SEARCY, Ark. —
The Harding Bison used a ferocious defensive attack to limit the East Central football team to minus 21 yards rushing — including 10 sacks — and outscored the Tigers 28-0 in the first quarter en route to a 52-30 victory Saturday at First Security Stadium.
With the victory, Harding improved to 7-2 overall and in the Great American Conference and remained tied for second in the conference with Ouachita Baptist. It was the Bisons’ seventh straight victory over the Tigers in Searcy, as ECU dropped to 4-5.
Junior Darious Lane intercepted a pass by East Central quarterback Spencer Bond on the second play of the game and returned it 52 yards for a touchdown. The Bisons also scored two rushing touchdowns on 1-yard runs by quarterback Keenan Kellett and fullback Romo Westbrook to make it 21-0 with 1:02 left in the first quarter.
East Central took over at the Harding 48 on its next possession, but redshirt freshman Daylan Skidmore forced a fumble from Tiger tailback JoJo Snell. Harding junior defensive back Terrell Hill recovered the fumble and returned it 42 yards for Harding's fourth touchdown of the opening frame.
Bond would throw for 266 yards and three scores, all to senior wideout Caleb Holley, who recorded his fourth straight 100-yard receiving game. He finished with seven grabs for 125 yards and is now just 24 yards from breaking the ECU single-season receiving yard record of 930 set by Chris Barnes in 2011.
The Bison totaled 490 yards, with 304 coming on the ground. Westbrook led Harding's rushing attack with 94 yards on 18 carries.
Senior Fred Gaines led the defensive charge for the Tigers, with 13.5 total tackles. Gaines also added five tackles-for-loss for 10 yards.
After Holley scored his first touchdown to trim the HU advantage to 28-10, the hosts scored 17 straight points to forge a 45-10 lead.
The Tigers will play their final game of the season Saturday, traveling to Durant to battle the rival Savage Storm of Southeastern. Kickoff is scheduled for 2 p.m.
Tigers fall to No. 13 Midwestern State
WEATHERFORD — The East Central University men’s basketball team dropped an 81- 67 decision to No. 13 Midwestern State Saturday in the SWOSU Classic.
The Tigers (0-2) were led by senior Colby Carr with 17 points, four rebounds and three assists. Redshirt freshman A.J. Moutry also added a career-best 12 points for ECU.
ECU held its own against the Mustangs (2-0), shooting 40.7 percent from the field to 48.3 percent from MSU. The key difference came beyond the arc, where the Mustangs held a 42.1 percent (8-of-19) to 26.1 percent (6-of-23) advantage.
“Midwestern State is a tremendous program, and they showed it today,” said head coach Ja Havens. “I am proud of the way our guys competed. We just had some crucial mistakes and breakdowns at inopportune times, and you can’t do that against teams of their caliber. We need to continue to work hard and improve every day, which I believe this team can do.”
ECU was trailing 27-21, with 4:24 left in the stanza, when they used a 4-0 run to cut the deficit to two (25-27) over the next minute. However, over the final three minutes the Tigers were held scoreless, while MSU tallied nine points for a 36-25 lead heading into the locker room.
The Mustangs pushed the lead out to as many as 19 in the second half before ECU used an 8-0 run in the middle of the stanza to cut the deficit to seven (63-57). However, that is as close as they would get the rest of the game as MSU rebuilt a 14-point lead and earned the 81-67 win.
The Tigers will now have a week off before playing their first home game of the 2013-14 campaign. ECU will welcome Dallas Baptist to the Kerr Activities Center Saturday at 4 p.m.