The Battle of the Bisons(es)


Two schools, one a Division I, one a Division II. Each with a Church of Christ affiliation. Both with founding fathers sporting beards (one of whom looked like one of the guitarists from Z.Z. Top). A shared nickname (what’s the deal with old guys with long beards and their affinity for large, bovine prairie animals?).

It’s the Battle of the Bisons(es). It’s going down.

Or, I should say, it went down last night at Allen Arena on the campus of Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tennessee. Our family made a mad dash north on I-65 last night to witness the first meeting between the Lipscomb and Harding basketball teams since 1976. The teams had previously played 16 times between 1967 and 1976, with each team winning eight games. For the Lady Bisons(es) who played prior to the men’s game, it was their first meeting ever.

The evening got off to a great start for Harding, as the the D-II Lady Bisons from Searcy toughed out a 69-62 win over their city-slicker D-I cousins from Nashville.

I say again, D-II over D-I, with freshman Kelsea Lyda leading the way with 18 points off of six three pointers. As a team, the HU Lady Bisons shot a blistering 45% from beyond the arc and were 14-of-16 from the charity stripe.

Here’s a picture of the Lady Bisons(es) duking it out:


On to the main event. Which as it turns out, was looking pretty grim in the first half of the first half with the LU Bisons streaking ahead of Harding 25-6 with 8:15 left. Harding looked intimidated and uptight early on, as the uber-quick feet and hands of their D-I foes seemed to be more than they could handle.

I think they learned a thing or two about D-I officiating too in those early moments. The way it works is that if you’re a D-I home team, you can launch your body into your visiting D-II opponent with impunity, whereas if you’re a D-II player and so much as brush leg hairs with your taller, stronger, faster D-I opponent, you get whistled for a foul.

Or at least it looked that way to me. Not that I’m biased or anything.

But Harding finally got loosened up a bit and managed to close the gap to 37-28 at the half with a 22-12 run, bringing the large group of Rhodes Rowdies and Harding alumni to their feet.

That’s right, a large contingent of Rhodes Rowdies made a road trip all the way from Searcy to cheer on their squad and to show their Lipscomb counterparts how it’s done. Here’s a shot of the Rowdies doing their thing:


And here’s a shot of the Lipscomb student section:


Notice any difference? I’ll give the Lipscomb crowd one thing though. They finally got their hands up in the air at halftime when the cheerleaders threw out all those t-shirts:

I think somebody needs to get a D-I student section to go along with their D-I team.

(Nah, I’m just kidding you guys. You know I love ya. But you really do need to work on your synchronization. I might also suggest face paint, rather than those preppy baseball caps and ties. Oh, and the whole “keys and the bus” thing at the end? That’s so 90s. Please.)

Halftime brought us a contest of a different sort–the battle of the signs.

Here’s one from a Rhodes Rowdie:


Followed by:


Lipscomb’s response? A sign that read:

“Going to Harding is like being homeschooled in the woods.”

Oooooo, that really hurts. Obviously, someone has never set foot in Searcy, Arkansas.

During the second half, Harding started heating up. A 19-4 Harding scoring run gave them their first lead of the game, 51-50 on a Reggie Bibb layup. When Harding’s Rick Hamilton nailed a trey to give them a 54-51 lead, Lipscomb called a quick timeout, and the Rowdies and sizeable crowd of alumni went completely nuts. Here’s a picture of Harding forward Matt Hall scoring on a back-door play during that run:


Sensing that it might never get this good again, I grabbed a shot of the scoreboard:


Unfortunately, I was right. D-I talent rose to the top after that, with Lipscomb launching a 29-9 tear over the final eleven minutes, closing things out with an 81-63 victory. Harding junior forward Matt Hall lived up to his preseason All-American billing with 25 points, including a perfect 11-of-11 from the line.

Hey Coach Morgan, let’s get Matt some help how ’bout?

A couple of money quotes summed up the evening nicely:

“Harding kept battling. I know why they are picked to win their league. They are very talented. They don’t get rattled. They play very poised.”

–Lipscomb Coach Scott Sanderson

Thanks Coach. You didn’t think we were going to travel all that way and roll over, did you?

And finally these words from a Lipscomb recruiter whispered into the ear of Number One Son prior to the game:

“Here’s the deal. If Harding wins, you go there. If Lipscomb wins, you come here.”

Yeah right. Nice try, Patrick.

All in all, it was a great evening and a lot of fun. I think it’s fair to say that Harding put the fear of, well, Jesus in their D-I cousins. I’m not sure what David Lipscomb and James Harding would say about all this (although I have a feeling), but hopefully they would at least be pleased to know that there was some good fellowship all around.

Hey, Lipscomb, congrats–you guys are pretty good. You can rest assured I’ll be rooting for you against Vanderbilt and South Carolina, but frankly, I hope the Crimson Tide beats the snot out of you in Tuscaloosa.

Oh, and one more thing:

We’ve got football.

  1. Mark elrod

    Tish said she ran into you at the game; thanks for the report.

    Kelsea Lyda is in my 11:00 honors IR class. She’s my favorite lady Bison.

    “Homeschooled in the woods” – that’s a good one.

  2. Mike the Eyeguy

    It was great meeting Tish. Wish you could have been there too.

    We had a very good crowd of alumni there last night. Harding did themselves proud.

  3. shannon

    Enjoy reading your posts. Thanks especially for this one. Looking forward to HU home opener Nov 27.

