Archives for November 2017

3-Point Shooting Makes the Difference for ATU

Eighteen made 3-pointers propelled Arkansas Tech University to an 88-81 men’s basketball victory over Southwestern Oklahoma State University at Tucker Coliseum in Russellville on Thursday night.

The Wonder Boys (5-1 overall, 2-1 Great American Conference) made 12 of their final 20 tries from beyond the arc in the first half, a hot shooting streak that allowed them to turn an early 10-point deficit into a 48-34 Tech lead at halftime.

The Bulldogs (1-6, 0-3) cut the Wonder Boys’ advantage to a single point twice near the midpoint of the second half, but ATU never relinquished the lead. Back-to-back 3-pointers by R.J. Glasper gave the Wonder Boys an 81-70 lead with 2:07 remaining and they cruised to the finish line.

The 18 made 3-pointers were one shy of matching the ATU men’s basketball single-game record. The Wonder Boys hoisted 49 3-point attempts on Thursday night, shattering the previous program record of 40 attempted treys in a game.

“I was nervous because I knew they would play zone defense the entire game, and I thought a lot of our guys’ eyes would light up,” said Chad Kline, Tech head coach. “Forty-nine 3-point attempts in a game has got to be the most I’ve ever heard of. Give credit to Southwestern. They never went away. I’m always happy to get out with a win.”

Mason Cline scored a career-high 26 points for the Wonder Boys. He made 7-of-15 3-pointers and grabbed 10 rebounds. Harris Brown added 18 points, while Freddy Lee and Glasper had 16 points apiece. Lee dished out eight assists.

Devin Pugh notched 21 points for SWOSU.

The Wonder Boys will entertain Northwestern Oklahoma State University for a 3 p.m. GAC contest at Tucker Coliseum on Saturday, Dec. 2. Live coverage will be available on KWKK 100.9 FM and www.arkansastechsports.com.

SWOSU Tops Golden Suns 84-76

Nationally 25th-ranked Southwestern Oklahoma State University heated up from 3-point range in the second half and came back for an 84-76 win over Arkansas Tech University in women’s basketball at Tucker Coliseum in Russellville on Thursday night.

The Lady Bulldogs (7-0 overall, 3-0 Great American Conference) connected on 8-of-14 attempts from beyond the arc after halftime and defeated the Golden Suns (4-1, 2-1) in Russellville for a second consecutive year.

“We tried everything we could defensively,” said Dave Wilbers, ATU head coach. “We played man-to-man, zone, diamond-and-one…they had answers for everything. We missed a lot of two-foot shots we would normally make, but I loved the effort we gave. We’ll continue to get better. It’s a learning process for us. There are a lot of good things we can take away from this game.”

Arkansas Tech led 20-13 after one quarter. A pair of Tyra Aska 3-pointers to begin the second period cut the Golden Suns’ lead to a single point, and the Lady Bulldogs eventually pulled even at 22-22.

That was when Lyrik Williams asserted herself for ATU. She scored six points during a 12-0 run over a span of 2:28 that gave the Suns a 34-22 edge with 3:42 remaining in the half.

Southwestern Oklahoma State cut its deficit to 38-34 at the intermission and carried that momentum over to the second half. The Lady Bulldogs made 6-of-9 tries from 3-point range in the third quarter to take a 61-58 lead to the final quarter.

Arkansas Tech tied the score on two occasions during the fourth period, but Savannah Gray pushed SWOSU in front to stay at 70-67 on a 3-pointer with 4:02 left.

The Lady Bulldogs made 7-of-10 free throws over the final 1:21 to seal the win.

Tech’s Williams finished with a career-high 26 points and 12 rebounds. Jayana Sanders notched 17 points and Kylie Ladd had 11 points for the Suns.

Hailey Tucker and Hayden Priddy scored 17 points apiece for SWOSU.

The Golden Suns will host Northwestern Oklahoma State University for a 1 p.m. GAC contest at Tucker Coliseum on Saturday, Dec. 2. Live coverage will be available on KWKK 100.9 FM and www.arkansastechsports.com.

Live United Bowl Gives ATU One More Game

When it comes to NCAA Division II football, few programs have enjoyed more success than Arkansas Tech University and Pittsburg State University.

Two of the top 12 NCAA Division II programs in all-time wins will stage their first-ever postseason meeting when the Wonder Boys (8-3) and the Gorillas (7-4) collide in the 2017 Agent Barry Live United Bowl on Saturday, Dec. 2, at Arkansas High School in Texarkana.

