Historic performances by Alex Brown and Bennie Lufile lifted Arkansas Tech University to a 91-88 non-conference men’s basketball win in overtime over the Missouri S&T Miners at Tucker Coliseum in Russellville on Saturday afternoon.
Brown scored 40 points — most by a Wonder Boy in more than 11 years — and Lufile collected a school-record 22 rebounds as Arkansas Tech (6-2) improved to 5-0 at home this season.
“Bennie was huge on the glass,” said Wonder Boys head coach Chad Kline. “Rebounding and transition defense were going to be the keys to the game, and he took it to heart. When Alex gets it going, you’d better watch out. (Brown) is in better shape than he was early in the season, and that is allowing him to play more minutes.”
Brown was 16-of-22 from the field, including 7-of-11 from 3-point range.
His 40 points were the most in a single game by a Wonder Boy since Denarryl Rice had 40 points against Lincoln University on Nov. 25, 2005. Brown is the 15th student-athlete in the 102-year history of Arkansas Tech men’s basketball to score 40 or more points in a game.
Eleven of Lufile’s record-breaking 22 rebounds were of the offensive variety. The previous Arkansas Tech men’s basketball record for rebounds in a game was 19, which was established by David Bevis against the University of the Ozarks on Jan. 12, 1995.
Seven consecutive made field goals to begin the game allowed Arkansas Tech to race out to a 17-4 lead with 17:16 left in the first half.
Missouri S&T (7-3) fought back and pulled within three points of the lead at 27-24 with 6:40 to go in the half.
Brown owned the final four minutes of the opening period. He scored 14 points during that span, including four made 3-pointers, and the Wonder Boys stretched their lead to 49-36 at the intermission.
The Miners came all the way back in the second half, taking their first lead of the day at 78-75 with 3:16 left in regulation on an Ervin Sarajlic 3-pointer.
Lufile, who scored 18 points, made 1-of-2 free throws with 12.8 seconds left in the second half to tie the score at 80-80 and ultimately force overtime.
Brown gave the Wonder Boys a lead they would not relinquish by scoring Tech’s first six points in the extra period.
Arkansas Tech maintained its advantage by making 5-of-8 free throws over the final 1:08.
Missouri S&T’s Randy Holmes tried to force a second overtime with a 3-point attempt at the buzzer, but it went off the backboard and off the rim before falling harmlessly to the floor.
Montrell Williams finished with 11 points for the Wonder Boys, while Justin Graham had seven points, 11 rebounds and four assists.
Holmes and Scott Dulan paced the Miners with 15 points apiece.
The Wonder Boys will return to action when they host Southeastern Oklahoma State University for a 7:30 p.m. Great American Conference contest at Tucker Coliseum on Thursday, Jan. 5. A women’s game between Tech and SOSU will begin at 5:30 p.m. Thursday.