Wonder Boys Look to Finish Perfect January

Ask people for their favorite month on the calendar, and you probably won’t receive January as the response all too often. But that 31-day stretch most noted for cold temperatures and short days is starting to grow on the Arkansas Tech men’s basketball program. The nationally 23rd-ranked Wonder Boys (14-3 overall, 5-0 Gulf South Conference), winners of 13 consecutive games during the month of January, will try to complete an undefeated month on Saturday when they visit the Ouachita Baptist Tigers (7-11, 2-4) at Vining Arena in Arkadelphia. Tip-off is set for 5 p.m. The game will be broadcast in the Arkansas River Valley by radio station KWKK 100.9 FM.

Click here to access an Internet stream of the broadcast.

Arkansas Tech has not lost a men’s basketball game in the month of January since Jan. 31, 2009. The Wonder Boys were 7-0 during the first month of 2010 and they are 6-0 so far in January 2011. Tech extended its January winning streak, and more importantly earned sole possession of first place in the GSC West Division, by defeating Harding 85-55 on Thursday. Junior guard Johnie Davis matched his season-high with 26 points, senior forward Jeremy Dunbar scored 19 points and senior point guard Laithe Massey registered just the second triple-double in the 97-year history of men’s basketball at Arkansas Tech. Massey scored 17 points, grabbed 12 rebounds and made 10 assists. He also had six steals. “This is my eighth year in coaching, and I don’t remember too many performances better than the one that Laithe had (against Harding),” said Arkansas Tech head coach Doug Karleskint. “It started from the opening tip. He was getting into the paint whenever he wanted to, and he’s just so crafty. He uses his length to his advantage, and he is so good going to the basket and finishing.” Ouachita Baptist also earned an emotional victory on Thursday. The Tigers ran arch rival Henderson State out of its own building with an 86-63 victory over the Reddies at the Duke Wells Center. Six OBU players reached double figures in scoring, led by sophomore guard Austin Mitchell’s 23 points. Mitchell is the Tigers’ leading scorer this season at 13.2 points per game. He is a 42 percent shooter from 3-point range, and his 58 3-pointers this season lead an OBU perimeter attack that ranks ninth in NCAA Division II in 3-point field goals made (9.4 per game). “Every game against Ouachita Baptist you have to fight and claw,” said Karleskint. “I’ve warned our guys to not look at their record because they are a really good team. They’ve been in almost every game they have played this season. Coach (Mark) Price always does a great job of preparing his team. They’ll be ready for us.” Arkansas Tech has won its last four men’s basketball meetings with Ouachita Baptist, reversing a trend that saw the Tigers defeat the Wonder Boys 12 consecutive times from 2003-08. OBU leads the all-time series 79-72.