The Bisons withstood an unbelievable scoring performance by Nate Newell to fend off the UAM Boll Weevils in Friday night’s game. Newell had 41 points on 12-of-31(!!!) shooting, scoring well over half of his team’s 70 points for the game. That’s good for him, since he took 31 of the team’s 58 shots from the field and 15 of their 29 free throws.
You can see that Harding won the major battle, shooting far more efficiently than Monticello, which lives and dies by the streaky shooting of Nate Newell. Matt Hall had another outstanding game, making 10 of his 12 shots and scoring 25 points.
Hall got some help from the unlikeliest of sources: Reggie Bibb and Cole Kee, each of whom scored 13 points. The two of them basically combined to have the great game Hall did, making 9 of their 11 shots in 37 combined minutes. This is the type of scoring output the Bisons need from a number of guys, especially in a game like this one, when Patrick Andrepont and Brandon Sims were a combined 3-of-15 from the floor.
Harding also won the second most important battle, out-rebounding the Weevils by about eight percent. It was a balanced effort from the team, with three players tied for the team lead with six boards.
On the flip side, turnovers were a team-wide problem, and this was the area in which UAM kept the game close. The Weevils had 17 steals and the Bisons 21 turnovers, mostly spread out between all the players.
Elsewhere in the GSC
In Friday’s other games, Ouachita Baptist beat Rhema Bible College in the last non-conference game of the regular season for a GSC team , while the first-place Henderson State Reddies beat Arkansas Tech to maintain a two-game lead on the rest of the field in the GSC West.
The standings are a mess now, with three other teams tied with Harding at 5-3 in second place, so even a slight misstep at this point could be the difference between a first-round bye and the very last playoff spot. Henderson State is looking strong, so it’s hard to see anyone else winning the division. Everything else is wide open, with OBU having the hot hand, while Delta State is faltering a bit. Christian Brothers still seems too good not to finish in the top 3, unless the injury to Nick Kohs keeps him out for an extended period of time. OBU has the worst efficiency numbers of the four tied teams, but they’ve been playing solid basketball and are the only team to have beaten HSU.
The Bisons will visit Delta State on Thursday in a matchup of two of the 5-3 teams in the division, so that should be the marquee matchup for that night. Christian Brothers will visit still-winless Arkansas Tech, while Henderson State will play another seemingly hapless team, hosting Southern Arkansas. Ouachita Baptist will host Arkansas-Monticello, where the over-under on missed shots by Nate Newell can be safely set at 14, 265.
One More Thing
Like every other Volunteer fan, I’ll be at home tonight rooting for Peyton to win the Big One. I promise that my TV screen is not bigger than 55 inches, nor am I charging an entrance fee for people to watch with me. Thanks for that, NFL.