The Bisons played a solid game on Senior Night to end the home season on a high note, beating Arkansas Tech 90-82. The game was followed by a fitting tribute to the three seniors on the squad: Lonnie Smith, Ceso Sprewell, and Brandon Sims. Unfortunately for the Bisons, the UAM Boll Weevils did not do their part to help get the Bisons into the GSC Tournament. They lost 66-62 at Christian Brothers, which I believe means that the Bisons are out.
Here’s my understanding of the situation in the standings. Neither the Harding nor the Christian Brothers’ websites have posted anything to confirm this, so I suppose it could be wrong.
Standings through 2/23:
Should both Harding and Christian Brothers finish 8-8 (still a possibility), the first tiebreaker would be head-to-head record. The Bucs and Bisons split their two games, so the next tiebreaker is to go down the standings from top to bottom and compare records against each team. Both teams lost twice to 15-0 Delta State, the second-ranked team in the country. The Bucs win ended the chance for the Bisons to have an edge at the #2 spot, because now both teams split with UAM (UAM is guaranteed the #2 spot even though they could finish tied with UCA, since UAM has a better record against #4 Henderson State). UCA is the team that now breaks the HU-CBU tie, and it’s not good for the Bisons. Harding lost both games to Central Arkansas, while Christian Brothers split with them, giving the Bucs the tiebreaker edge.
So, if my understanding of the tiebreakers is correct, the Bisons have been eliminated from the tournament picture. The PR folks at the game tonight did a good job not to spoil an otherwise great night by breaking this news at the game.
I’ll have a review of the game itself when the stats are posted. Hopefully either Harding or Christian Brothers will confirm this on one of their sites.
[EDIT] I didn’t have that up very long before Christian Brothers finally confirmed these results.
Here are the keys for the game:
|Eff||117.6||107.2||10.4||Actual net efficiency|
|9.6||Predicted net efficiency|
1. Shooting: The Bisons were on track yet again, getting surprisingly excellent shooting performances from Reggie Bibb and Cole Kee, plus a second straight good performance from Patrick Andrepont. Making 24 of 33 free throws helped, as did shooting 50% from behind the arc. I’d take a 62.1 true shooting percentage against just about anyone. Defense was somewhat of a problem, but luckily Arkansas Tech wasn’t a disciplined enough team to take advantage of what the Bisons gave them. They got a bit overconfident after making a couple of early threes and ended up taking some bad shots in the end.
2. Rebounding: It was a pretty even battle throughout the game. The Wonder Boys’ best players are both post players (Ike O’Hanson and Rone Smith), so they were expected to rebound well. The Bisons’ effort was fairly balanced, but Patrick Andrepont’s 8 boards looked especially good. As usual, Savadogo rebounded well, but he only played 12 minutes.
3. Turnovers: Steven Barnett was frustrating to watch early in the game, and his 6 turnovers really stifled the Bisons’ otherwise well-executed offense. The rest of the Bisons did a pretty good job handling the ball in this even battle. The Wonder Boys had a few problem players, with O’Hanson, Andrew Stanek, and Denarryl Rice (perhaps the most overrated player in the conference) dropping the ball at least 3 times each.
4. Overall efficiency: The Bisons were clicking on offense once again, putting on an impressive display, even against Tech’s weak defense. The defense for Harding wasn’t exactly inspiring, especially early on, but in the end the offense was able to carry the team anyway. +10 in net efficiency is pretty good, though you know Delta State and UAM would have field days against these guys.
Individual efforts worth remembering:
1. Patrick Andrepont came up big again with 18 points and 8 rebounds. Hopefully this will keep up against Henderson State and carry into next year. He hasn’t been taking as many poor shots, and he’s made them when they’ve looked like bad shots. He and Cole Kee still need to improve their decision-making a lot, but it’s nice to see them light it up occasionally.
2. Reggie Bibb was even bigger, scoring 17 points in just 15 minutes. Games like this have to make it hard for Coach Morgan to decide who to start at the point guard position. Clearly Barnett is the PG of the future, since he’s a freshman, and he’s even outplayed Reggie recently, but then Reggie puts up a game like this to confuse everyone. Still, it was an impressive performance, and even his bad shots went in.
3. Alassane Savadogo had 8 points and 4 rebounds, which is pretty good for 12 minutes on the floor. The problem for him (again) was foul trouble, and he will have to figure out how to stay on the floor in the future. You won’t get an argument from me if you want to make the case that GSC officiating is very poor, but something has to give here.
Next up is the season finale against Henderson State in Arkadelphia. The Bisons can finish at .500 with a win, and the Reddies won’t have anything to play for (they’ve already locked up the #4 spot), which makes the Bisons a pretty good upset pick.
Finally, congratulations are in order for Lonnie, Brandon, and Ceso on their recognition last night. Their unique personalities have made the team a lot of fun to watch this year, and we’ll miss them next year. Last night was my final home game as a student as well, which made it quite an emotional game. Hopefully I can still attend some games next season, depending on where I end up. Whether or not I’ll have the time to keep up this site is another story, but as the saying goes, we’ll cross that bridge when we get there. In the meantime, keep checking back for game updates through the end of the conference championships and the NCAA tournament, and I’ll keep trying to come up with interesting things to say after the season is over.