SEARCY – Harding used an outstanding shooting effort on Senior Night to defeat Delta State 100-88 on Thursday night at the Rhodes Field House and put itself in position to earn a spot in the Gulf South Conference Tournament.
Senior Trent Morgan scored a season-high 25 points, connecting on 14-of-21 free throws, and junior Stephen Blake added 23 points to lead the Bisons.
Harding (15-11, 7-6) is currently in a fourth-place tie with Christian Brothers going into its final regular season game Saturday at Ouachita Baptist. The top four teams from each division advance to next week's conference tournament in Southaven, Miss. The Bisons went 1-5 in conference play, but have won four straight GSC games and six of their last seven to remain alive for the fourth seed from the West Division.
The Bisons shot 61 percent in the first half and made seven three-pointers to lead the Statesmen 53-31 at the break. Delta State (18-7, 9-4) scored 57 points in the second half but never got closer than 10 points.
It was only the fourth time since Harding joined the GSC in 2000-01 that the Bisons scored 100 points or more in a conference game. It was the second time Harding reached the plateau against Delta State.
Roderick Ollie, a transfer from Alabama-Birmingham, led Delta State with 25 points. Eric Spencer came off the bench to score 17 and Marqueys Brown had 15 points and 10 rebounds.
Harding made a season-high 36 free throws in the game and tied a season-high with 53 attempted. Morgan's 21 free throw attempts were the most ever by a Harding player in a GSC game.
Morgan also had two steals in the game to move into fourth place in career steals in GSC history with 179.
Junior Sam Brown made four three-pointers in the first half and finished with 14 points off the bench.
Morgan and Matt Garner, the team's only seniors, played their final home games as Bisons.
Harding's tipoff at Vining Arena on Saturday against Ouachita Baptist is scheduled for 5 p.m.