Wonder Boys Denied Share of GAC Title

Arkansas Tech University’s pursuit of the 2016-17 regular season Great American Conference men’s basketball title came up two minutes short.

Southeastern Oklahoma State University outscored the Wonder Boys 14-4 over the final two minutes to defeat Arkansas Tech 89-81 at Bloomer Sullivan Arena in Durant, Okla., on Saturday afternoon.

The loss prevented the Wonder Boys (20-6 overall, 16-6 GAC) from earning a share of the GAC championship, a possibility that arose with Southern Nazarene University’s 83-81 win over the University of Arkansas-Monticello on Saturday.

The turning point in the Tech-SOSU game came with 2:01 remaining when Anton Cook made a 3-pointer to give the Savage Storm a 78-77 lead. Cook, who scored a GAC single-game record 48 points against Harding University on Thursday, was fouled on the shot and made the free throw to give Southeastern a 79-77 lead.

“It was a big shot by a good player,” said Arkansas Tech head coach Chad Kline. “We knew what was coming, and I thought we defended it well. (Cook) was just that much better. Sometimes that’s what good offensive players do.”

The Savage Storm led the rest of the way. The Wonder Boys made just one of their final four field goal attempts, while Southeastern connected on 10-of-10 free throw tries over the final 1:13.

“Those last two minutes we had our chances, but we didn’t make the plays and they did,” said Kline.

Cook finished with 29 points. Jett Jobe had 20 points, six rebounds and seven assists for the Savage Storm (12-16, 8-14), which finished outside the top eight in the GAC standings and thus will not advance to postseason play.

Montrell Williams notched 25 points and 10 rebounds for Arkansas Tech. Justin Graham had 18 points. Grant Prusator and Alex Brown contributed 12 points apiece for the Wonder Boys.

Arkansas Tech will be the No. 3 seed in the GAC Tournament. The Wonder Boys will face Southern Arkansas University in an opening-round game at 8 p.m. on Friday, March 3, at Bruin Fieldhouse in Bartlesville, Okla.

“On a neutral site, healthy, we can play with anyone,” said Kline. “That’s what we’ll focus on.”

Radio station KCJC 102.3 FM and www.arkansastechsports.com will have live coverage.