The Bisons won a hard-fought game against GSC East foe North Alabama tonight, 99-92, overcoming countless lead changes and very poor officiating in the process. During one stretch midway through the second half, Harding turned the ball over twice in a row on incorrect traveling and out-of-bounds calls. The out-of-bounds call was the most egregious error of the night, since it was a blocked shot that went directly off a UNA player and out of bounds, yet it was ruled out on the Bisons. It was possibly the worst officiating I have seen at the Division-II level.
The team lost momentum, but continued to battle back. The game was won on a steal that happened while UNA tried to get the ball inside as they were down by two with under 20 seconds left. UNA immediately fouled Brandon Sims, and a technical foul was called on the UNA coach, allowing the Bisons to hit several free throws to seal the victory.
The four key stats:
The Bisons enjoyed significant edges in shooting and ballhandling, but the rebounding edge UNA held was disturbing, to say the least. The Lions actually grabbed more than half of the rebounds on their offensive end, which is a tremendous achievement. Generally, the Bisons have been rebounding well, but tonight was not a good display.
Lonnie Smith led the Bisons with 30 points and, more amazingly, five rebounds. Brandon Sims and Patrick Andrepont contributed 19 and 18 points, respectively, and Reggie Bibb had 8 points and 8 assists. As you can see, Smith’s game score of 26.4 stood well above the rest of the team, but there were a lot of solid performances, especially from a shooting standpoint.
Esmir Guzonjic and Casey Holt were standout performers for the Lions. Guzonjic had 20 points and 9 rebounds, while Holt had 18 and 11. All five UNA starters scored in double figures.
The Bisons have two more home games before a long Christmas break, with Arkansas Baptist coming to the Rhodes on Monday and Central Baptist coming in on Thursday.