Curtain rises: Harding Men's Basketball downs Central Baptist in season opener

From Harding University

Box Score

Harding freshman Tony Cochran scored 22 points in his debut, and senior Zach Roddenberry added 18 as the Bisons defeated Central Baptist 92-71 on Monday in the season opener at the Rhodes Field House.

It was Harding's 37th consecutive victory in home openers dating to the 1976-77 season. Bison head coach Jeff Morgan has won all 20 of his home openers.

Cochran, who made 299 3-pointers during his career at St. John Vianney High School in St. Louis, made five 3-pointers in his first games for the Bisons.

Cochran entered the game off the bench with Harding leading by only three points at 14-11 and 11:50 left before halftime. Central Baptist scored five straight points to take a 16-14 lead.

Then Cochran took over.

He connected on three straight 3-pointers, and freshman forward Andras Kavas followed with another one. Cochran continued his hot streak with a jumper from 16 feet and ended the rally with his fourth 3-pointer to give Harding a 31-21 lead with 5:55 left in the first half.

The Bisons led by more than 10 points the rest of the way.

Harding led 46-31 at halftime and by as many as 23 in the second half.

Cochran made another 3-pointer in the second half. He was 7-of-9 from the field, including 5-of-7 from 3-point range. His 22 points came in only 17 minutes on the floor.

Central Baptist (1-4), an NAIA school located in Conway, Ark., struggled from the field. The Mustangs shot only 34 percent but went 34-of-46 (69.6 percent) from the free throw line.

Roddenberry made 6-of-10 shots and scored 14 of his points in the second half. Junior Hayden Johnson scored 13 points, and senior Bradley Spencer had 12 points and led the team with both nine rebounds and five assists.

Harding shot 43 percent from the field and made 10 3-pointers. The Bisons were 24-of-30 (80 percent) at the free throw line.

Central Baptist's Xavier Lindsey scored 11 of his team-leading 17 points at the free throw line. Spencer Caraway added 14.

The game was the first of six straight at Rhodes Field House to open the season for the Bisons. The home stand continues Saturday at 5 p.m. against NCAA Division II foe St. Edward's.