Bisons deserved better in 71-57 loss at UAH

Saturday night’s game has me conflicted.  This is my third attempt to write a review for it, simply because I really can’t describe what a frustrating game it was.  Normally I like to at least get my review done on the day following a game, but this game left me with too much to say. 

Let me make this clear before I start: the Bisons played incredibly hard, even though they were clearly fatigued.  They didn’t shoot well, and I’m sure they know that.  They picked up a couple of lazy fouls, and they picked up a lot of fouls that shouldn’t have been called at all.  They should be proud that they didn’t quit against a very good, disciplined team.

It must be very hard to play on the road when you’re almost certain the deck is stacked against you.  The Bisons were called for 28 fouls, more than twice the number of their opponents (13), and this is the second game in a row for such a foul disparity.  Having watched them for years, and now having finally seen this year’s team in action, I know they’re not playing rougher than the other teams.  I just have no idea what’s going on, and it has really flustered me.  I’ve called out the GSC refs here before, so this is nothing new.  Officiating at the Division-II level, at least in our conference, is far below the level it needs to be.  The players and coaches invest so much of their lives into this game that to say this is not fair would be a dramatic understatement.  I don’t know what to do about it personally.  It’s just unfathomably frustrating.

I was fortunate before the game to get the chance to talk to Coach Morgan for a few minutes about the team.  I expressed my regret for not being in Searcy to follow the team this year, and we discussed the rigors of this year’s non-conference schedule, which is one of the Bisons’ toughest in years, especially considering the number of games played and their positioning against the academic calendar.

It was a different experience, being among only a handful of Harding fans in attendance and getting the chance to really look at the team from more of an inside perspective.  The crowd in Huntsville was tame, as usual, not really comparing at all to the experience at the Rhodes Field house, so I was able to really pick up on the players’ and coaches’ enthusiasm for one another.  Coach Morgan didn’t have to raise his voice, since you could probably have heard a pin drop at times during the game.  As an aside, the fans at UAH don’t really have any idea what they’re missing by not getting into their team, which is sad for them.  They have a very good program, even if some of the players could use a swift kick in the rear for their on-court displays of poor sportsmanship (coughcough::Micah de la Rosa::coughcough).

This game was one of those times when simply looking at the stats doesn’t much of the story at all.  The stats never tell the whole story, which is why I would love to see all of the games in person.  There are a lot of things to learn from looking at the box score, but it doesn’t tell you everything.

The people who watched this game know that the story here was more than the Bisons’ poor shooting performance.  It was about fouls and frustration.  A Bisons team that began the game playing energized basketball with tremendous fluidity in the offense was beaten into submission by the folks wearing whistles around their necks.  The game was not called fair, and the Bisons were too weary and the Chargers too good to let them overcome it.  With their performance placed in proper context, I was incredibly impressed by the team’s poise and Coach Morgan’s ability to keep his cool when the game was falling apart.  This group does a fantastic job keeping things in perspective.

Here are the keys and the individual stats:


  HU UAH +/-  
Eff 74.8 94.6 -19.7 Actual net efficiency
TS% 41.8 57.2 -0.154  
OR% 19.5% 20.6% -0.011  
TR 16.8 20.6 0.038  
      -18.0 Predicted net efficiency


## Player Name   MIN GS GS/M TS% PPR AR TR RR
14 Andrepont, Patrick  12 4.0 0.333 37.5 -2.8 10.0 10.0 13.3%
22 Barnett, Steven  16 0.0 0.000 41.7 2.1 22.2 11.1 0.0%
30 Hall, Matt  22 -0.4 -0.018 32.2 -9.1 0.0 20.5 19.4%
42 Thies, Jacob  18 4.1 0.228 42.5 -11.1 0.0 25.4 11.9%
21 Sims, Brandon  17 0.3 0.018 25.0 -5.9 0.0 20.0 9.4%
4 Kee, Cole  –  16 -0.5 -0.031 20.5 -2.1 14.5 14.5 6.7%
10 Morgan, Kellen  –  7 -1.7 -0.243 0.0 -4.8 25.0 25.0 0.0%
12 Bibb, Reggie  –  27 -0.2 -0.007 0.0 2.5 50.0 25.0 4.0%
15 Hamilton, Rick  –  25 5.3 0.212 47.0 -10.7 9.6 19.2 6.4%
32 Morgan, Trent  –  13 7.9 0.608 85.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 4.1%
34 Bynum, Jesse  –  11 3.2 0.291 66.7 -9.1 0.0 25.0 24.2%
40 Howard, Brian  –  16 1.8 0.113 51.5 0.0 0.0 0.0 3.3%



