The Bisons took down the OBU Tigers tonight in Arkadelphia, 86-73, keeping themselves in the race for the GSC West’s fifth and final conference tournament slot. Christian Brothers’ overtime loss at Delta State drops them to 7-7, a game ahead of the 6-8 Bisons with two to play. Henderson State’s overtime victory over Arkansas Tech clinches at least a fourth-place finish for the Reddies, so the Bucs and Bisons are left to fight for the final spot. Should both teams finish 8-8 or 7-9, the Bisons would own the tiebreaker as long as UAM finishes second in the division. The Weevils have a 1.5-game edge in that race after their win over UCA tonight. Practically everything (except an HSU loss) broke right for Harding tonight, but two games remain, and the Bisons really need to win them both.
I’ll have more on tonight’s game after I get the stats.
—-February 21 Addition—-
Have a look a the keys for last night’s game:
|Eff||117.9||99.5||18.4||Actual net efficiency|
|22.4||Predicted net efficiency|
Listening to the radio broadcast, I was under the impression that the Bisons were playing suffocating defense. Perhaps that was the case for part of the game, but at some point, they slipped. 99.5 is basically the league average, which should not be considered good against one of the conference’s weaker teams. On the other end of the floor, however, the Bisons were dominant. A 117.9 efficiency rating is good against practically anyone.
Harding’s shots fell from everywhere, as they made 8-of-14 from long range and had a ridiculous 68.1 true shooting percentage for the game. They also put in a solid effort on the boards, picking up an encouraging 36% of available offensive rebounds. Ceso Sprewell had four of the team’s nine offensive boards, so he gets most of that credit. Turnovers were a slight problem, as the Bisons fell short of their season averages on both ends by turning it over too much and by not forcing OBU into as many turnovers as they might usually like.
Individual points to remember:
1. Patrick Andrepont had 21 points and 6 rebounds on 9-of-13 shooting, breaking a long string of poor shooting performances. How long, you ask? The last D-II game in which he made more shots than he missed was against North Alabama, way back on December 3rd. Hopefully this performance is a sign of his shot returning, rather than an anomaly that will have him forcing up more bad shots (like he had for most of the season) in the future.
2. Ceso Sprewell had 11 points and 12 rebounds on efficient 5-of-8 shooting. When Ceso combines his always stifling defense with being active on the glass and getting easy second-chance shots, he becomes one of the best players in the conference. He did that in this game, and he’ll need to keep doing it for the Bisons to make the conference tournament.
3. Alassane Savadogo played more than half the game and played well while he was in there. The big man was going through a bit of a rough stretch, so hopefully playing for 22 minutes with just 3 fouls will help him stay in there more down the home stretch. He has already become an underrated offensive player (he’s one of just 3 Bisons who doesn’t hurt the team with poor shot selection by posting a positive brick index).
4. Steven Barnett and Reggie Bibb only had to take 5 shots. Shooting is not their thing, so that was a good night. Combined, they have made just 33 of 103 shots during the conference season, so we’d be a lot better off if they just kept passing the ball along. As long as the shots are falling for everyone else, this should remain the same.
Here are the current GSC West standings:
I already explained what we need, but there’s the visual. Maybe we can get score updates on the CBU-UAM game at the Rhodes Field House on Thursday night. There’s more work left for the Bisons to do, so it’s important not to look past Arkansas Tech. Everyone needs to come out and show support for Lonnie, Brandon, and Ceso as they play their final home games.