Sunday, December 19, 2010

Whistle and a Foul: Basketball Bisons Defeat North Alabama

SEARCY – Harding senior Kevin Brown scored a season-high 32 points and the Bisons shot 54 free throws in an 88-71 victory over North Alabama in non-conference men's basketball action at the Rhodes Field House.

Harding (10-2) made 33-of-42 free throws in the second half as the game's officials whistled North Alabama for 25 fouls after halftime. The Lions had four players foul out of the game and four more with four fouls when the game ended.

Harding's 42 free throws made ranks as the fifth-most in a game in program history, but only the second-most this season. The Bisons made 45-of-51 against Lambuth in November.

Brown made 15-of-21 from the foul line, both career highs, and fell just one point short of his career scoring high. He added a team-best 11 rebounds for his second double-double of the season. Brown scored 33 points against Christian Brothers in the GSC Tournament championship game in 2008.

Brown's 15 made free throws are tied for the sixth-most ever by a Bison. The last Harding player to make 15 or more in a game was Matt Hall, who made 16 against Southern Arkansas in 2007. It was only the fifth time a Harding player shot 21 or more free throws in a game.

Harding held North Alabama (4-7) without to 0-for-7 shooting from three-point range in the first half and led 36-28 at the break.

The Lions closed to within three points, 37-34, with 19:02 left in the game, but Harding used a 9-0 run later in the half to extend its lead to 51-38 with 13:47 left. Thanks in large part to 33 made free throws, Harding led by at least eight points the rest of the way.

Sam Brown made three of Harding's six three-pointers and finished with 14 points. Stephen Blake connected on all 10 of his free throws and had 13.

Warrick Mastin led four North Alabama players with 10 or more points with a team-high 19. Ricky Davison, who had 29 points in the first meeting this season between the two teams, had only 10.

Harding defeated North Alabama 89-87 in Florence earlier this season. The Bisons came from 11 points down with 1:01 left in the game and won in overtime.

Harding will now be off until it opens Gulf South Conference play against Ouachita Baptist at the Rhodes Field House on Jan. 8.

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