Live Blog: Wonder Boys vs. West Georgia

Men’s First Round
#2 Arkansas Tech vs. West Georgia
2:45 p.m.
Friday, March 5
DeSoto Civic Center – Southaven, Miss.

8:24 a.m. — Good morning from Southaven! The Wonder Boys will open defense of their GSC Tournament championship at 2:45 p.m. today against the West Georgia Wolves. Arkansas Tech comes in with an overall record of 26-1, a No. 2 national ranking and the No. 1 spot in the NCAA Division II South Region. West Georgia is 13-14 overall and the No. 4 seed from the GSC East Division.

8:30 a.m. — The Wonder Boys are 4-2 all-time at the GSC Tournament. Tech lost its GSC Tournament debut in men’s basketball when West Florida defeated the Wonder Boys 70-57 in 2000. The Wonder Boys did not return to the postseason untiil 2008, when they beat Alabama-Huntsville 65-49 for their first-ever win in the GSC Tournament. Harding ended Tech’s run in 2008 with a 73-51 win over the Wonder Boys in the quarterfinal round. Tech defeated North Alabama (82-66), Harding (73-63) and Valdosta State (79-66) on its way to winning the 2009 GSC Tournament championship.

8:38 a.m. — Here are all the final scores from round one of the GSC Women’s Basketball Tournament on Thursday: Valdosta State 64, Christian Brothers 49; Arkansas Tech 87, West Florida 64; Harding 73, North Alabama 66; Delta State 85, West Alabama 57. Arkansas Tech will face Harding at 12:30 p.m. Saturday and Delta State will take on Valdosta State at 2:45 p.m. Saturday in the women’s semifinals. Click here to view the GSC Women’s Basketball Tournament Home Page.

8:40 a.m. — Other first-round games in men’s basketball action today at the GSC Tournament: Arkansas-Monticello vs. Valdosta State, 12:30 p.m.; North Alabama vs. Delta State, 5:30 p.m.; and Harding vs. Alabama-Huntsville, 7:30 p.m. Click here to visit the GSC Men’s Basketball Tournament home page.

8:42 a.m. — Remember to tune in to a live broadcast of the Arkansas Tech-West Georgia game on Russellville radio station KWKK 100.9 FM this afternoon. Pre-game coverage will begin at approximately 2:35 p.m. Click here to access an Internet stream of the broadcast.

8:44 a.m. — We’ll be back with regular updates beginning at around 2 p.m. In the meantime, click here to read a preview of the Arkansas Tech-West Georgia game.

2:05 p.m. — Back with you courtside now at the DeSoto Civic Center in Southaven. Valdosta State leads Arkansas-Monticello 71-59 with 3:20 remaining in the first game of the day. Arkansas Tech and West Georgia will follow this one.

2:21 p.m. — Valdosta State has advanced to the semifinals with a 74-61 win over Arkansas-Monticello. All-America forward Tyrone Curnell had 20 points and 13 rebounds for VSU. The nationally seventh-ranked Blazers will take on the winner of Arkansas Tech/West Georgia in the semifinals at 5:30 p.m. Saturday. Stand by for starting line-ups for the Wonder Boys’ game. Tip-off scheduled for approximately 2:45 p.m.

2:46 p.m. — A small delay as the net on the goal that West Georgia will be shooting at in the first half has come loose. DeSoto Civic Center personnel currently repairing it. Stay with us for tip-off.

2:55 p.m. — The net is fixed! Revised tip-off time is 3 p.m.

3:00 p.m. — Tech starters: Marcus Pillow, Brandon Friedel, Irvin Humphrey, James Causey and Jeremy Dunbar.

3:06 p.m. — UWG starters: Vojin Svilar, John Pringle, Brett Seljak, Jeremy Smith, Gavin Field.

3:11 p.m. — Marcus Pillow scores the first eight points of the game, James Causey adds a bucket and Tech leads 10-2 with 15:21 left in the first half.

3:17 p.m. — Tech leads 18-4 with 12:57 to go in half.

3:21 p.m. — Pillow is 3-of-3 from 3-point range and has 11 points. West Georgia just 1-of-11 from the field. Tech in front 18-4 at the 11:56 mark of the first half.

3:29 p.m. — Three straight 3-pointers from Vojin Svilar keep the Wolves within shouting distance. The Wonder Boys hold a 29-15 lead with 7:39 to go before halftime.

3:37 p.m. — West Georgia is heating up from the perimeter. The Wolves are 5-of-9 from 3-point range, and that has allowed them to cut Tech’s advantage to 34-25 with 3:32 left before halftime. Rebounds now even at 18 apiece.

3:44 p.m. — Tech lead back up to 42-27 with 34.1 seconds left in the half.

3:46 p.m. — Halftime Score: #2 Arkansas Tech 42, West Georgia 27. Brandon Friedel with 15 points and Marcus Pillow with 11 points to lead the Wonder Boys.

3:52 p.m. — Tech is second in the country in turnover margin this season (+6.6 turnovers per game), and the Wonder Boys are taking advantage of that category again today. Tech has committed just four turnovers, while UWG has turned it over nine times. The Wonder Boys hold a 10-3 advantage in points off turnovers and a 12-3 edge in second-chance points.

4:09 p.m. — UWG scores the first seven points of the second half, but Tech comes back with back-to-back layups to make it 46-34 Wonder Boys with 16:12 to go. Timeout UWG.

4:11 p.m. — Tech just 2-of-7 from the field so far in the second half, but the Wonder Boys hold a 46-34 lead at the 15:35 mark.

4:20 p.m. — Another Vojin Svilar 3-pointer, his fifth of the day, helps UWG cut Tech’s lead to 52-44 at the 11:52 mark.

4:28 p.m. — Pillow and Friedel hit 3-pointers to key a 12-2 Wonder Boys’ run. Tech leads 64-46 with 8:48 left. Friedel with 20 points; Pillow has 14.

4:31 p.m. — Pillow with a steal and layup to make it 66-46 Wonder Boys with 7:46 remaining. Tech on a 14-2 run over the last 4:06.

4:39 p.m. — By the time it was over, that Arkansas Tech run was 18-2 over a span of 6:21. Willie Sanders capped it with an 18-foot jumper to make it 70-47 Tech with 5:23 left. It is now 72-52 Wonder Boys with 3:45 remaining.

4:46 p.m. — Tech leads 76-58 with 1:32 left.

4:51 p.m. — Final Score: Arkansas Tech 79, West Georgia 60. Wonder Boys advance to face Valdosta State at 5:30 p.m. Saturday in the GSC Tournament semifinals. More to come soon.

5:12 p.m. — Brandon Friedel scored 24 points, Marcus Pillow matched his season high with 16 points and Renard Allen added 13 points for the Wonder Boys. Check back soon for a full recap here on