Kickoff is set for noon. Radio station KCJC 102.3 FM and www.arkansastechsports.com will provide live coverage.

Raymond Monica, head football coach at Arkansas Tech, views the game as an opportunity to test his Wonder Boys against a representative from perhaps the premier NCAA Division II football conference — the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association.

“It’s a good match-up to see where we are relative to the MIAA,” said Monica. “I truly believe that. It’s a measuring stick to see where we stack up in the region. A lot of people have told me that (Pittsburg State) was probably playing the best ball in the MIAA at the end of the year, so I take it that we are playing against a playoff-caliber opponent.”

Success is familiar to both programs. Pittsburg State ranks No. 1 in NCAA Division II history with 704 all-time wins, while Arkansas Tech is No. 12 on that list with 562 all-time victories. The Gorillas have won 31 conference titles and four national championships. The Wonder Boys own 18 conference titles and have advanced to the national playoffs on five occasions.

The series between the two programs is tied 4-4-2. The Wonder Boys held the upper hand early on with a record of 4-0-2 against Pitt State from 1935-49. The Gorillas evened the score by defeating Tech in 1983, 1984, 1985 and in their most recent meeting in 1986. Arkansas Tech’s last win over Pitt State was a 25-13 victory in Russellville on Oct. 2, 1939.

The 2017 Gorillas won their final five games of the regular season, including a 20-10 victory over two-time defending NCAA Division II national champion Northwest Missouri State University. Pitt State’s win ended the Bearcats’ 38-game winning streak.

Senior running back Michael Rose leads a Gorilla offense that averages 222.8 rushing yards per game, which ranks among the top 20 ground attacks in the country at the D2 level. Rose has rushed for 1,003 of those yards.

“Pittsburg State is playing option football out of the shotgun,” said Monica. “(Rose) is a good back, and if defenders take the wrong things on option responsibility he can get right down the sideline.”

Monica is particularly impressed by the way the Gorillas’ defense has played down the stretch.

“When you look at the last five games, they’ve given up seven, 13, 10, 10 and 10 points,” said Monica. “That’s not many points. They are very stout on defense. You can watch all the tape you want to, but when you get out there, play the game and see how your match-ups are…it’s a whole different thing.”

The Wonder Boys are playing in a bowl game for the second time in the last three years. Tech has secured its third consecutive winning season, marking the first time the Wonder Boys have posted such a streak since 2004-06.

Among the statistical strengths of the 2017 Arkansas Tech football team are scoring offense (40.6 points per game, 12th in NCAA Division II), rushing offense (225.4 yards per game, 18th nationally), punt returns (20.57 yards per attempt, third nationally) and turnover margin (+15, fourth nationally).

Monica summarizes the Wonder Boys’ success more succinctly. In fact, he can boil it down to one word: chemistry.

“I hear people talk about bowl practices,” said Monica. “For me, it was about still being around these players, working with them on the field, coaching them and getting ready for a bowl game, which is going to be a great experience for them. It’s not about getting in so many practices. It’s about being around them and to give them an opportunity to play one more game.”

Photographed: Arkansas Tech head football coach Raymond Monica posed for a photo with his Wonder Boys senior players on the occasion of their final home game on Nov. 11. They are: (back row, left-to-right) Stephen Watson, Myron Pruitt, Jerry Ewing, Byron Pruitt, Clayton Watson, Seth Culp, Eric McPherson, Royce Finley, Andrew Craig, Eric Perez, Ty Reasnor; (front row, left-to-right) Brady Barbay, Jarrett Clayton, Toriaun Samuels, Mike Sherwood, Braden Stringer, Tevin McKenzie, J.V. Davis, Joshua Qualls and Carson Ayers.

Save the Date: Homecoming 2018

Arkansas Tech University has announced October 19-20 as Homecoming 2018.

Throughout the two-day celebration, several campus reunions and dinners are slated.

Additionally, university friends will have thee opportunity to reconnect during the annual golf tournament on Friday, the Ladies Luncheon and Champagne Bingo and the Alumni and Friends reception.

Keep watching ArkansasTechNews.com for more regarding Homecoming 2018.

Alumni to Gather for Baseball

Alumni and friends will are invited to join the Arkansas Tech Alumni Association for two spring baseball events:

Friday, April 1, 2018, at Dickey-Stephens Ballpark.
Friday, May 25, 2018, at Arvest Ballpark.

As part of the event, participants will be able to enjoy a buffet of ballpark staples prior to the start of the game.

Visit the Alumni Office website or call (479) 968-0242 for more on ticket costs and event start times.