Wonder Boys Clinch GAC Tournament Berth

Arkansas Tech University’s men’s basketball team is going back to the postseason in 2018.

The Wonder Boys (17-10 overall, 11-10 Great American Conference) clinched a berth in the GAC Tournament by defeating Ouachita Baptist University 82-76 at Vining Arena in Arkadelphia on Thursday night.

“We played our tails off for about 38 minutes tonight,” said Chad Kline, ATU head coach. “Our guys stepped up. We’re short-handed right now, but that’s never an excuse. When you put on that Wonder Boys’ uniform, you are expected to perform and perform at a high level.”

Arkansas Tech scored the first five points of the game and never relinquished the lead.

The Wonder Boys held a 37-32 advantage at halftime and led by as many as 13 points midway through the second half.

The Tigers (12-14, 10-11), winners of three consecutive games before Thursday, rallied and pulled within 78-72 in the final minute. Tech’s R.J. Glasper held them off by making 4-of-4 free throws over the final 17.7 seconds.

Montrell Williams led the Wonder Boys in scoring with 19 points. Teammates Alex Brown and Glasper were close behind with 18 points apiece, while Freddy Lee scored a season-high 17 points.

Brown and Lee were both 5-of-8 from 3-point range. Arkansas Tech was 14-of-33 from beyond the arc.

The Wonder Boys committed just nine turnovers, compared to the 20 they had in an 82-78 home loss to Ouachita Baptist on Jan. 20.

Kendarious Smith scored a game-high 20 points for Ouachita Baptist, which also clinched a berth in the GAC Tournament thanks to Henderson State University’s 79-68 loss at Southern Arkansas University on Thursday.

The Wonder Boys will close out the regular season portion of their 2017-18 schedule by hosting the University of Arkansas-Monticello Boll Weevils for a 3 p.m. GAC contest at Tucker Coliseum in Russellville on Saturday, Feb. 24.

Tickets ($5 adults/$3 students and senior citizens) will be available at the door. Faculty, staff and students with their valid ATU identification card will be admitted free of charge.