SEARCY – Arkansas-Monticello’s final push to the finish came up just short Thursday night as Harding outlasted the Boll Weevils 74-66.
The Bisons (9-8, 4-3 Great American Conference) jumped out to an early 5-0 lead and thee Weevils (14-5, 4-3 GAC) spent much of the first half trying to stay in the game. UAM was shooting just 18 percent from the floor early in the half, getting down as many as 17 points at 25-8.
The Bisons went on an 18-5 run for over 5 minutes of the half to expand their lead, but the Boll Weevils wouldn’t quit. They slowly chipped away at the deficit until they went into the locker room down 43-37 after Kori Forge hit a last-second three to end the half.
The second half saw the Bisons’ lead climb as high as 14 and get as low as four, but every time the Weevils tried to make a run, Harding would answer with one of its own to re-inflate the lead just out of UAM’s reach.
The Weevils made one last push, however. With 4 minutes to play, the Bisons held a 66-60 advantage following a Ricardo Hall layup. Sergio Crowe hit two free throws to cut the Harding lead to four, 66-62, with 2:55 remaining. Hall put back an L.A. Farmer jumper to pull within a bucket, 66-64, before Harding got another two points at the foul line to break the Weevils’ run. Harding outscored UAM 8-2 in the final 1:49 to seal the win.
The Weevils were led in scoring by Crowe with 19 points. Forge and Hall joined him in double figures with 18 and 12 points, respectively. A.J. Calhoun pulled in a team-high eight rebounds in the contest. Harding was led by Bradley Spencer’s 19 points.
Harding 67, UAM 44
SEARCY — The Cotton Blossoms went ice cold in the second half, handing a 67-44 victory to the Lady Bisons at Rhodes Field House.
Taylor Clark got the Blossoms (5-12, 1-6 GAC) on the boards first, but a 9-0 run by the Lady Bisons (12-5, 5-2 GAC) before the first media timeout gave them the early 11-4 advantage. They carried that lead for much of the half, getting it has high as 11 in the frame, but Channon Haywood sparked a mini 7-3 run to close the half, and Alex Hart finished it with five straight points, to pull the Blossoms within six by the break, 22-28.
The Blossoms cut the lead down to two points after a pair of Hart free throws, but the Bisons surged ahead again with a 10-2 run to reclaim the double-digit lead, 44-34, with 9:40 remaining in the game. The run continued until the Bisons lead grew to 63-34 after a 10:45 minute drought for the Blossoms and a 29-2 run for Harding. Catherine Puckett snapped the streak at the foul line before Candace Virgadamo hit UAM’s first field goal in 13 and a half minutes.
The Blossoms were led in scoring by Catherine Puckett with 10. Taylor Clark pulled in a team-high five rebounds in the contest. Harding was led by Kristin Celsor’s 21 points and 10.
UAM will return to Steelman Field House this Saturday afternoon as it hosts Ouachita Baptist.