free throws made (133), third in free throw percentage (84.7) and was named the A-Sun Player of the Week seven times.
He was a unanimous first team All-Sun selection for the third consecutive year.
“I’m thrilled for Garrison and his recognition as Player of the Year,” Alexander said, according to the school’s athletics website. “He’s had a tremendous season and is certainly worthy of the recognition. This honor is a great way for him to cap off an incredible A-Sun career.”
Lipscomb has had one previous A-Sun Player of the Year (Adnan Hodzic, 2010) and one previous Coach of Year (Scott Sanderson, 2006).
Now it has both at once — and some recent history to overcome.
Photo by Getty Images.