The Bisons pulled off a huge GSC road upset tonight in Monticello, defeating UAM 79-73. Harding improves to 1-1 in Gulf South West games (9-3 overall), while the Weevils fall to 2-1 (9-5 overall). The Bisons rode hot shooting to the victory, as the keys will show:
|7.3||Predicted net efficiency|
|5.4||Actual net efficiency|
The Bisons’ 68.0 true shooting percentage tells the story of the game, which was that the Bisons couldn’t miss from inside or at the three point line. UAM had an uncharacteristically poor shooting night at the same time, with a TS% of just 52.1%. Rebounding continued to be a problem for HU, which was again massacred on the boards. The 35-28 final margin doesn’t accurately reflect just how poorly the team rebounded because the Weevils missed far more shots, giving the Bisons more chances for defensive rebounds (which are typically easier). The Bisons also turned the ball over too much, so it was incredibly important that they shot well, given their performance in the other key areas.
Lonnie Smith led the way with 26 points for Harding, including 20 in the second half. Remarkably, he did all this while failing to make a three-pointer (in 3 attempts). His 12-of-13 free throw shooting led the team back from a blistering start to the half by UAM’s M’Jumbe Williams, who had 27 points. While the radio announcers insisted that Williams was carrying the team with his performance, I would argue that his relatively poor 9-of-22 shooting and six turnovers (with one assist) kept his team from getting in a scoring rhythm. By the time he picked up his fourth foul, the Bisons were ready to take charge at the free throw line and cruise on to the victory.
Nate Newell also shot uncharacteristically poorly in tonight’s game, making just 3 of his 13 shots (1 of 10 from outside). He also only attempted six free throws (making them all), a relatively low number for him.
Ceso Sprewell and Cole Kee also had excellent performances for the Bisons, combining for 31 points and making a number of key defensive plays down the stretch to preserve the lead.
Below are some of the advanced stats. You can also find the box score here.
The Bisons continue their road trip on Thursday at Southern Arkansas in Magnolia at 8 p.m.