SEARCY – Harding and Arkansas Tech played the second-highest scoring game in renovated Rhodes-Reaves Field House history Thursday in a 109-104 Wonder Boy win in double overtime.
Tech’s Tony Hall made two free throws with five seconds remaining in regulation to tie the game at 77-77. Harding (2-4) committed a turnover on its final possession, but Hall’s shot at the buzzer missed and the teams went to the first overtime.
Tech (5-3, 3-3) led by as many as six points in the first extra period when Justin Briley hit a 3-pointer with 3:11 left. Harding’s Ramiro Santiago scored five straight points, and Jordan West knotted the game at 90-90 with a three-point play with 33 seconds remaining.
Tech missed two shots on its last possession and the game went to double overtime.
In the second extra period, Tech freshman Cejay Mann made four 3-pointers and scored 16 of the Wonder Boys’ 19 points. His 3-pointer with 2:08 left gave Tech a 102-99 lead. Another 3 with 30 seconds left extended the lead to 105-101, and his four free throws down the stretch sealed it.
Santiago led all scorers with 35 points, a career high and the most by a Harding player this season. He made 10 of 21 shots, including five 3-pointers, and hit 10 of 12 free throws. Romio Harvey added 24 points and hit four 3-pointers. In all, five Bisons scored in double figures. Emir Ahmedic scored 14, Jordan West had 13 and Stetson Smithson added 10.
Mann scored 21 points to lead Tech, who snapped a 15-game road losing streak dating to an 89-87 win at Oklahoma Baptist on Feb. 21, 2019.
“What a classic,” Harding head coach Jeff Morgan said of the game. “Both teams played with great intensity. It’s too bad we could not have fans for that one tonight because they would have seen a great game.”
Harding and Arkansas Tech last played a double overtime game February 21, 1983. The Bisons won that 86-76. The highest-scoring game in the renovated Rhodes-Reaves Field House came on Feb. 11, 1998, a 117-109 loss to Central Oklahoma in the first season Harding returned to the arena.
Harding’s next action is Thursday against Great American Conference Eastern Division leader Southern Arkansas in Magnolia.