The Bisons and Lady Bisons basketball teams played the Arkansas Tech Wonder Boys and Golden Suns Monday, Feb. 13 and the Henderson State Reddies Thursday, Feb. 16.
The men fell to Arkansas Tech 78-59, giving the Bisons their fourth straight loss. They then defeated the Reddies 87-82 to break the streak and get a victory for their final home game. The Lady Bisons defeated Arkansas Tech 64-62 and the Henderson State Reddies 84-58, extending their win streak to 7.
The Lady Bisons had a strong start against the Golden Suns, shooting 56 percent in the first quarter to lead 29-19.
“In the last few games we have made a bigger effort to get off to a better start, and that’s what happened against Tech,” Lady Bisons head coach Tim Kirby said.
The Lady Bisons held a comfortable lead at 58-47 with 4:23 remaining. The Golden Suns then proceeded to go on a 11-2 run on the Bisons in the next 3:20, putting the score at 60-58. A free throw from sophomore center Sydnie Jones, two free throws from senior guard Andi Haney and a free throw from sophomore guard Riley Rose were the only points scored in the last minute of the game. With 5 seconds left and the score at 64-62, Arkansas Tech missed their last shot attempt as time expired.
“We have to get better at keeping a lead,” Haney said. “We had a comfortable lead and then let them get it within two and have a look at a shot.”
Jones led the team in scoring with 17 points. She was followed by Haney and sophomore forward Caroline Hogue with 13 points each. The men’s team followed this game with a loss. While the Bisons had an early lead of 21-15, Arkansas Tech made a 23-5 run up until the end of the second half, putting the Bisons behind 38-26. The Bisons struggled to keep the ball during possessions with nine turnovers in the first half and eight in the second.
“We had some bad stretches of some turnovers that led to some easy baskets for them,” Bisons head coach Jeff Morgan said. “When you give a team, especially as explosive as a team as Arkansas Tech, extra possessions, it just kills you.”
The Bisons improved in their shooting in the second half to 50 percent over shooting 29 percent in the first, but were unable to prevail Arkansas Tech’s offensive attack. Junior guard Tim Wagner scored the team high of 15 points, followed by senior guard Will Francis with 14 points and sophomore guard Filip Medjo added 13 points. In Feb. 16’s game, the Lady Bisons defeated another conference opponent, the Henderson State Reddies to extend their win streak to seven.
The Lady Bisons took charge with a 17 point lead of 46-29 going into the half. They were able to maintain and extend the lead, ending the game 84-58. Hogue led the team in points scored with 16. Junior guard Falan Miller had 14 points, 12 of which were from the 3-point line, and Haney led the team in assists with nine. This victory secured the top spot for the Lady Bisons in the Great American Conference (GAC) tournament in March. The men’s basketball team followed with another victory for Feb. 16. Senior forward Stefan Andelkovic led the team in points with 25 and in rebounds with 11. Wagner added 19 points and Francis added 16. The Bisons had a lead of 13 points with 3:13 left on the clock, but the Reddies went on a 10-0 run to cut the lead to three. Wagner secured the 87-82 victory by making all of his last four free throws.
After the Lady Bisons game, seniors Haney and forward Correy Moyer were honored. After the Bisons’ game, seniors Francis and Andelkovic were honored, ending their time to play in the Rhodes-Reaves Field House. Haney and Francis shared their feelings about playing in the Rhodes.
“It’s easy to want to play at home because we have such a great crowd and support team, especially for girls basketball, and compared to other teams,” Haney said.
Francis had a similar appreciation for the home-court advantage during his career at Harding.
“I want to thank the cheerleaders, band and Rhodes Rowdies for creating a great atmosphere the last four years,”
Francis said. Both teams played Saturday, Feb. 18, at Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia, Arkansas. The women won 49-46, and the men lost 58-88.