(Courtesy: Harding Athletics)
SEARCY, Ark. (Harding) - Harding sophomore Jacob Gibson hit the game-winning layup and freshman Will Francis scored a career-high 32 points to lead the Bisons to an 88-86 overtime victory over Southeastern Oklahoma on Monday in Great American Conference action at Rhodes Field House.
The game was originally scheduled for Dec. 7 but poor weather conditions forced the game to be moved to Monday.
With the victory, Harding improved to 7-6 overall and 4-3 in GAC play. It was the Bisons' sixth win in seven games against the Savage Storm in Searcy. Southeastern fell to 4-8 overall and 2-5 in conference. It was the Storm's eighth consecutive loss.
Southeastern's Urald King, who led the Storm with 29 points and 12 rebounds, threw down a dunk with 2:58 left in overtime to give the Storm an 84-79 lead. Harding called timeout, and sophomore John Hudson drained a 3-pointer from the corner to trim the Southeastern lead to two.
Harding cut the Southeastern advantage to 86-85 on two Francis free throws with 52 seconds left. Southeastern's Anton Cook missed a 3-pointer on the Storm's next trip, and Hudson came down with the rebound to give Harding a chance to take the lead.
Gibson got the ball at the top of the key, drove down the right side of the paint, and fought off two defenders to get the layup to go with only six seconds on the clock. Southeastern committed a turnover on its last possession, and then fouled Gibson, who made one final free throw.
Francis made 10-of-21 from the field, including 5-of-11 from 3-point range. He has 11 3-pointers in Harding's last two games. Hayden Johnson scored 15 points before fouling out in regulation, Gibson added 13 points, and Blake McNair scored 10. Senior Weston Jameson did not score but had nine assists and four steals, playing 44 minutes.
Harding shot 44 percent for the game, despite making only 11-of-37 3-point attempts, a school record for 3s attempted in a game. Southeastern shot 52 percent and made 10-of-23 3-pointers and 22-of-27 free throws.
Harding will play its fourth game in a week Thursday when it hosts Southern Arkansas at 7:30 p.m.