Halloween is over, and the holiday season is already in full swing. Not only is it the most wonderful time of the year (in my opinion) because of Thanksgiving and Christmas, but also because of the sports.
The fall seasons are wrapping up and basketball season is kicking off- that is something to be excited about. Do not get me wrong, football is one of my favorite sports, but basketball is what I am most looking forward to.
The energy of the Bisons and Lady Bisons is hard to describe unless you see it in person. The Rhodes-Reaves Field House has an energy all of its own.
The student body crammed together, filling the bleachers like sardines, cheering at the top of their lungs — that is one of my favorite things about my time here. I not only love the players on the court but the energy of the crowd. The atmosphere is on another level come basketball season.
Coming together for an entire season and cheering for both men’s and women’s teams is unique to basketball because of their longer seasons. Basketball will always have the overlap of starting training and competition with fall sports and then playing well into the spring season. Don’t forget about playing on all the regular breaks like Thanksgiving and Christmas.
I think that is a big reason why I like basketball so much. They truly do spend an incredible amount of time out there compared to other teams.
Last season being their best season in history, the Lady Bisons went 31-4, 35 games over the course of five months. The men also played 27 games. A “typical” season, if you make it to conference, consists of around 27 games.
So in order to kick off the season, here are my top five basketball moments from my time at Harding:
5. Feb. 25, 2016-Harding Lady Bisons beat East Central University (ECU) 70-63 at home:
Harding was down at half time 37-27 on senior day. It came down to the fourth quarter where the Lady Bisons outscored ECU 25-16. Even though Kaylee Wiedower was the only senior, many other players stepped up to make the win possible. Sydney Layrock scored 27 points.
4. Jan. 31, 2014-Harding Bisons beat Southern Arkansas University 75-71 at home:
This game was one of my favorite comebacks by the men’s basketball team. The crowd was packed in the bleachers. We rallied from 12 points down in the second half. Going 6 for 6 on free throws is what gave the Bisons the edge in this game.
3. Feb. 15, 2016-Harding Bisons beat Arkansas Tech University 79-76 at home:
Harding was leading the first half of this game but then got in to foul trouble. The Wonder Boys took advantage of this and were up by 2 at half time. The first possession of the second half, Blake McNair scored a 3 and set off the Bisons. Reggie Anthony and McNair really sealed the deal down the stretch, scoring at key times. Beating Tech in a close game is always a fun win, especially at home.
2. Feb. 15, 2016-Harding Lady Bisons upset No. 15 Arkansas Tech 82-79 in 2 OT at home:
This win was so exciting because it was close the entire game. Each one of the Lady Bisons showed up and contributed, both starters and bench alike. It was Harding’s first win over a ranked opponent since the Lady Bisons defeated the Golden Suns 74-61 in January of the previous year. It was the eighth time in program history Harding had beaten a Top-15 team.
1. March 13, 2017-Harding beats No. 6 Emporia State University 58-56 at home:
The most exciting game I’ve been to in the Rhodes-Reaves Field House was last year in the regional conference finals. Harding trailed the entire game and was down by as many as 18 points in the third quarter. We had three women scoring in double figures. In addition to all this, the win meant Harding had won 30 games for the first time in program history, 16 straight and 24 of its last 25 games. The Lady Bisons finished 15-0 at home and tied a school record with their 17th straight home victory.