On To Magnolia for Golden Suns, Wonder Boys

Arkansas Tech University’s first basketball tour of the Great American Conference will reach its midpoint with a doubleheader at Southern Arkansas University on Saturday, Jan. 28. The nationally 13th-ranked Arkansas Tech Golden Suns (12-3 overall, 4-3 GAC) will face the Southern Arkansas Lady Muleriders (2-15, 2-5) at 5:30 p.m. Game two will pit the Arkansas Tech Wonder Boys (13-4 overall, 5-2 GAC) against the Southern Arkansas Muleriders (11-8, 4-3) for a 7:30 p.m. tip-off. Both games will be played at the W.T. Watson Athletic Center in Magnolia, and both can be heard on KWKK 100.9 FM.

Click here to access an Internet stream of the broadcasts.

Arkansas Tech’s men improved to 5-1 in their last six games with an 82-67 home win over Ouachita Baptist on Thursday. The Wonder Boys made 10-of-23 shots from 3-point range and finished with a 36-13 edge in points off turnovers. The SAU Muleriders lost for the second time in their last three outings when they dropped an 81-69 decision at Henderson State on Thursday. Southern Arkansas led 39-31 at halftime, but the Reddies shot 55 percent from the field and made 14-of-19 at the free throw line over the final 20 minutes to rally for the win. As a result, Henderson State (11-6, 6-1) maintained a one-game lead over second-place Arkansas Tech in the GAC men’s basketball standings. Southern Arkansas, Arkansas-Monticello (14-5, 4-3), Ouachita Baptist (11-6, 4-3) and Harding (9-8, 4-3) are all tied for third place. Arkansas Tech has won eight consecutive men’s basketball games over SAU, but the Muleriders have been the surprise team in the GAC so far this season. Southern Arkansas was picked to finish last in the men’s league race. Now SAU finds itself in the thick of the championship hunt at the midpoint of the league schedule. “It’s so tough to play at Magnolia,” said Wonder Boys head coach Doug Karleskint. “It’s loud and it’s hot. We were lucky to win there two years ago when we were No. 1 in the country. Coach (Eric) Bozeman does a great job. They are mixing it up defensively between their man-to-man and their zone. We just have to go in and control what we can control, which is ourselves.” Arkansas Tech’s women made it 11 straight wins over Ouachita Baptist with a 76-66 home victory on Thursday. Rosie Silva led the Suns with 19 points, 13 rebounds and 11 steals.

Silva’s performance marked the first triple-double in Arkansas Tech women’s basketball history, and it was almost the first quadruple-double by a Golden Sun. She also dished out eight assists. Her 11 steals tied the single-game school record that she set earlier this season against Christian Brothers. With the win, Arkansas Tech pulled into a three-way tie for third place in the GAC women’s basketball standings. Southwestern Oklahoma State (12-5, 7-1), which will be idle on Saturday, sets the pace. Harding (12-5, 5-2) is in second place, followed by Arkansas Tech, Ouachita Baptist (11-6, 4-3) and Henderson State (11-6, 4-3). Southern Arkansas lost its first 13 games this women’s basketball season, but the Lady Muleriders have bounced back with two wins in their last four games. They went on the road and stunned Henderson State 74-68 on Thursday. The big difference for SAU has been the return of Kmaria Hobbs, a senior post player who rejoined the Lady Muleriders’ active roster at the end of the fall semester. She has averaged 16.9 points and 5.9 rebounds per contest in nine games this season. “Southern Arkansas will play hard for 40 minutes,” said Golden Suns head coach Dave Wilbers. “They really hook it up and get after people. They know that Hobbs is their best player and they get her the ball in position to score.”