Harding jumped out to a big halftime lead and held on for a 75-71 victory over Central Missouri in the opening round of the Central regional in Mankato, Minn. Central Missouri struggled from the field shooting just .366 from the field as Harding shot .491 on the night.
Harding jumped out to a 13-2 lead early after UCM scored the first two points of the game. Harding’s lead would get as large as 16 points and they led 44-31 going into the break. UCM would open the second half on a 10-2 run that would cut the HU lead to just five points. UCM would then battle back to tie the game with 9:33 and take their first lead just seconds later. The two teams would battle back and forth and UCM would lead by two points with three minutes remaining. HU would outscore UCM 10-4 over the final two and half minutes however to emerge with the victory.
For the Mules Widgett Washington led the way with 17 points puling down six rebounds and dishing three assists. Matt Webb also added 17 points and Dominique Long finished with 15 points overall. Lance Beckwith led the way on the glass pulling down eight rebounds while Reggie Stallings added seven boards.