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 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.
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.
Sophomore forward Tyler Stone, a transfer from the University of Missouri, led Southeast Missouri State with 18 points and 12 rebounds.