CLEVELAND, Miss. – Harding battled back from a 29-point first half deficit to within six points in the second half but fell 96-80 to Delta State on Thursday in Gulf South Conference men's action at Sillers Coliseum.
Harding (8-10, 1-5) trailed 36-7 at the 11:21 mark of the first half but scored 14 straight points and trailed only 45-32 at halftime.
An outstanding second half by Harding sophomore Kirk Porter brought the Bisons even closer. A Kevin Brown dunk with 17:18 remaining pulled Harding to within six at 49-43.
Porter, a native of Paragould, Ark., scored 20 of his career-high 26 points in the second half. He connected on 11-of-16 shots and tied for the team lead with eight rebounds. It was the most points by a Harding player in a game this season.
Delta State (14-4, 5-1) answered every Harding run with outstanding three-point shooting. The Statesmen made 15-of-33 (46 percent) from long range, the most three-pointers allowed by the Bisons in a game this season.
Delta State senior Eric Spencer was the most lethal of the Statesmen sharpshooters. He connected on 6-0f-9 three-pointers and scored 24 points off the bench. Spencer was one of five Delta State players in double figures in points.
Senior point guard Chad Akins had 13 points and 12 assists for Delta State.
Harding senior Trent Morgan had 15 points and four assists for the Bisons, and Kevin Brown added 14 points and eight rebounds.
Harding will look to snap its current five-game skid Saturday when the Bisons host Ouachita Baptist for a 7:30 p.m. tipoff at the Rhodes Field House.