Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Harding Basketball Meets Two GSC East Foes

SEARCY – The Harding men’s basketball team looks to rebound from its first loss of the season with a pair of games against Gulf South Conference East Division foes. Harding will meet West Georgia on Saturday at 1 p.m., and West Alabama on Monday at 7:30 p.m.

ON THE WEB: Live statistics for both games will be available on HardingSports.com. Click on the LIVE STATS link below the game on the calendar on the front page.

Harding enters the weekend with a 3-1 record after dropping an overtime contest at Northeastern State on Saturday. The Bisons fell 82-80 despite receiving a career-high 19 points from sophomore Bradley Spencer in his first start of the season.

Through four games, Harding is the top free throw shooting team in the conference, hitting 76.6 percent from the foul line. The Bisons have made 28 more free throws than any other team in the conference.

West Georgia enters Saturday’s game with a 2-1 overall record. The Wolves have won both of their home games, 73-72 over Southern Polytechnic and 79-66 over Morehouse. UWG’s loss was a 66-59 defeat at Christian Brothers.

West Alabama has a 3-1 record with all three wins coming at home. The Tigers lost 79-58 in a road game at Division I Jacksonville State. UWA is coming off a 104-65 win over Concordia-Selma.

Harding is coached by Jeff Morgan, in his 18th season as head coach of the Bisons. He has a 292-194 record at Harding. Michael Cooney is in his fourth season as head coach at West Georgia. He has a 38-48 career record. Eddie McCarter is also in his fourth season as head coach at West Alabama. He has a 39-47 record with the Tigers. McCarter coached 14 seasons at Texas-Arlington prior to coming to West Alabama.

Harding and West Georgia will be meeting for just the third time. West Georgia defeated Harding 78-77 at the GSC Tournament in 2004, and Harding won last season’s meeting 83-54 in Searcy.  Kevin Brown led Harding with 20 points in the game, and Stephen Blake came off the bench to score 15.

Harding and West Alabama are also meeting for the third time. West Alabama won last season’s meeting 52-46 in Searcy. Harding’s win was an 82-56 victory over West Alabama in the 2009 GSC Tournament.

Seniors Stephen Blake and Kevin Brown lead Harding in scoring after four games. Both are averaging 15.3 points per game. Sophomore Bradley Spencer, who missed the first two games with an injury, is averaging 14.0 points per game and scored a career-high 19 points in his last outing.

Blake ranks second in the GSC in assist-to-turnover ratio. He has 16 assists and only four turnovers for a 4.0 assist-to-turnover ratio.

Harding has made more free throws through four games than its opponents have shot. The Bisons have made 111-of-145 free throws, while opponents are only 62-of-100. Harding has made 19 or more free throws in every game this season. Bison opponents have not made more than 17 free throws in a game.

Harding has outrebounded its opponents in each game this season and ranks fourth in the GSC with a +7.2 rebound margin.

Kevin Brown is only six blocked shots away from becoming Harding’s career leader. Brown has 100 career blocks and trails only Brent Adams (1994-99) who had 106.

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