The most challenging five-day stretch of the 2022-23 basketball season has arrived for Arkansas Tech University.
The Golden Suns (12-7 overall, 10-5 Great American Conference) and the Wonder Boys (11-10, 9-6) will play a combined six road games in two states over a period of 120 hours.
Game times are 5:30 and 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 9, at Oklahoma Baptist University, 1 and 3 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 11, at Southern Nazarene University and 5:30 and 7:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 13, at Harding University.
Live coverage of all six games will be available on KCJC 102.3 FM and www.arkansastechsports.com.
The outcomes will play a significant role in Arkansas Tech’s seeds for the rapidly approaching GAC Tournament, which will take place March 2-5 at Firelake Arena in Shawnee, Okla.
Shawnee is also where this week’s odyssey will begin. Both Oklahoma Baptist teams are in similar positions to the Arkansas Tech teams: fighting to remain in the top half of the league standings and trying to build momentum for the final weeks of the season. The Bison women are 13-8 overall and 9-6 in the GAC, while the Bison men are 11-10 overall and 8-7 in league play.
Southern Nazarene is on top of the GAC women’s and men’s basketball standings. The Crimson Storm women (17-4, 14-1) enter the week on a seven-game winning streak and 8-0 on their home floor at the Sawyer Center in Bethany, Okla. The Crimson Storm men (18-3, 14-1) carry an eight-game winning streak and a 9-0 home record into the week.
After a brief stopover in Russellville, the Golden Suns and the Wonder Boys will make their way to Rhodes-Reaves Field House in Searcy for Monday night’s games against the Harding Lady Bisons (17-5, 13-2) and the Harding Bisons (5-16, 1-14), who feature the leading scorer in the GAC in 6-foot-11 Taylor Currie (23.4 points per game).
The Wonder Boys have lost four consecutive games, matching their season-opening losing streak. In between, Arkansas Tech’s men won 11-of-13 games. The extent to which they can regain that form will tell the story of their season.
“We’ve got to be better,” said Mark Downey, ATU head men’s basketball coach. “We’ve got a tall order. It’ll be a tough trip. We’ll keep fighting and keep battling, and hopefully we can get off this miserable train we’re on.”
The Golden Suns will try to shake off a 72-68 home loss to Southeastern Oklahoma State University on Saturday by returning to the place they’ve been most successful this season: the road. Arkansas Tech’s women are 6-2 away from Tucker Coliseum this season.
“We’ve been a good road team, so hopefully we can keep that up,” said Dave Wilbers, ATU head women’s basketball coach. “We’ve got to get some players playing better. We have two or three players just not playing as well as they are capable. We’ll get in some good practice and get ready to play on the road.”
Talk to you on the radio.
Tech Tidbits is a column written by Sam Strasner, ATU director of university relations and radio play-by-play voice for ATU football and basketball.