Arkansas Tech University turned to its defense to stop a four-game men's basketball losing streak on Saturday afternoon.
The Wonder Boys held Southern Arkansas University to 33 percent shooting from the field and defeated the Muleriders 68-63 at Tucker Coliseum in Russellville.
"Coming off that four-game losing streak we changed it up a little bit on Friday," said Chad Kline, ATU head coach. "We went live in practice and it was all defense for about an hour and 20 minutes. We defended our tails off today. We had a good game plan on Devante Brooks. This is the dog days of the season. It's not a must win until the numbers say it is, but this was about as close to a must win as you can get."
Perimeter shooting staked Arkansas Tech (12-10 overall, 8-8 Great American Conference) to a 36-28 halftime lead. The Wonder Boys connected on 7-of-14 attempts from beyond the 3-point arc during the opening 20 minutes.
ATU led by as many as 13 points in the second half. SAU rallied and briefly took the lead on two occasions midway through the second half, but an R.J. Glasper 3-pointer at the 5:32 mark put the Wonder Boys in front for good at 59-56.
Arkansas Tech held the Muleriders scoreless for the final 63 seconds and made 3-of-4 free throws down the stretch to end a five-game losing streak against SAU. It was the Muleriders' longest winning streak against the Wonder Boys since they defeated Arkansas Tech 14 consecutive times from 1972-79.
Glasper and Ramses Sandifer paced the Wonder Boys with 14 points apiece. Dillon Gooding and Devante Foster both notched 11 points. Arkansas Tech overcame a 22-7 deficit in second-chance points and SAU's 49-35 edge in rebounds.
Jalen Brooks had 20 points and seven rebounds for the Muleriders (10-12, 7-9). Aaron Lucas finished with 14 points.
The Wonder Boys will travel to Searcy on Thursday, Feb. 13, for a 7:30 p.m. GAC game against Harding University at Rhodes-Reaves Field House.
Live coverage will be provided by KCJC 102.3 FM and www.arkansastechsports.com.