Jan. 2, 2007
Eddie Ard netted a season high 25 points, but it was not enough to overcome a ferocious defensive effort by the Kennesaw State Owls, as the Owls dropped the Bisons 66-55.
The Owls forced the Bisons into 17 turnovers, which led to 13 Kennesaw State points. The 17 turnovers were the second most turnovers committed by the Bisons all year long.
"We turned the ball over 17 times, which is six more than we normally do," Head Coach Scott Sanderson said. "We coughed it up, and when you cough it up you give up transition baskets on the other end. Seventeen turnovers in my opinion is way too many."
From the get go, the game became a physical defensive battle with both teams exchanging punches in the first half.
The Bisons and Owls started out slow offensively with the score tied at seven with 12:30 to go, and then it remained tied at 9-9 with 9:39 to go in the first half.
With 7:42 to go in the first half, the Bisons jumped out to their largest lead of the first half at 15-9, but then saw the Owls come back and cut it to a three-point game at halftime with the Bisons leading 30-27.
Things looked good for the Bisons in the first minute-and-a-half of the second half as Eddie Ard came out firing in the second half. Ard scored the first seven points of the second half and gave the Bisons their largest lead of the game at 37-27 with 18:30 to go.
"When we got up by 10, they went to a whole other level as far as effort and energy," Sanderson said. "We did not match that effort and energy."
Kennesaw State then called a timeout at the 18:30 mark of the second half after an Eddie Ard had a steal and lay-up. After the timeout, the Owls went on a ferocious comeback and took the lead 43-42 over the Bisons with 13:17 to go in the game. The Owls outscored the Bisons 20-5 during the six-minute span. The Bisons did not regain the lead for the rest of the game.
Defensively, the Owls swarmed the Bisons all night by long not allowing the Bisons to get into a steady offensive rhythm.
"Whenever games turn into for lack of a better word, a street fight, whenever it comes into that, we have a hard time winning that game," Sanderson said. "We are not tough enough right now to win those kinds of games, and we haven't. Those teams that go to a whole other level intensity wise, we have not won those games."
The Bisons had a chance to take the lead late in the game with the score 55-53, but a Trey Williams three-pointer missed, and Brent Ragsdale got the rebound and went coast-to-coast where he was fouled and connected on both free throws.
Ard finished the game 7-14 from the field, 3-6 from behind the arc, and 8-10 from the free throw line for 25 points. He also had two rebounds and two assists.
"He got in the flow offensively and made some shots," Sanderson said. "He has got to do a better job rebounding the basketball. He has to do more than just score for us. He has to play both ends of the floor and defend people and rebound the basketball."
The Owls put four players in double figures, led by Ronell Wooten with 18 points. Brent Ragsdale added 12 points, Shuan Stegall had 13 points and Andre Morgan had 14 points.
The Bisons will practice on Wednesday in Georgia and then head to Johnson City to take on the East Tennessee State Bucaneers on Thursday night. ETSU lost in overtime to Belmont on Tuesday night by a final score of 75-74.
"There is nothing that we can do about this," Sanderson said. "This game is over with, we have to put this game behind us, and get in here tomorrow and practice and learn from our mistakes."