SEARCY, AR (Harding) – Harding men's basketball made almost every shot it took in the second half to overcome a 15-point deficit and defeat Arkansas-Monticello on Saturday in Great American Conference play at Rhodes Field House.
It was Harding's seventh straight victory overall and 10th straight at home. With the victory, the Bisons (14-3, 7-2 GAC) moved into sole possession of first place in the conference standings. Arkansas-Monticello (9-6, 4-5) lost for only the second time in its last seven games and fell into a three-way tie for fifth in the GAC.
Harding scored only 10 points in the first half, shooting 5-of-25 (20 percent) from the field. The Bisons did not make a 3-pointer (0-of-7) and did not attempt a free throw. It was the fewest points Harding had scored in a half in the NCAA era (since 1997), and the Bisons trailed 23-10 at halftime. The previous low was 15 points, most recently against Christian Brothers in the 2009 Gulf South Conference Tournament.
The Bisons won that game too.
Defense kept Harding in the game despite the poor shooting in the first half, and in the second half the Bison offense took over the game.
Harding made 76.5 percent (13-of-17) from the field in the second half, hit 4-of-5 from 3-point range and made 17-of-19 (89.5 percent) from the free throw line.
Harding methodically whittled away at the Arkansas-Monticello lead in the second half and cut the lead to 47-46 on a Zach Roddenberry layup with 3:34 left. Following a Boll Weevil turnover and a foul, Roddenberry connected on a pair of free throws to give Harding its first lead of the game with 2:58 remaining.
Junior Weston Jameson, who had a season-high 19 points, made a layup with 1:58 left to put Harding ahead 50-47. Arkansas-Monticello's Josh Gibson then made his third 3-pointer and tied the game.
Roddenberry answered with another layup and was fouled. He made the free throw with 1:13 left that gave the Bisons a 53-50 lead. Harding made four free throws down the stretch to seal the victory as Arkansas-Monticello missed three consecutive 3-pointers in the final minute.
Roddenberry made 9-of-10 from the field and led Harding with 22 points, 16 of them in the second half. Jameson scored 17 of his 19 points after halftime.
The Bisons outscored the Boll Weevils 47-27 in the second half.
Arkansas-Monticello's Kori Forge entered the game as the conference's leading scorer at 21.1 points per game, but made only 3-of-19 shots against Harding and scored only 11 points. He was 1-of-11 from 3-point range. Dayton Mickens also scored 11 points for the Boll Weevils.
The victory gave Harding its third 10-game home winning streak in program history and its first since winning 11 straight in 2002-03.
Harding will play the second game of its current three-game home stand Thursday against Arkansas Tech. Tip-off at Rhodes Field House is at 7:30 p.m.