(Photo Courtesy: Jeff Montgomery)
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. (Harding) - Senior guard Bryton Hobbs scored 27 points to lead 17th-ranked Northeastern State to a 72-66 victory over 25th-ranked Harding on Saturday night at the NSU Event Center. Both teams were NCAA Division II Central Region Tournament participants a year ago and will meet again on Nov. 30 at the Arkansas Tech Classic in Russellville.
Harding (1-1) lost for the first time this season and had a tough shooting night. The Bisons shot 35 percent overall and made only 8-of-36 (22.2 percent) from 3-point range.
Free throw shooting kept Harding in the game. The Bisons made 18-of-20 (90 percent), while the RiverHawks (3-0) missed 15 free throws and shot only 58 percent (21-of-36).
Harding had all five starters score in double figures led by senior Hayden Johnson's 13 points. Tony Cochran, Weston Jameson and Jacob Gibson each scored 11 points, and Andraz Kavas had 10 points. Johnson and Gibson led Harding with nine rebounds each.
Harding led 9-8 early, but Northeastern State scored the next seven points and led until Bison Nick Mason hit a 3-pointer with 5:43 left to tie the game at 54-54. Northeastern State answered with five straight points before Cochran hit another 3-pointer to cut the lead to 59-57. The RiverHawks made three straight free throws and led by three points or more the rest of the way.
Harding returns home Tuesday to host Champion Baptist at 7:30 p.m.