Upsets are built by doing the little things.
An offensive rebound with 5:16 remaining catapulted Arkansas Tech University to an 85-74 men’s basketball victory over nationally 15th-ranked Southern Nazarene University at Tucker Coliseum in Russellville on Thursday night.
The Crimson Storm was threatening to rally from a 14-point deficit until Tech’s R.J. Glasper grabbed that key rebound. He fed Ramses Sandifer for a layup that sparked a 6-0 spurt.
Will Adler followed with a free throw and Mason Cline buried a 3-pointer at the 3:15 mark that gave the Wonder Boys a 73-65 lead. Arkansas Tech put it away by making 6-of-6 free throws over the final 62 seconds.
The Wonder Boys (3-10 overall, 1-6 Great American Conference) stopped an eight-game losing streak, their longest since January 2007.
“It feels great for the players,” said Chad Kline, ATU head coach. “They have put in the hard work and gone through the tough practices. It’s killed me to go into that locker room and see those disappointed faces after we’ve played well and lost. It’s been rough. There’s no secret about that. This win is a credit to the quality and the character of our young men. They come to work.”
Arkansas Tech led 43-34 at halftime and made eight of its first 12 field goal attempts to begin the second half.
The Wonder Boys led 65-51 at the 12:38 mark, but Southern Nazarene went on a 14-2 run to pull within 67-65 with 5:31 to go.
That was when Glasper’s rebound and Sandifer’s put-back basket turned the tide in Tech’s favor for good.
Adler had 20 points for the Wonder Boys. Sandifer finished with 19 points. Glasper notched 18 points, six rebounds and seven assists against only one turnover. All 11 of Freddy Lee’s points came in the second half.
R.J. Palmer scored a season-high 21 points for Southern Nazarene (12-3, 5-2), which saw its three-game winning streak come to an end.
Oklahoma Baptist University will visit Tucker Coliseum for a 3 p.m. GAC contest against Arkansas Tech on Saturday, Jan. 12.