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Tech Teams Continue Pursuit of GAC Titles

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Arkansas Tech University will put its five-game winning streaks in men’s and women’s basketball on the line during a Great American Conference doubleheader against East Central University at Tucker Coliseum in Russellville on Saturday, Feb. 11.
 
The nationally 13th-ranked Arkansas Tech Golden Suns (16-3 overall, 7-3 GAC) will play their second straight revenge game when they tangle with the ECU Lady Tigers (6-15, 4-7) at 2 p.m. Saturday.
 
Game two will pit the Arkansas Tech Wonder Boys (16-4, 8-2) against the ECU Tigers (4-17, 1-10) at 4 p.m. Saturday.
 
Promotional ticket prices of $5 for adults and $3 for students and senior citizens will be in effect. Those with a valid Arkansas Tech identification card can gain free admission.
 
East Central stunned the Golden Suns 74-65 in Ada, Okla., on Jan. 14. The Lady Tigers held Arkansas Tech to 36 percent shooting from the floor, and ECU made three 3-pointers in the final three minutes to seal the victory.
 
“We didn’t play with very much emotion at East Central,” said Golden Suns head coach Dave Wilbers. “We didn’t run the floor very well. Credit them; they hit some big shots when they needed to. I think our team is getting better. Our team feels good about itself right now and we’re very confident. We just need to keep going.”
 
The Suns, winners of six of their last seven games, have already avenged one setback this week. Arkansas Tech shot 54 percent from the field --- its best shooting night in a GAC home game so far --- in a 101-87 victory over Southwestern Oklahoma State on Thursday night. The Bulldogs had previously defeated the Golden Suns 85-82 on Jan. 12 in Weatherford, Okla.
 
Arkansas Tech enters the weekend in sole possession of third place in the GAC women’s standings and just one game out of first place.

Harding (15-5, 8-2) and Southwestern Oklahoma State (13-8, 8-3), the women’s teams in first and second place in the GAC, will meet at Rhodes Field House in Searcy on Saturday afternoon.

Arkansas Tech is also right on the heels of the GAC lead in the men’s basketball standings.

The Wonder Boys stand just one-half game behind conference-leading Henderson State (14-7, 9-2), which will visit Arkansas-Monticello (15-7, 5-5) on Saturday afternoon.
 
Arkansas Tech overcame what head coach Doug Karleskint described as a lack of “hunger” to defeat Southwestern Oklahoma State 80-73 on Thursday night. Will Paul’s career-high 21 points --- including a critical 3-point play off a Matt Haney assist in the final minute --- helped the Wonder Boys improve to 8-1 at home this season.
 
“It’s tough to get guys to realize how quickly the season is running out,” said Karleskint. “Especially without an automatic bid (into the NCAA Division II Tournament) to play for this season, we aren’t guaranteed anything. We have to make sure we are focused each and every game. Mature teams find a way to compete and take care of business every night. I hope we are one of those teams.”

Radio station KWKK 100.9 FM will have the play-by-play description of Saturday's games. There will be live video and audio feeds available at http://www.athletics.atu.edu/.

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