  4. David U

    Mike, thanks for the coverage! You may have missed your calling. 🙂

    Can we get LSU this weekend? We are sure due a good game, huh?!?!

    God bless you and your family,

  5. Mike the Eyeguy

    Thanks Shannon, I appreciate that. I think the Bisons will do well this year. I plan to see them again in January, at home v. Henderson State.

    I think you’ve got a good point about the volleyball team.


    Hey, where were you? I saw Mike and Dan; all we needed was you and Tom and between the four of you, you guys could have picked the pockets of all those alumni in one fell swoop. 😉

    As for my calling, I’m not done yet. Anybody interested in paying me to blog full time?

    Bama doesn’t have a prayer v. LSU in Death Valley.

    It’s time to start thinking about next year, with or without Shula.

  6. GREG

    As a Hog fan, it would be preferred if you guys could knock off both LSU and Auburn… that would make the next few weeks less stressful for us.

    Although I tend to agree with you, Mike. I just can’t see it happening this weekend. Against Auburn, however, I’m still holding out hope for you guys.

    However, college basketball has begun, and everything seems right again. To quote Lt. Frank Drebin: “I’ve noticed things that I never knew were there before; birds singing, dew glistening on a newly formed leaf, stoplights.”

  7. Mike the Eyeguy

    Greg, we’ll do our best, but don’t get your hopes up.

    Ah yes, the smell of the floor wax…

  8. JRB

    Trash talk makes me happy.

    Go Bison (sic)!

    … and may Vandy shear, gut and tan some Buffalo hide again shortly…..

    Let’s leave the little schools to their Belmont Avenue party, shall we?

  9. Mike the Eyeguy


    Of course, it’s all in the name of the Lord…

    I was really hoping that LU would make The Dance last march and come up against my Dookies.

    Instead, they went to the NIT and fell to a, ahem, more “miner” team.

  10. JRB

    Don’t get me wrong. I have much love for the Bisons on Granny White, and I couldn’t be more proud of their move to the D-I. I just want them to remember that they made that move to play Belmont for money. Good gig, for sure, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves…

  11. Mike the Eyeguy

    Hey, any CoC school that has a Lighting of the Green ceremony (click here) with Amy Grant is pretty cool in my book.

  12. JRB

    And hosting Audio Adrelanine’s last Nashville concert and establishing some pacifist peace institute. Good stuff. Please don’t tell Dutro or Hank B. where our little girls were to go to college if the decision came today…..

    …. seven years from now, we might could have a different conversation…

    (Kidding, DB. Love ya, man!)

  13. Mike the Eyeguy

    Yeah, DB is glued to my blog everyday.

  14. lAURA

    Mike, thanks for the coverage. I saw the final score today but did not know any details. Jamie was there and I havn’t gotten much info yet. She isn’t coming home until tomorrow. I love basketball. I am surprised that the harding fans didn’t chant back we have football. That is a gripe Jamie has even though she is probably going there. She loves it. I am sure she will not have all of the details that you gave us. Thanks again looked like fun.

  15. Mike the Eyeguy

    We saw Jamie!

    I thought about going over to the Rowdies and suggesting a “We’ve got football” chant toward the end, but I figured they might not appreciate some old fogey like me messing in their business.

    Oh well, I guess Jamie could always check out Vandy games. Harding plays a pretty good brand of football, albeit on a smaller scale. We were witness to some impressive bone crunching hits and exciting offense at Homecoming this year.

  16. KS

    Glad to hear HU made of game of it. Hope they play again and we come out on top next time. At least WE”VE GOT FOOTBALL.

  17. Mike the Eyeguy


    I’m all over that one.


    Darn straight! Bring on Rutgers!

  18. derek

    hmmmm…….so i’m guessing you’re a harding supporter??? (sarcasm intended) b/c this blog isn’t at all slanted. (yes, sarcasm again intended)

  19. Mike the Eyeguy

    Who? Moi?

  20. Brandon

    You can take the homschoolers out of the woods, but you can’t take the woods out of the homschoolers… ( some other good signs conveniently ignored: Nashville=music, Searcy=Meth & Searcy Loves WalMart)

  21. Mike the Eyeguy

    How delightful. A Lipscomb student (who I assume shops only at Target) reading my blog and commenting.

    I didn’t “conveniently ignore” the other so-called “good signs.” I just didn’t see them. Bad eyes, don’t ya know.

    Oh, and Brandon, that’s “homeschoolers” with an “e.”

    That’s okay, you hang in there and keep studying.

  22. derek

    days must be drag when you’re having to pick out mispeled wurds in somewons repleye.

  23. Mike the Eyeguy

    Jes’ tryin’ to show that us Hardang homskoolers are purty durn smahutt, derek.

  24. Brandon

    That’s ok, you just keep trying to prove how smart you are. In the meantime, the rest of us will marvel at your tremendous ability to spin the facts – anyone who can make an 18 point loss sound like a triumphant victory must not be missing all his marbles. Oh, and keep bragging about that football team of yours too – then maybe the next time they have a televised game…oh yeah, ok, the next time they play a team anyone has heard of…oh yeah, ok, the next time they play a home game you might have more than 500 students show up to cheer them on.

  25. Mike the Eyeguy

    Brandon, it sounds like you’re starting to veer a bit from the spirit of this post.

    News flash: I don’t have to prove how smart I am (been there, done that); you do.

    Good luck with your ed-you-kay-shun. Seriously.

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