Final Countdown to Postseason Begins This Week

Arkansas Tech University will resume the pursuit of its 26th regular season conference title in women’s basketball and its 12th postseason appearance in the last 13 years in men’s basketball this week.

The Golden Suns and the Wonder Boys will travel to Harding University for a Great American Conference doubleheader on Thursday, Feb. 13, before venturing to the University of Arkansas-Monticello for a GAC twin bill on Saturday, Feb. 15.

Saturday’s games in Monticello are scheduled to begin at 2 and 4 p.m. Follow live coverage on KCJC 102.3 FM and

ATU Golden Suns (14-6, 11-5 GAC) vs. HU Lady Bisons (15-7, 12-4 GAC)
When: Thursday, Feb. 13, 5:30 p.m.
Where: Rhodes-Reaves Field House, Searcy
Radio/Internet: KCJC 102.3 FM/
Series: ATU leads 57-16

About the Golden Suns: Arkansas Tech is tied for third place in the GAC standings with six games remaining in the regular season. The Golden Suns are one game behind co-leaders Harding and Southeastern Oklahoma State University despite having five players out due to injury for much of the season. Freshman forward Sarah Heard and junior forward Lycia Peevy are among those who have increased their production in recent weeks. Heard scored 20 points in a 96-95 overtime loss to Southern Arkansas University on Saturday and is averaging 17.4 points per game over her last seven outings. Peevy notched a career-high 26 points and matched her career high with 13 rebounds on Saturday. She is averaging 12.9 points and 9.1 rebounds in Tech’s last seven games. Junior guards Jayana Sanders (867 points) and Ke’Vonshaye Stackhouse (842 points) are the Golden Suns’ active leaders in career scoring. Freshman guard Kaley Shipman is 15-of-26 (58 percent) from 3-point range over her last six games.

About the Lady Bisons: Harding, preseason favorite to win the 2019-20 GAC women’s basketball title, has surged to the front of the pack with an eight-game winning streak. The streak began with a come-from-behind, 75-71 overtime win at Arkansas Tech on Jan. 16. Senior forward Cheyenne Brown led the Lady Bisons past the Golden Suns with a career-high 28 points and 10 rebounds. Brown is averaging 17.4 points per game during Harding’s winning streak. The Lady Bisons are 10-1 at home this season and 48-6 at Rhodes-Reaves Field House since the beginning of the 2016-17 season, but they are 0-2 in ATU’s last two visits to Searcy. Thursday’s game might very well be won and lost on the glass. Harding ranks No. 2 in the GAC in rebound margin (+7.5 per game). The only team in front of the Lady Bisons in that category is Arkansas Tech (+9.8 rebounds per game). Harding head coach Tim Kirby has accumulated 295 career wins, the same total as Arkansas Tech head coach Dave Wilbers.

ATU Wonder Boys (12-10, 8-8 GAC) vs. HU Bisons (7-15, 2-14 GAC)
When: Thursday, Feb. 13, 7:30 p.m.
Where: Rhodes-Reaves Field House, Searcy
Radio/Internet: KCJC 102.3 FM/
Series: ATU leads 83-61

About the Wonder Boys: Arkansas Tech is tied for sixth place in the GAC men’s basketball standings. The top eight teams in the conference when the regular season ends on Feb. 29 will advance to the GAC Tournament March 5-8 in Bartlesville, Okla. Arkansas Tech took a step toward Bartlesville with a 68-63 win over Southern Arkansas University on Saturday. The performance was the Wonder Boys’ best of the season in terms of field goal percentage defense (.333). Junior guard R.J. Glasper’s 378 career assists are seventh-most in ATU men’s basketball history. With seven more assists, he would supplant Rob Lyall (384 assists, 1990-94) for sixth place on the list. Arkansas Tech defeated Harding 96-87 on Jan. 16 in Russellville. ATU was 16-of-35 (46 percent) from 3-point range. It was the Wonder Boys’ sixth consecutive win against Harding, their longest winning streak against the Bisons since they took seven in a row from 1969-72.

About the Bisons: Harding appears destined to miss the postseason for a third consecutive year. The Bisons are in last place in the GAC, five games outside the cut line to qualify for Bartlesville with six to play. Harding is 10-50 in league play over the last three seasons, and it will enter Thursday’s contest on a five-game losing streak. Junior guard Romio Harvey ranks third in the GAC in scoring (21.7 points per game). He scored a season-high 37 points against Arkansas Tech earlier this season. Jeff Morgan has 428 wins as Harding head men’s basketball coach. Only Don Dyer (601 wins), Bill Vining (520 wins) and Cliff Garrison (463 wins) have amassed more victories while coaching men’s college basketball in Arkansas.