Ishmael Donzo's slam dunk and subsequent free throw with 7.7 seconds remaining gave East Central University a 76-73 victory over Arkansas Tech University in Great American Conference men's basketball at the Kerr Activities Center in Ada, Okla., on Thursday night.
With the loss, the Wonder Boys (20-5 overall, 16-5 GAC) fell out of a tie for first place in the GAC standings going into the final day of the regular season on Saturday, Feb. 25.
"It felt like a high-level game in here tonight," said Arkansas Tech head coach Chad Kline. "We weren't great by any means, but I felt like we were good enough to win. The difference in the game was rebounding. (ECU) is too good offensively to give them multiple opportunities."
The Tigers (20-7, 16-5) out-rebounded the Wonder Boys 51-36 and finished with 17 second-chance points.
The first half was marked by a piece of Arkansas Tech history. Grant Prusator's 3-pointer at the 11:21 mark of the opening period was the 297th made trey of the season for the Wonder Boys, breaking the school record of 296 3-pointers in a season set by the 1994-95 Arkansas Tech men's basketball team.
That 3-pointer also staked the Wonder Boys to a 22-10 lead. East Central chipped away and took a 37-36 lead on a pair of Donzo free throws with 24.2 seconds left in the half. Justin Graham answered with a 14-foot jumper with three seconds showing to send Tech to halftime with a 38-37 edge.
It remained close throughout the second half. Trevin Woods' eighth 3-pointer of the night gave the Wonder Boys a 73-69 lead with 2:02 remaining, but those turned out to be their final points of the night.
Put-back baskets off offensive rebounds by Aly Hudgins and Braxton Reeves pulled the Tigers even at 73-73 with 52 seconds left, and Donzo's 3-point play in the closing moments gave them the win.
Tech was fouled on the floor before it could attempt a game-tying 3-pointer, and time ran out on the Wonder Boys' 11-game winning streak.
Woods finished with a season-high 26 points. Tech's Bennie Lufile notched 14 points and 13 rebounds for his eighth double-double of 2016-17.
Reeves had 17 points for East Central, which moved into a tie for second place in the GAC standings alongside Arkansas Tech.
The Wonder Boys will close out the 2016-17 regular season when they visit Southeastern Oklahoma State University for a 3 p.m. GAC contest at Bloomer Sullivan Arena in Durant, Okla., on Saturday, Feb. 25.
Radio station KCJC 102.3 FM and www.arkansastechsports.com will have live coverage.