One thing that we have learned about the men’s basketball team after 12 games this basketball season is that they are fighters. Despite losing back-to-back games against the university of Arkansas at Monticello (UAM) on Thursday and Ouachita Baptist University (OBU) on Saturday, the Bisons did not go down without a fight.
“I thought we did a great job on their inside guys but we couldn’t keep their guards outside of the paint,” head coach Jeff Morgan said in his post game interview with Harding Sports Information after Thursday night’s 84-78 loss,
Both Morgan and junior guard Zach Ward said they felt like their energy was low and that they could not match Monticello’s intense start to the game, resulting in a 20-point lead in the first half.
The Bisons erased a 13-point deficit at the beginning of the second half, sparking a late comeback. With a minute left in the second half, a 3-pointer by Ward cut the lead to 6 points, making the score 79-73.
“We came out in the second half, played a lot better, put up a bigger fight and we put ourselves back in the game,” Ward said. “It was just too big of a hole that we put ourselves in during the first half.”
According to Ward, compared to their performance at Monticello, the first half at Ouachita was one of the best first halves the Bisons have played all season.
They came out with high intensity, and senior guard Will Francis’s 3-pointer put Harding up 42-36 at the half.
The Bisons got themselves back in the game and were still in the driver’s seat with seven minutes left in the game, until missed rebounds led to scores for the Tigers.
With under a minute left in the game, Harding had a chance to tie, but missed two crucial free throws which resulted in a 77-75 loss to OBU.
The Bisons have gained seven new players, and they are experiencing “growing pains” associated with trying to play together and work the new players in with the older players, according to Ward.
“It is a process but we are getting better every day, and we feel that we are getting to where we are finally coming together as a team,” Ward said.
After Saturday’s game against OBU, Harding fell 7-5 overall and 4-4 in the GAC.
On Monday, Jan. 16, the Bisons defeated conference rival Arkansas Tech University (ATU) 92-85 to move into a tie for fifth place in the Great American Conference.
The Bisons next game was against Southern Arkansas University (SAU) in Searcy on Thursday, Jan. 19. Results were not available at press time.