Nationally 10th-ranked Southern Nazarene University remained undefeated in Great American Conference play and extended its winning streak to 15 games by defeating Arkansas Tech University 81-75 in men’s basketball action at Tucker Coliseum on Thursday night.
The Crimson Storm (19-1 overall, 16-0 GAC) led 40-27 at halftime and by as many as 16 points in the second half.
The Wonder Boys (14-8, 8-8) made their move after the under eight minute media timeout, reeling off a 14-3 run to cut Southern Nazarene’s lead to 68-65 on an R.J. Glasper 3-pointer with 4:05 remaining.
The deciding play in the game came 26 seconds later when Southern Nazarene’s Noah Starkey grabbed an offensive rebound, made the put-back basket, was fouled and made the free throw.
Micah Speight followed with two free throws at the 3:25 mark to increase the Crimson Storm’s lead to 73-65, and SNU connected on 6-of-8 free throws over the final 1:35 to seal the win.
The offensive rebound that led to Starkey’s 3-point play was part of a 35-21 rebounding edge for the Crimson Storm.
“It felt like when we were making our run, they were getting a put back every time,” said Chad Kline, ATU head coach. “When you are playing from behind, you can’t trade baskets. I thought we were pretty good in the second half, but it wasn’t enough to overcome a poor first half. (SNU) is a really good team. They are so consistent in what they do.”
Starkey matched his career high with 25 points. Jhonathan Dunn notched 17 points for the Crimson Storm, while Chris Stephens established a new career high with 14 points.
Glasper finished with 28 points for the Wonder Boys. It was the 10th time this season that NCAA Division II’s top freshman scorer had 20 or more points in a game. Alex Brown added 15 points and Montrell Williams netted 12 points for Tech.
The Wonder Boys will welcome Oklahoma Baptist University to Tucker Coliseum for a 3 p.m. GAC contest on Saturday, Feb. 10.
Tickets ($5 adults/$3 students and senior citizens) will be available at the door. Faculty, staff and students with their valid ATU identification card will be admitted free of charge.