Harding Bisons Basketball opens season this weekend

From Harding University

The Harding men's basketball team opens the 2010-11 season this weekend at the Christian Brothers Conference Challenge. The Bisons will open the Challenge with LeMoyne-Owen on Friday at 5 p.m. at Canale Arena in Memphis, Tenn. Harding's second game is Saturday at 4 p.m. against Lane College.

ON THE WEB: Live statistics will be available for both of Harding's games in the Challenge courtesy of the Christian Brothers Sports Information Office. Christian Brothers' athletics website is www.gobucsgo.com. Then click on the men's basketball schedule for the link to the live stats.


G – Stephen Blake (5-8, 160, SR)

G – Sam Brown (6-1, 160, SR)

C – Matt Ragsdale (6-6, 220, SR)

F – Kevin Brown (6-4, 205, SR)

F – Kirk Porter (6-5, 210, JR)


1. Harding is coached by Jeff Morgan, who is in his 18th season as head coach of the Bisons. Morgan has a 289-193 record in his first 17 seasons at Harding. Ray Lynn Woods is in his sixth season as Harding's assistant men's basketball coach.

2. Harding returns four starters and eight letterwinners off last season's team that finished 16-12 overall and 8-6 in the Gulf South Conference West Division (4th place).

3. Harding's returning starters include senior forward Kevin Brown (13.8 ppg, 6.7 rpg), junior forward Kirk Porter (10.4 ppg, 4.0 rpg), senior guard Stephen Blake (10.0 ppg, 2.6 apg), and senior center Matt Ragsdale (6.1 ppg, 4.0 rpg).

4. Harding was picked to finish fourth of eight teams in the GSC West Division Preseason Poll. The top four teams in each division advance to the GSC Tournament in Southaven, Miss., in March.

5. LeMoyne-Owen and Lane are both members of the NCAA Division II Southern Intercollegiate Athletics Conference. Both of these games count as NCAA II South Region games which will be used to determine the teams that qualify for the NCAA Tournament at the end of the season.

6. Harding and LeMoyne-Owen have never played in men's basketball. Harding holds a 1-0 series lead over Lane. Harding defeated Lane 107-64 at a tournament in Pensacola, Fla., in 2002.

7. Harding senior forward Kevin Brown enters the 2010-11 season with 96 career blocked shots, just 10 short of Brent Adams (1994-99) school record of 106.

8. Stephen Blake ranks third in Harding history in free throw percentage at 85.5 percent. He connected on 95-of-108 (88.0 percent) free throws last season.

9. Harding is 31-21 since 1957 in season openers. The Bisons won 75-70 at Missouri S&T in last season's opener.

10. Harding's next action is its home opener against Lambuth on Thursday, Nov. 18. The Bisons play five of their first six games to open the season away from Searcy.