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Key Defensive Play Seals Wonder Boys’ Win

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A blocked shot by Bennie Lufile with seven seconds remaining helped clinch Arkansas Tech University's 78-74 non-conference men's basketball victory over William Woods University at Tucker Coliseum in Russellville on Wednesday night.

The Wonder Boys (4-2) led 74-64 with 2:01 left, but the Owls made it more than interesting with a 10-2 run. Trey Mitchell capped the spurt with a 3-pointer with 20.6 seconds left to pull William Woods within 76-74.

An Arkansas Tech turnover gave the Owls the basketball and a chance to tie or take the lead. William Woods worked the basketball in to Brandon Vice in the low post, but Lufile rejected his jump hook and Tech's Freddy Lee grabbed the defensive rebound.

Lee was fouled and made 2-of-2 free throw tries with 3.7 seconds left to keep the Wonder Boys unbeaten at home this season.

"Bennie is our best post defender," said Arkansas Tech head coach Chad Kline. "I was glad that we got him in that match-up. There are a lot of things that go into winning and losing games, and those are the kinds of big plays you have to make in key situations in order to win."

The Wonder Boys trailed 30-29 at halftime and by as many as nine points early in the second half.

That was when Mason Cline turned the momentum in Tech's favor. He made three 3-pointers in a span of less than three minutes early in the second half. Those treys sparked a 19-5 run that staked Arkansas Tech to a 49-44 lead with 13:47 remaining.

The Wonder Boys maintained the lead the rest of the way to emerge victorious in the first-ever meeting between the two programs.

Alex Brown led Tech with 19 points. Grant Prusator and Lufile finished with 13 points apiece. Lufile added 12 rebounds for his second consecutive double-double. Cline contributed 12 points.

Arkansas Tech hoisted a school-record 40 3-point attempts in the win. Twelve of them went in. The Wonder Boys were 6-of-27 from 3-point range in the first half and 6-of-13 from beyond the arc after the intermission.

Mitchell had a game-high 22 points for the Owls.

The Wonder Boys will visit Missouri Southern State University for a 6 p.m. non-conference contest in Joplin, Mo., on Monday, Dec. 19. Radio station KCJC 102.3 FM and will provide live play-by-play coverage.