Double-digit scoring streak gone, Lipscomb's Hodzic plays on and plays well

Monday, January 17, 2011 at 11:46pm

Adnan Hodzic wasn’t keep tracking of his streak because he didn’t have to.

Even in the early stages of his astonishing 72 straight games with at least 10 points scored, the Lipscomb forward couldn’t leave an arena without being notified.

“It has been following me every game since my sophomore year, since I hit 25 in a row,” he said. “Ever since then I heard it after every game.”

Following last Thursday’s devastating 88-52 loss to cross-town and Atlantic Sun Conference rival Belmont, Hodzic didn’t need to be told the streak was over.

He knew.

When he scored seven points, it was the first time since Nov. 15, 2008 – the first game of his sophomore season – that he hadn’t scored in double-digit figures. It also ended the longest active streak in NCAA Division I. During that stretch, he scored 1,466 points, averaging 20.3 points a game.

“What he did for 72 games is amazing. When you consider that other teams are trying every game out to try to take him away and for 72 straight games they were unable to,” Lipscomb coach Scott Sanderson said. “Belmont did an outstanding job on him and they deserve a lot of credit for what they did on him but I don’t know if that will ever be matched.”

On Monday, in a 92-81 victory over visiting Campbell at Allen Arena, Hodzic had started a new streak by halftime. The senior scored 11 in the opening 20 minutes and finished with 33 points, which matched a season-high.

The 6-foot-8, 245-pounder from Sarajevo, Bosnia now has scored at least 10 points in 89 of the 92 games he has started in his career. In 45 of those -- despite often being double and triple-teamed -- he scored more than 20 despite.

“Guards have the whole floor to work with, I don’t have that. I just have down low,” Hodzic, the Atlantic Sun's leading scorer at 19.5 points per game, said. “It is definitely hard, especially the way teams are guarding me. I’m honestly surprised, yes, especially when we get into league play that I was able to do that.

"... It is kind of one of those things that is in the back of your mind. I’m not over here thinking about it, that I have to get 10 points this game. Honestly, I don’t think about it. But I’m proud of myself, I guess, for that. I have to give credit to my teammates, especially the way they guard a good post player, your teammates are a big part of that and my teammates do a great job of getting me the ball and I couldn’t do it without them.”

The funny thing is Hodzic’s streak is not the longest in school history. That record belongs to current Bisons athletic director Philip Hutcheson. During his playing career, which spanned the 1986-90 seasons, he scored more than 10 points in all 155 of his games. When he graduated he left as college basketball’s all-time leading scorer with 4,106 points.

“More than anything else, as far as statistically for me, it is the No. 1 thing I am happiest about,” Hutcheson said of his streak. “Because it, to me, signifies a guy your teammates can count on every night. That we know this is what we are going to get from this guy. Not 25 one night and three the next. ... From that standpoint, I was happy to be able to do that.

"When you have a guy like Adnan that you know, hey, every night we can count on him for 18 (points) and nine (rebounds), the consistency is huge.”

While that string of excellence ended, it could fuel another streak, though this one won’t be as long. There are just 12 games left in the regular season for a Lipscomb team that is 10-7 and 5-3 in the conference. Hodzic hopes his college career will be extended but the Bisons will need to go on a tear if they want to reach their first NCAA Tournament. 

But the way the streak ended – in an embarrassing setback to Lipscomb’s biggest rival – might be just what Hodzic and the rest of the Bisons needed.

“It came to an end. It is fine, but I’m happy the way I felt after that game now,” Hodzic said. “Everyone was down. Our pride was hurt. Our confidence was hurt and we’re not going out like that again.”