Nationally 15th-ranked Southern Nazarene University clinched the 2018-19 Great American Conference men's basketball championship outright with a 93-82 win over Arkansas Tech University at the Sawyer Center in Bethany, Okla., on Saturday afternoon.
The loss, combined with Ouachita Baptist University's 82-70 win over Southwestern Oklahoma State University, eliminated the Wonder Boys (10-16 overall, 8-12 Great American Conference) from postseason consideration.
"They killed us inside," said Chad Kline, ATU head coach, referring to Southern Nazarene's 50-18 edge in points in the paint and the Crimson Storm's 40-24 rebounding advantage. "We tried some different things, but we didn't have an answer. When you are bigger, stronger and faster, you're going to eat. They imposed their will."
Five SNU players reached double figures in scoring, led by R.J. Palmer and Noah Starkey with 18 points apiece.
Arkansas Tech's Ramses Sandifer matched his career high with 22 points, 18 of which came in the second half. Alex Brown contributed 19 points for the Wonder Boys, while Mason Cline and R.J. Glasper scored 12 points apiece. Freddy Lee notched 10 points and 11 assists.
ATU was 17-of-37 (46 percent) from 3-point range. The Wonder Boys have made 350 3-pointers this season to establish a new school and GAC record, surpassing the previous standard of 348 3-pointers set by the 2016-17 Arkansas Tech men.
Southern Nazarene improved to 24-4 overall and 17-3 in the GAC.
The Wonder Boys will host Northwestern Oklahoma State University for a 7:30 p.m. GAC contest at Tucker Coliseum in Russellville on Thursday, Feb. 28.
Tickets ($5 adults/$3 students and senior citizens) will be available at the door. Free admission will be granted to those with a valid ATU identification card.
Radio station KCJC 102.3 FM and www.arkansastechsports.com will provide live coverage.