It's one down and two to go for a three-peat for the Arkansas Tech Wonder Boys.
Nationally 13th-ranked Arkansas Tech breezed into the Gulf South Conference Tournament semifinals with an 84-61 first-round victory over the North Alabama Lions at the DeSoto Civic Center in Southaven, Miss., on Friday.
The two-time defending GSC Tournament champion Wonder Boys (23-4) will face Valdosta State (21-8) in the semifinal round at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 5. Valdosta State defeated Delta State 85-80 in other first-round action on Friday.
Arkansas Tech's Laithe Massey (photographed) scored a season-high 24 points on Friday. The two-time all-conference point guard consistently sliced through the UNA defense and was 10-of-16 from the field as he matched his career high in scoring.
Johnie Davis added 17 points and Matt Haney had 12 points for the Wonder Boys, who won their seventh consecutive game at the GSC Tournament. James Giles added eight points and eight rebounds.
Arkansas Tech took control of the game with a 15-2 run midway through the first half. Davis started the spurt with a 3-pointer at the 12:54 mark that put the Wonder Boys in front for good at 17-15.
Massey and Haney combined to score 10 of Tech's next 12 points to push the lead out to 29-17 with 8:26 left before halftime.
The Wonder Boys held a 49-31 advantage at halftime.
North Alabama utilized full-court pressure to force Arkansas Tech into 18 second-half turnovers, but the margin never slipped below 12 points after halftime.
Beaumont Beasley scored consecutive baskets to trim the Wonder Boys' edge to 71-57 with 4:55 left, but Massey and Davis turned the Lions away by scoring consecutive buckets for Arkansas Tech.
The Wonder Boys finished with a season-high 24 turnovers. Arkansas Tech shot 57 percent (33-of-58) from the field, compared to 37 percent (23-of-63) for UNA.
Beasley notched 18 points for the Lions, who finished their season with an overall record of 13-16.
Radio station KWKK 100.9 FM will broadcast both Arkansas Tech basketball teams in the GSC Tournament semifinals on Saturday.
In addition to the Wonder Boys' game at 5:30 p.m., the nationally second-ranked Arkansas Tech Golden Suns (25-2) will face Ouachita Baptist (20-7) in a women's semifinal at 12:30 p.m.
Click here to access an Internet stream of the broadcasts.]]>