Tech Tidbits: Front-Loaded Home Slate Awaits ATU

Jaki Rollins 12-17-2023
Arkansas Tech's Jaki Rollins brings the ball up against Southern Arkansas in December 2023.

January will provide the Arkansas Tech University basketball teams with a valuable opportunity to bank some Great American Conference home victories.

The Wonder Boys and the Golden Suns will play six of their eight GAC doubleheaders this month at Tucker Coliseum in Russellville. The flip side of that coin is Arkansas Tech will only have three home doubleheaders during February.

That means the time is now to get out and enjoy watching two teams that showed promise during the fall semester.

The Wonder Boys (8-2 overall, 4-0 GAC) are in sole possession of first place in the GAC men’s basketball standings. That position will be challenged this week by the two teams that are just one game behind ATU.

East Central University (7-3, 3-1) features the No. 1 scoring defense in GAC men’s basketball (65.2 points allowed per game), while preseason GAC men’s favorite Southeastern Oklahoma State University (7-5, 3-1) relies upon the No. 1 scoring offense in the league (88 points per game).

“I told my team this is what happens,” said Mark Downey, ATU head men’s basketball coach. “You win, and the crowds start to get a little bit bigger and a little bit bigger. After Christmas people start paying attention to basketball and it gets even bigger. Hopefully, one day, we’ll get this thing back where it was in 2010 and (Tucker Coliseum) will be full again. That’s our goal.”

The Golden Suns (5-3, 2-2) entered the holiday break on a winning note after defeating Southern Arkansas University 95-72 on Dec. 17. ATU’s women shot 57 percent from the field and blocked eight shots, both season highs, in the victory.

“I thought our defense was really good (against SAU),” said Dave Wilbers, ATU head women’s basketball coach. “We were very solid and kept players in front of us. We did a good job of not fouling.”

ATU will host East Central at 5:30 and 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 4, and Southeastern Oklahoma State at 1 and 3 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 6. Tickets are available at

Live coverage of all four games will be available over KCJC 102.3 FM, and the EAB Media Group app.

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.