Tech Tidbits: Best GAC Start Ever for Wonder Boys

Taelon Peter 12-12-2022
Taelon Peter leads Arkansas Tech and ranks eighth in the Great American Conference in scoring (15.6 points per game) this season. (Photo by Zach Thompson)

The Arkansas Tech men’s basketball program has accumulated a number of achievements since the Great American Conference played its first season in 2011-12.

The Wonder Boys have won three GAC regular season championships (2011-12, 2012-13 and 2013-14), captured two GAC Tournament titles (2012 and 2015) and made five NCAA Division II Tournament appearances (2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2017) during the GAC era.

None of those teams did what the 2022-23 Wonder Boys have done to begin their league schedule. Arkansas Tech is 3-0 to start men’s basketball conference play for the first time since its final season in the Gulf South Conference in 2010-11.

“We just have to keep playing one at a time,” said Mark Downey, ATU head men’s basketball coach. “I’ve tried to focus on that more with them. We keep talking about that relentless pursuit of perfection. I have to push them sometimes with that, especially when we have nine days off, but they’re getting it and they’re fighting. They’re letting me coach them and they’re a fun group to be around. We can’t relax. We have to keep bringing it every day with a chip on our shoulder.”

The Wonder Boys (5-4 overall, 3-0 GAC) made a season-high 10 3-pointers in their 73-64 win over Henderson State on Monday. It was the fifth consecutive win for Arkansas Tech’s men, which is their longest winning streak since the 2017-18 Wonder Boys earned eight consecutive victories.

Third-quarter rebounding was the difference in Henderson State’s 78-67 women’s basketball win over the Arkansas Tech Golden Suns (4-3, 2-1) at Tucker Coliseum on Monday.

The Reddies posted a plus-8 rebound margin in the third quarter, including eight offensive rebounds, as they pulled away for the victory.

“We have to give some help to Dana (Thompson) rebounding,” said Dave Wilbers, ATU head women’s basketball coach. “Dana’s busting her butt rebounding, and our guards have to do a better job of getting in there and battling for rebounds. We did that in the first half, but in the second half we gave them second chances and (Henderson State) is a good enough team they’re going to hit their second-chance shots. We just have to get better and learn from it.”

Arkansas Tech will conclude the pre-holiday break portion of its 2022-23 basketball schedule with a road trip to Southern Arkansas on Saturday, Dec. 17. It will be the final game action for the Golden Suns and the Wonder Boys until Thursday, Jan. 5.

Tip-off at the W.T. Watson Athletic Center in Magnolia is set for 1 p.m. (women) and 3 p.m. (men). Live coverage of the ATU-SAU doubleheader will be provided by KCJC 102.3 FM and

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.