Arkansas Tech University heated up from 3-point range in the second half and pulled away from Henderson State University for a 98-81 Great American Conference men's basketball victory at the Duke Wells Center in Arkadelphia on Saturday afternoon.
The Wonder Boys (20-4 overall, 16-4 GAC) made 10-of-11 shots from 3-point range after halftime to earn their 11th consecutive victory and maintain at least a share of first place in the GAC standings with two regular season games remaining.
"This was the perfect situation for a letdown game by our guys," said Tech head coach Chad Kline. "I was honestly more worried about this game than I was the last two from the standpoint that I knew we'd have great energy and great crowd support in our final two home games. But we were ready today. We probably had more dunks in the first seven minutes than we've had the rest of the season combined, and when you start getting those easy ones it opens up everything else."
Arkansas Tech has now made 293 3-pointers this season, three away from tying the school record set by the 1994-95 Wonder Boys.
Trevin Woods connected on 4-of-6 3-point tries Saturday and finished with 18 points, one shy of matching his season high.
"(Woods) has completely bought in," said Kline. "He is our most talkative and supportive guy. His attitude wouldn't change if he never checked in. He would just sit there and be energetic. He's good enough to start, but we've won 11 in a row and we don't want to mess it up."
Tech made just 2-of-13 3-point attempts in the first half, but 28 points in the paint during the opening 20 minutes allowed the Wonder Boys to claim a 40-30 advantage at the intermission.
Then came the avalanche of 3-pointers in the second half. A 14-4 run over a span of 3:52 staked Tech to a 70-53 edge with 9:58 to go. The outcome was never in doubt the rest of the way.
Justin Graham notched 17 points for the Wonder Boys, while Montrell Williams and Branden Williams contributed 16 points apiece. Bennie Lufile added 13 points. Freddy Lee had eight points, 10 assists and five rebounds.
Kevin Kozan scored a game-high 23 points for the Reddies (14-12, 9-11).
Tech out-rebounded Henderson State 42-27.
The Wonder Boys will face East Central University for a 7:30 p.m. GAC contest at the Kerr Activities Center in Ada, Okla., on Thursday, Feb. 23. Radio station KCJC 102.3 FM and www.arkansastechsports.com will provide live coverage.