JHS alum Jacob Gibson has 11 points as #25 Harding wins home opener
SEARCY, AR (HardingSports.com) - Harding sophomore Andraz Kavas scored 20 points, pulled down 10 rebounds, and hit a key 3-pointer down the stretch to lead the 25th-ranked Bisons to a 70-66 victory over Christian Brothers on Thursday at the Rhodes Field House.
It was the 38th straight victory in a home opener for Harding, who goes on the road Saturday to take on 17th-ranked Northeastern State in Tahlequah, Okla.
"I thought both teams played really well," Harding head coach Jeff Morgan said. "We made some shots at the end, and we got some defense stops that we needed to finish the game on a run."
Kavas tied the game for the 12th time with a pair of free throws at the 2:38 mark. He then put Harding ahead for good with a 3-pointer from the top of the key that gave the Bisons a 67-64 lead.
Christian Brothers (1-1) scored only two free throws the rest of the way, and Harding senior Hayden Johnson made three free throws in the game's final 26 seconds to secure the victory.
"It is a great rivalry we have between us and Christian Brothers," Johnson said. "Even though we aren't in the same conference any more, we still usually battle them twice a year. We knew this was going to be a tough game."
Kavas made 4-of-7 from the field and 10-of-14 free throws. Weston Jameson added 16 points, and Johnson had 15 points and nine rebounds. Sophomore Jacob Gibson made his first career start and tied his career high with 11 points.
"Andraz had a great summer, and you could see him gaining more and more confidence," Morgan said. "And our guys are gaining more confidence in him and getting him the ball."
Harry Green played 39 minutes and led Christian Brothers with 21 points. Trey Casey made four 3-pointers and scored 18 points, and Cory McArthy added 12 points.
Harding led 32-29 at halftime, and held off Christian Brothers by shooting 63 percent (12-of-19) in the second half. The score was tied six times and there were six lead changes after the break.
"In the second half, we did a great job of taking care of the basketball and getting the ball to Andraz (Kavas) and Hayden (Johnson) in positions where they could do something with it," Morgan said.
Christian Brothers made nine 3-pointers to Harding's six, but the Bisons outscored the Bucs 16-7 at the free throw line.