Boll Weevils Top Wonder Boys in GAC Semis

A 10-0 run late in the second half propelled the University of Arkansas-Monticello to an 88-79 victory over Arkansas Tech University on Saturday night in the men’s semifinal round of the Great American Conference Tournament at Bruin Fieldhouse in Bartlesville, Okla.

The surge gave the Boll Weevils a 78-67 lead with 3:54 remaining. Karim Mawuenyega knocked down a 3-pointer with 1:03 left to make it 83-73 in favor of UAM, and the Weevils made 5-of-6 at the free throw line over the final 43.4 seconds.

“There were a couple of times late in shot clocks…I don’t know how many 3-pointers (UAM) hit late in the shot clock,” said Chad Kline, ATU head coach. “That, and there was a stretch of about five minutes when our playmakers looked timid. Our free throw shooting was horrendous. You can’t come into a high level game against an opponent as good as them and go 11-of-20 at the free throw line.”

UA-Monticello, which came into the game averaging 5.9 made 3-pointers per game, was 8-of-11 from beyond the arc in the second half alone on Saturday night.

Mawuenyega finished with 23 points for the Weevils, while Cobe Goosby notched 22 points.

Justin Graham paced Arkansas Tech with 19 points. Alex Brown and Bennie Lufile contributed 14 points and eight rebounds apiece. Montrell Williams finished with 10 points.

With the win, the Boll Weevils (23-5) advance to face East Central University in the GAC Tournament championship game at 3:30 p.m. on Sunday, March 5. UAM and ECU were regular season co-champions of the GAC.

The Wonder Boys (21-7) must wait until the announcement of the NCAA Division II Tournament field on Sunday night to learn if their season will continue or not.

Arkansas Tech was No. 7 in the NCAA Division II Central Region rankings entering the GAC Tournament. Only eight teams will be invited to the NCAA Division II Tournament Central Regional.