ADA, Okla. (Harding) - Harding's Jacob Gibson set a school record with nine 3-pointers and scored 35 points, but a 3-pointer by East Central's Chris Fisher with 20 seconds remaining broke a tie and led to the Tigers 74-69 victory over the Bisons on Saturday.
Harding fell to 9-8 overall and 6-5 in Great American Conference play. The Bisons return to Rhodes Field House on Thursday to host Southern Nazarene. East Central improved to 11-6 overall and 8-3 in the GAC. The Tigers are alone in second place in the conference standings.
"It was a typical GAC game," Harding head coach Jeff Morgan said. "Every possession was a battle."
Gibson's record-setting ninth 3-pointer tied the game at 69-69 with 1:43 left. Both teams failed to score on their next possessions, but Fisher made his 3-pointer and Harding missed on its final possession. The Bisons were forced to foul Brandon Lucas, who made two free throws to ice the game.
Harding trailed by as many as 11 points, 55-44, with 11:54 left in the game. The Tigers led 59-50 with 8:51 left, but the Bisons went on a 9-0 run and tied the game at 59 on a Blake McNair jumper with 5:29 left. East Central scored the next five points and held the lead until Gibson's 3-pointer.
Gibson connected on 9-of-17 3-pointers. His 35 points were one off of his career high of 36 set earlier this season against Henderson State. He made eight 3-pointers in that game.
Gibson's long-range prowess kept the Bisons in the game. Harding scored only four points in the paint, all in the second half.
"Jacob really rose to the occasion and hit some big shots," Morgan said.
Five different players scored 10 or more points for East Central. Lucas led the Tigers with 15 points. East Central scored 24 points in the paint and shot 51 percent from the field.
"East Central's game plan was to drive it to the rim," Morgan said. "They did a great job of pushing it in transition and playing very physically."
Will Francis added 15 points for Harding.