He has won 333 basketball games at Arkansas Tech University. He has led the Golden Suns to nine NCAA Division II Tournament berths, two NCAA Elite Eight appearances, seven regular season conference titles and five conference tournament championships.
But Dave Wilbers readily admits that his Arkansas Tech teams have struggled bouncing back from what is typically a prolonged break from game action during the holiday season.
“To be quite honest with you, my teams have been terrible right after Christmas,” said Wilbers. “I’ve changed a lot of different things. I don’t know what the formula is, but we’re sure going to try something different this year. We’ve normally been pretty good the second game back, but that first game we haven’t played very well. I have to do a better job as a coach getting them ready after the break.”
The Golden Suns (5-3 overall, 3-1 Great American Conference) will play their first game since Dec. 17 when they visit Southeastern Oklahoma State University (3-6, 1-3) on Thursday, Jan. 5. Tip-off is set for 5:30 p.m.
The contest will mark a long-delayed homecoming for ATU’s leading scorer, Jalei Oglesby.
Despite being in her fourth year as a Golden Sun, Thursday will mark Oglesby’s first collegiate game in her home state of Oklahoma. The Howe, Okla., product missed out on the opportunity to play in the Sooner State due to a combination of injuries (2019-20 and 2021-22 seasons) and the truncated schedule due to the pandemic in 2020-21.
Oglesby ranks fourth in the GAC in scoring (19.5 points per game) and fourth among all NCAA Division II guards in field goal percentage (.563) this season.
Mark Downey, ATU head men’s basketball coach, has had almost three weeks to stew on a season-low 30 percent shooting performance from the floor in the Wonder Boys’ 62-53 loss at Southern Arkansas University on Dec. 17.
“That looked like us the first game of the year,” said Downey. “We did a lot of dumb stuff. I don’t know where that came from. It’s my fault. Our guys weren’t focused like they should be. That offensive performance the last 36 minutes of the game was dismal.”
The loss snapped ATU’s five-game winning streak, and the Wonder Boys (5-5, 3-1) have a tough draw in their first game back from the holiday break.
Southeastern Oklahoma State’s men (6-3, 3-1) averaged 99.3 points per contest while winning each of their four games in December. The Savage Storm leads the GAC and ranks ninth nationally in 3-point field goals made (10.8 per game).
Tip-off for the Wonder Boys and the Savage Storm is set for 7:30 p.m. Thursday.
Live coverage of the ATU-SOSU doubleheader will begin at 5:15 p.m. Thursday on KCJC 102.3 FM and www.arkansastechsports.com.
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.