True to the scouting report, Trent Morgan played excellent defense, especially on Jason Smith, who is remarkably difficult to contain.  Morgan appears to handle the ball quite well, and he even made a couple of threes in limited playing time.   Brian Howard was a little less inspiring than I expected, but I think it was because he didn’t really see the ball much.  The Bisons don’t have a habit of getting the ball inside this year, and he probably just didn’t get the chance to show what he can do.  Rick Hamilton showed some good-looking range on his shot, despite missing all of his three-point attempts in this game.  The easy comparison for him is to Lonnie Smith, but I think Hamilton is probably a better defender and more athletic, while Smith was slightly more dangerous as a shooter.  All-around, I think Hamilton has the chance to be consistently good.

I was also impressed by some things I saw out of returning players.  Jacob Thies is still a good decision maker and makes the most of his offensive chances.  Patrick Andrepont looks like a player more in control of his game on the court, and Steven Barnett looks like he’s running the point with more confidence, taking advantage of his athleticism.  Jesse Bynum looked pretty good spelling Thies, Howard and Hall.

Inevitably, there were some things that went wrong.  Cole Kee was…well…he was Cole Kee.  To his credit, he only took four shots, two of them threes.  He could still use some improvement in developing his inside game.  Matt Hall had another off night, and I’m guessing he could probably use a break already.  His explosiveness was not evident at all, and virtually all of his shots were fadeaway jumpers out of the post.  He fouled out of the game and was struggling to get anything going with the taller de la Rosa guarding him in the paint.  I was still impressed with the effort that these guys showed.  They just didn’t have good games.

The Bisons have a home game on Friday against Drury, another tough D-II program.  Then, they’re off to Hawaii for more D-II games.


6 thoughts on “Bisons deserved better in 71-57 loss at UAH

  1. In the Bisons earlier game with UAH in Searcy, the Bisons had 25 fouls to only 14 for UAH.

    Could there be some other reason for the disparity in fouls other than bad officiating? Bisons have consistently out fouled their opponents. Every game but one (that one was even)

    Could it be the Bisons style of play? They allow a lot of penetration (attempt to put pressure on outside and are not quick enough to carry through)- guards end up chasing a lot and inside defenders are forced to cover for them.

    Same problem on the other end. No penetration (no quickness) to put the defense under pressure.

  2. Yeah, that’s something I was thinking about before I saw Saturday’s game. The style of play difference is an issue that I’m not really sure how to address. It makes sense, but the officials still seemed to call a lot of touch fouls that they just weren’t calling on UAH. Maybe the different style of play has led to more fouls, and then the officials are over-compensating to keep Harding from getting away with pushing people around.

    During this game, my frustration as a fan was probably getting in the way of my attempts to analyze things objectively, so I’m really not sure what to think. The history of GSC officiating inconsistency (a kinder term than “incompetence,” I guess) may prevent us from ever analyzing this to its logical conclusion. Your explanation is as good as any I’ve heard or tried to come up with myself.

  3. I am curious about the lack of playing time for the starters. Only Matt played more than 20 minutes (22). Foul trouble for all of them?

  4. For Hall and Barnett it was foul trouble, but I’m not really sure about the others. It was just a constant rotation throughout the game. I understand that the team is pretty worn out from their schedule, but beyond that, I know nothing. When I got home and saw that Andrepont had only played 13 minutes, I was pretty surprised, especially since I didn’t really notice it during the game. My best guess is that Coach Morgan wanted to keep the team fresh once it became apparent that the game was out of hand.

  5. Regarding the fatigue factor, why do they schedule so many games in such a short period of time? I would assume that it has a lot to do with the realities of D-II basketball (travel budgets, non conference home and home series, etc.), but isn’t 7 games in 13 days (dating back to November 27) a little excessive?

    I know they want to get a good number of games in, but I’m not sure playing good teams every other day and then taking two weeks off at the end of December is the way to do it.

  6. I think it’s just like you said, plus the desire to play in front of the student section at home. I think there are only two home games this year that were scheduled when most students will be away from campus (this Friday’s game against Drury and the Jan. 4 game against Central Baptist).

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