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Cotton Blossoms, Boll Weevils Coming to Town

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The road has finally led the Arkansas Tech basketball teams back to Tucker Coliseum. After sweeping its first two Gulf South Conference doubleheaders of the 2010-11 season away from home, Arkansas Tech University will host the University of Arkansas at Monticello for a twin bill in Russellville on Saturday, Jan. 15. The nationally fourth-ranked Golden Suns (13-1 overall, 2-0 GSC) will take on the UAM Cotton Blossoms (6-8, 2-0) in a match-up of first-place teams at 4 p.m. The Wonder Boys (11-3, 2-0) will put their share of first place in the GSC West men’s standings on the line against the UAM Boll Weevils (9-5, 1-1) at 6 p.m. Tickets will be available at the door. Those with a valid Tech identification will be admitted free, as will all girls age 12 and under who participate in a free National Girls and Women in Sports Day clinic at the Hull Physical Education Building beginning at 2 p.m. Saturday. Arkansas Tech’s women have not played at Tucker Coliseum since Dec. 29, when they defeated then 22nd-ranked West Texas A&M 75-63. Since then, the Golden Suns have hit the road for an in-region victory over St. Edward’s University and GSC wins over Henderson State and Christian Brothers. “We should have a big crowd on Saturday,” said Tech women’s basketball head coach Dave Wilbers. “Our team and the men’s team have both been on the road for a while, and it’s time to play some home games. It should be a fun doubleheader.” Arkansas Tech enters Saturday tied with UAM and nationally top-ranked Delta State (14-0, 2-0) for first place in the GSC West Division women’s standings. Just like the Golden Suns, the Cotton Blossoms own league wins over Christian Brothers and Henderson State. The only difference is that UAM defeated those teams inside its home gymnasium at Steelman Field House in Monticello. Arkansas Tech will carry a 26-game home winning streak into Saturday’s contest. A win over the Cotton Blossoms would put the Golden Suns’ current string of wins at Tucker Coliseum in some rarified air. Tech has had four home winning streaks of 27 games or longer in women’s basketball. The longest was a 61-game streak from Jan. 17, 1987, to Jan. 28, 1991. The Suns also have a 35-game home winning streak (Jan. 11, 1993 to March 8, 1995), a 29-game home winning streak (Feb. 21, 1998 to Feb. 5, 2001) and a 27-game home winning streak (Feb. 13, 1978 to March 15, 1980) as part of their rich heritage. The Golden Suns have won 89.3 percent of their games --- a record of 385-46 --- all-time under the dome of Tucker Coliseum. The Wonder Boys have an opportunity to make a little Tucker Coliseum history of their own on Saturday. When Arkansas Tech’s men defeated Northeastern State 72-64 in their most recent home game on Jan. 3, it marked the 299th Wonder Boys’ victory at Tucker Coliseum. They will go for win No. 300 in the building they have called home since 1976 against an Arkansas-Monticello team that stopped a three-game losing skid by defeating Henderson State 69-56 on Thursday night. “We have the talent in our locker room to play with anybody and beat anybody on our schedule,” said Tech head men’s basketball coach Doug Karleskint after a 59-45 win at 14th-ranked Christian Brothers on Thursday. “Mental mistakes have cost us some games this season, but our focus (at CBU) was unbelievable. We’ll need to do the same things against UAM. We have to pressure the basketball and make them play fast.” The Boll Weevils are 1-3 in their last four trips to Russellville, and the Wonder Boys are 55-11 all-time at home against UAM. Russellville radio station KWKK 100.9 FM will broadcast both games on Saturday. Live audio and live video feeds from the game will be available at