The men’s basketball team kicked off the spring semester with two wins on the road in Oklahoma. On Jan. 7, the Bisons played against East Central University (ECU) in Ada, Oklahoma, where senior guard Blake McNair hit a 30-foot three-pointer at the buzzer, tying the game and sending it into overtime. The Bisons defeated ECU 96-93, marking the 400th career win for head coach Jeff Morgan.
“I do get a little reflective with each big milestone,” Morgan said. “You’re just so grateful and appreciative of not only the guys for letting us coach them, but for their parents for sending them our way.”
Sophomore guard Reggie Anthony scored a career-high 25 points against ECU. Anthony said everyone on the team has had to step up since losing senior Andraz Kavas for the rest of the season to an ACL injury. Kavas was averaging 26.4 points per game this season.
“You lose a great player like AK (Kavas) and a lot of people would tend to duck their heads and feel sorry for themselves,” Morgan said. “These guys never once have. They’ve been committed to the process, committed every day to come out and be the best they can be.”
The Bisons finished out their trip with an 82-70 win against Southeastern Oklahoma State University (SOSU) in Durant, Oklahoma, on Jan. 9.
“It’s tough to win two back-to-back on the road,” Anthony said. “You’ve got to steal some on the road and try to win as many at home as you can.”
After the two wins in Oklahoma, senior guard Jacob Gibson was named Great American Conference (GAC) Player of the Week for week nine of the 2015-16 season. Gibson reached the 20-point mark in both games and set a career high of six assists against SOSU. Gibson said his success comes from dedicated practice and encouragement from his teammates.
The Bisons came home to split their next two games. On Jan. 14, they defeated University of Arkansas at Monticello 78-64 making it their fifth straight GAC win. On Jan. 16, the Bisons fell short in their attempt to take back the lead in the second half, losing to Ouachita Baptist University 62-58.
According to Gibson, playing so many games in such a short amount of time is physically and mentally demanding.
“It’s going to be a busy stretch; practice one day, play the next,” Morgan said. “We know it’s going to be tough every night. This league is really balanced.”
The Bisons earned another road victory on Jan. 18 against the Arkansas Tech University Wonder Boys. The Bisons won 102-83, setting the record for 3-pointers in a road game with 19.
The Bisons are 8-6 overall and 7-2 in the GAC. They are tied for first place with ECU and OBU. They will take on Henderson State University at home tomorrow at 7:30 p.m. in the Rhodes-Reaves Fieldhouse.