North Arkansas rematch scheduled for Saturday in Harrison
By Chuck Livingston Sports Editor
The road proved to be unkind to Arkansas State University Mid-South over the weekend. The Greyhounds hit the road a much-anticipated contest with Arkansas Baptist, who had dealt ASU Mid-South a 102-97 loss on January 9, in a game that the Greyhounds controlled until late in the contest. However, the Buffalo were ready for the rematch. The home team won 118-84 after leading by 12 at halftime. “We stayed in foul trouble the entire game, despite playing zone defense,” explained ASU Mid-South head coach Chris Parker. “What cost us the win was our inability to be rewarded for playing sound, fundamental basketball.” Before last Saturday’s game, ASU Mid-South had won nine of their 11 outings since the calendar flipped to 2016. ASU Mid-South had been just as impressive on the road as they had been at home in that span, losing only to Northwest Mississippi Community College on January 21, but Arkansas Baptist proved to be a different hurdle. “That was one of the perils of playing at Arkansas Baptist,” Parker said of the game. “We were plenty comfortable playing the game of basketball, just not playing whatever that was in that environment.” Arkansas Baptist is having one of their best seasons in some time under historic Arkansas high school basketball coach Charles Ripley. The Buffaloes are nationally-ranked and have been tough at home. The reason why is no secret to Parker. “They are a very good basketball team with a couple of bigs who can score and they’re surrounded by outstanding shooters,” said the coach of Arkansas Baptist. ASU Mid-South must put this loss behind them quickly as they play their biggest game of the year this Saturday afternoon in Harrison. The task is North Arkansas College, who ASU Mid-South topped in January for the first win in program history over a nationally-ranked team. At stake is the site of the NJCCA Region II playoff game on February 27. If the Greyhounds win, then they will host that opening-round tournament game for the second straight season. If they lose, the teams will split the season series and North Arkansas controls the tiebreaker and would host the game. ASU Mid-South won the 2014 Region II title in Harrison before losing to St. Louis Community College at home that same year. Last season, ASU Mid-South won the right to host the game, but lost to the Pioneers at The Dog House. The Greyhounds are at home on February 15 and February 18, with a 6 p.m. tip-off scheduled for each one.