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Wonder Boys Must Contain Turner Saturday

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Nationally 12th-ranked Arkansas Tech has won 14 consecutive men’s basketball games and the Wonder Boys are in sole possession of first place in the Gulf South Conference West Division with three games remaining in the regular season. Here comes a man with enough talent to bring all of that to an end. Senior guard Phil Turner and the Delta State Statesmen (13-11 overall, 7-4 GSC) will visit the Wonder Boys (20-3, 11-0) for a 6 p.m. contest at Tucker Coliseum in Russellville on Saturday, Feb .19. The coliseum ticket office will open at 3 p.m. Saturday. Those with a valid Tech identification card will be admitted free. Turner appeared in 96 games and scored 625 points for Southeastern Conference member Mississippi State University from 2007-08 through 2009-10 before deciding to transfer cross-state to Delta State for his senior season.

Since joining the Statesmen, he has averaged 18.1 points per game --- third-best in the GSC. Turner has increased his output to 30 points per game over his last three games.

Turner’s late-season push has helped Delta State win five of its six games since Arkansas Tech beat the Statesmen 65-52 in Cleveland, Miss., on Jan. 22.

As a result, DSU is in sole possession of third place in the GSC West and one win away from clinching a berth in the GSC Tournament.

“As far as Phil Turner is concerned, I think he might be the best player in the conference,” said Arkansas Tech head coach Doug Karleskint, who also mentioned Arkansas-Monticello guard L.A. Farmer as a contender for that title. “Turner’s also rebounding the basketball and they’re going to him a lot more. He’s pretty much carrying their team right now. We’ve got to come with it and rebound the basketball like we did at their place.”

The Wonder Boys finished with a plus-14 rebound margin over the Statesmen in their victory at Walter Sillers Coliseum last month. Delta State has been out-rebounded in six of its last eight games.

Turner was limited to 11 points on 3-of-9 shooting from the field in Tech's victory at DSU, matching his lowest output in a GSC game this season.

Arkansas Tech, which has already clinched a berth in the GSC Tournament, is led in scoring by junior guard Johnie Davis (16.0 points per game), senior forward Jeremy Dunbar (13.8 points per game), senior forward James Causey (10.4 points per game), sophomore guard Jared Williamson (8.9 points per game) and senior guard Laithe Massey (8.8 points per game).

Saturday’s game will be broadcast in the Arkansas River Valley by KWKK 100.9 FM. There will be live video and live audio feeds from the game available at www.athletics.atu.edu.

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