CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (Harding) – Harding sophomore Hayden Johnson scored 22 points before fouling out to lead the Bisons to a 68-63 upset victory over NCAA Division I Southeast Missouri State on Monday at the Show Me Center. It is Harding's only exhibition game before opening regular season action next Tuesday at Christian Brothers in Memphis.
Southeast Missouri State was picked to finish sixth of nine teams in the Ohio Valley Conference Preseason Coaches' Poll. The Redhawks, coached by Dickey Nutt, finished 10-22 last season.
Harding took advantage of poor shooting by Southeast Missouri State in the first half to build a lead of as many as 19 points at 26-7 with 7:42 left. The RedHawks trimmed the Bisons' lead to eight, but junior DeAntra Scott hit a layup on Harding's last possession of the half to give the Bisons a 33-23 lead at the break.
Harding led by as many as 12 in the second half, but Southeast Missouri State cut the lead down to two on a Lucas Nutt 3-pointer with 2:01 left in the game. The Bisons made 6-of-8 free throws down the stretch to seal the victory.
Harding played the game without starting senior forward Kirk Porter, who has been slowed by a foot injury in the preseason. The Bisons' three post players who did see action turned in strong performances.
Johnson, a native of Phoenix, Ariz., connected on 7-of-11 shots, made 3-of-5 3-pointers and all five of his free throw attempts. He fouled out with 5:14 left in the game. His season-high as a freshman was 14 points against Delta State.
Harding junior center Zach Roddenberry had a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds, and junior forward Lance Cannon had four points on 2-of-3 shooting.
Scott and junior guard Bradley Spencer were also in double figures with 11 points each.
Sophomore forward Tyler Stone, a transfer from the University of Missouri, led Southeast Missouri State with 18 points and 12 rebounds.
Harding shot 44 percent from the field and made 6-of-17 (35%) 3-pointers. Southeast Missouri State shot only 33 percent, including 3-of-13 (23%) from 3-point range.