The No. 1-ranked Arkansas Tech Wonder Boys are learning why it is hard to go undefeated. But they are glad they still have that opportunity.
The Wonder Boys (21-0 overall, 8-0 Gulf South Conference) took another opponent's best shot on Saturday night, but the second-half play of Renard Allen and a change in game plan allowed Tech to remain unbeaten with a 67-65 win over the Arkansas-Monticello Boll Weevils at Tucker Coliseum.
Allen scored all 17 of his points after halftime. The 6-foot-1 guard was 11-of-11 from the free throw line after taking the ball into the lane time after time in the second half.
Tech put an emphasis on attacking the basket in the second half after they made just 2-of-15 from 3-point range in the first half.
The Wonder Boys attempted just six 3-pointers in the second half and they finished 3-of-21 from beyond the arc --- their second-worst shooting night from the perimeter this season.
The result of that adjustment toward attacking the basket was an 18-9 run to open the second half. Tech led 49-40 with 12:55 left.
The Wonder Boys opened a 58-46 lead by the 9:26 mark, but they followed that with a scoreless drought of more than three minutes. UAM took advantage, cutting Tech's lead to 58-53 with 6:20 to go.
Nick Carey's 3-pointer with 2:10 remaining got the Boll Weevils to within one point of the Wonder Boys at 66-65, but he missed two free throws with 1:21 left that allowed Tech to hold onto its one-point lead.
The Wonder Boys missed a 3-pointer on the ensuing possesion. UAM got two shots at go-ahead 3-point baskets with under 30 seconds to go, but both missed and Irvin Humphrey grabbed a defensive rebound for Tech with 12.9 seconds left.
Humphrey made 1-of-2 free throws to give the Wonder Boys a 67-65 advantage. UAM's Hamid Ford missed a go-ahead 3-pointer with seven seconds left, but the Boll Weevils stayed alive with an offensive rebound.
After a timeout, UAM got the ball inbounds to Carey deep in the left corner. Under heavy defensive pressure, he fumbled the ball out of bounds with 2.3 seconds left.
The Wonder Boys' inbounds pass went out of bounds with 0.8 seconds left. That gave the Weevils one last chance, but Derek Easter's desperation try at the buzzer was off the mark.
In addition to Allen's 17 points, Jeremy Dunbar had 13 points for Tech and James Giles recorded new career highs for points (10) and rebounds (5).
Ford led all scorers with 21 points for UA-Monticello (10-8, 5-3).
The Wonder Boys will visit the Henderson State Reddies for an 8 p.m. game at the Duke Wells Center in Arkadelphia on Thursday.]]>