The Bisons’ win streak is now up to eight games after an impressive weekend sweep of the usual Alabama suspects, Alabama-Huntsville and North Alabama. The latter was ranked #15, and UAH has never been an easy victory.
Harding 78, UAH 57
A glance at this box score leads me to believe that the Bisons played tremendous defense on the ball, stealing the ball 16 times and holding the Chargers to 36% shooting from the field. The Chargers weren’t lacking shot attempts, since they pulled down nearly half of their potential offensive rebounds, but the shots just never fell for them.
The Bisons had far fewer chances for offensive boards, since they shot 60% from the field, over 50% from long range, and made 11 of 15 free throws. If they could do that every game, there would be no need to bother with rebounding.
Trent Morgan had five of the team’s steals, but he allowed Stephen Blake and Kevin Brown to take on the team’s scoring load. Blake was unconscious from long range, making five of six attempted threes, and he led the team with 21 points. K-Brown had 18 points on 8-of-11 shooting.
Brian Howard led the team with 9 rebounds, and he made all three of his shots from the field to finish with 10 points. Steven Barnett was the team’s fifth double-digit scorer, and he also contributed 6 assists.
Harding 80, #15 UNA 66
The Bisons trailed by 11 points early in the game, but they kept chipping away and knocked out the #15 Lions.
If it looked like UAH was trying to build a brick house on Friday, UNA came ready to build Harding a whole new campus on Saturday, laying 51 bricks out on the floor in what was either an impressive defensive stand for the Bisons or a total offensive implosion.
The Bisons cleaned up their rebounding effort against UNA, and both teams finished around 30% on the offensive glass. North Alabama was stingy with the ball, only turning it over seven times, but very few teams can win while shooting 26% from the field, and the Lions were no exception.
Kevin Brown asserted himself as a scorer in this one, netting 25 points on 16 field goal attempts and adding 7 rebounds. Steven Barnett was the Bisons’ second-leading scorer with 18, and he actually had a double-double, thanks to 10 assists. Matt Garner finished with 11 points to round out the Bisons in double figures. Brian Howard had a typical 9-point/11-rebound game. Both Brown and Howard fouled out, which makes the former’s scoring effort even more impressive, as he accomplished it in just 25 minutes on the floor. Stephen Blake couldn’t match Friday’s effort, making just 1 of his 7 shot attempts.
UNA had already played three of Harding’s GSC West counterparts, which could give us a feel for where the Bisons will stand come January. UNA lost to Christian Brothers 51-46, but they beat Arkansas Tech (by one) and Southern Arkansas (by 12).
I’m starting to wonder if this streak will get the Bisons some consideration in the national rankings. They’re now 8-1 overall and 5-1 against other D-II teams. I’m not yet personally convinced they’re a top-notch team, but if they can match this weekend’s defensive effort on an every-game basis, they’ll certainly win a few games.