GAC Basketball Rivalry – Harding at Arkansas Tech


GAC Basketball harding at ATU

RUSSELLVILLE, Ark. – Arkansas Tech’s Bobby Hatchett made two free throws with less than a second left in the game to give the Wonder Boys a 63-62 victory over Harding in Great American Conference (GAC basketball) action at Tucker Coliseum.

Harding had retaken the lead with five seconds left when Weston Jameson made the first of two free throws. Jameson’s second free throw was short, and Tech raced up the court. Hatchett left his shot short but a whistle as the horn sounded sent Hatchett to the foul line where he made both.

“It was a great game,” said Harding head coach Jeff Morgan. “We put ourselves in position to win and just did not make the plays at the end.”

Harding fell to 9-7 overall and 6-4 in GAC action. Tech improved to 11-6 overall and 6-3 in the GAC.

Harding trailed 32-27 at halftime. Jacob Gibson had 14 points, hitting 5-of-6 from the field, including 4-of-5 from 3-point range.

The Bisons trailed 47-35 with 13:38 left but went on a 16-4 run and tied the game at 51 on a Blake McNair jumper with6:50 left. McNair hit another jumper to put the Bisons ahead, and Harding maintained the lead until Tech’s Marshawn Arnold made a layup with 40 seconds left to tie it at 61.

Gibson led Harding with 17 points. Jameson made four 3-pointers and scored 13, and Hayden Johnson added 10 points.

Hatchett led Tech with 18 points and nine rebounds.

Harding is back in action Saturday at East Central. Tipoff is at 4 p.m. in Ada, Okla.

The Wonder Boys shot 40.0% (22-55) from the field while Harding shot 42.6% (23-54). Harding’s 11 three-point baskets helped them stay competitive to the end. The Wonder Boys capitalized on 10 steals to score 20 points off turnovers and four points off fast-breaks.

Arnold and Tyler Friedel went a combined 11-of-15 from the field to each score 14 points, with Friedel going 4-for-6 from three-point land. Hatchett added a team-high nine rebounds to finish one point shy of a double-double (18pts, 9rebs). Kendell Pinkney contributed with five assists, two steals, and two points.

The Wonder Boys will return to action on Sunday, January 26 in Durant, Oklahoma to face Southeastern Oklahoma. Tip-off is scheduled for 4:00 p.m.

In the women’s game, senior forward Kristen Celsor scored 24 points to lead the sixth ranked Harding women’s basketball team to an 87-52 win at Arkansas Tech on Thursday in Great American Conference action. The Lady Bisons improved to 18-0 overall and 10-0 in the GAC.

It’s the second straight year, Harding has won 10 conference games. The Lady Bisons were 14-6 in the GAC last season. It is the only two times Harding has won 10 conference games since joining the NCAA in 1997.

Arkansas Tech suffered its worst home loss in program history and fell to 8-7 overall and 4-5 in conference play. Harding is now 2-1 in Russellville over the last three years.

“Coach Wilburs does a great job of preparing his teams and they have some young girls that are going to get better,” Harding head coach Tim Kirby said. “It was a good win. We don’t put a lot of thought into records, but if you get a win here you have to be happy with it.”

Celsor made her 500th career field goal in the game as she went 10-of-14 from the field. She also made two 3-pointers. Junior forward Arielle Saunders captured her 21st career double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds.

The Lady Bisons had 11 steals led by junior guard Shana Holmes who had four. Holmes also finished with 13 points, hitting 4-of-9 field goals.

Harding broke the game wide open in first 10 minutes of the game. The Lady Bisons went on a 16-4 run as they held Arkansas Tech to 2-of-7 from the field and forced four turnovers. Harding kept building on their lead as they finished the last 8:26 of the first half on a 22-1 run as they held the Golden Suns to shooting 0-of-14 from the field and forced five more turnovers. Harding led at the half 47-19.

The Lady Bisons shot 65 percent from the field in the first half making 17-of-26 and four 3-pointers.

“Defensively, Arielle was just a presence inside,” Kirby said. “She made them shoot it into her hands a few times and that gets in your head.”

Harding forced 16 Arkansas Tech turnovers in the game.

“We executed well and outran them down the floor several times and got layups,” Kirby said.

Harding dominated the paint outscoring Arkansas Tech 40-20.

Arkansas Tech was led by junior forward Jacinda Myers-Sanders who had 14 points.

Harding held the Golden Suns to shooting 3-of-19 from behind the 3-point line.

The Lady Bisons will wrap up their three game road trip on Saturday as they travel to Ada, Okla., to face East Central at 2 p.m.

Tags: , ,