Wonder Boys Look for Improved Rebounding

Arkansas Tech’s chances of picking up a men’s basketball win at West Alabama on Saturday might hinge on one fundamental — rebounding.  The nationally 22nd-ranked Wonder Boys (3-1) and the Tigers (3-1) will meet at 4 p.m. Saturday at Pruitt Hall in Livingston, Ala.

Radio station KWKK 100.9 FM will have the broadcast.

Click here to access an Internet stream of that broadcast. Arkansas Tech’s only loss this season was an 87-72 defeat at Drury University on Nov. 17. The Panthers out-rebounded the Wonder Boys 42-28 on their way to victory. The minus-14 rebound margin matched Arkansas Tech’s largest deficit in that statistical category since Feb. 20, 2006.  “We’ve got to get physical,” said Tech head coach Doug Karleskint. “James Giles is where we need him, but after that we need to be more physical. That’s an area of concern. Late in games we can’t give up baskets off offensive rebounds.” Arkansas Tech ranks 11th in the GSC in rebound margin (-0.2 rebounds per game), but the Wonder Boys have more than made up for it with their ability to create turnovers. Tech leads the GSC in steals (15.8 per game) and turnover margin (+14.25 turnovers per game). “That’s a small change we’ve made from last year’s team,” said Karleskint. “We want to be out in the passing lanes more. I think we are a bit more athletic on the wings than we were last year, and I think we can get more steals on the edge. That will allow our defense to create offense.” The Wonder Boys lead the GSC in scoring (96.8 points per game). Sophomore guard Jared Williamson leads the team and ranks seventh in the conference with a 15.5 points per game average. Junior guard Johnie Davis (13.8 points per game), senior forward James Causey (12.3 points per game) and senior forward Jeremy Dunbar (10.3 points per game) are also averaging double figures in scoring for Arkansas Tech. West Alabama is 3-0 at Pruitt Hall during the 2010-11 campaign, and its only loss this season was a 79-58 setback at NCAA Division I member Jacksonville State on Nov. 13. The Tigers have been idle since defeating Concordia College 104-65 on Nov. 18. Junior guard Alquan Mendenhall tied a UWA school record with 11 3-pointers and finished with 36 points. For the season, Mendenhall ranks third in the GSC in scoring (20.5 points per game). Saturday will mark just the third men’s basketball meeting between Arkansas Tech and West Alabama. The Wonder Boys defeated the Tigers 84-64 on Jan. 4, 2000, and 82-42 on Nov. 28, 2009. Both of those games were played at Tucker Coliseum in Russellville. After a stop in Livingston for Saturday’s contest, the Wonder Boys will travel to Carrollton, Ga., to face the West Georgia Wolves. Tip-off for game two of the road trip is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. (CST) Monday. KWKK 100.9 FM and www.athletics.atu.edu will have the play-by-play description.