Nationally top-ranked Arkansas Tech clinched its first Gulf South Conference West Division men’s basketball championship and its best start to a season ever by defeating the Delta State Statesmen 76-66 at Walter Sillers Coliseum in Cleveland, Miss., on Saturday night.

The Wonder Boys (25-0 overall, 12-0 GSC) led 46-29 at halftiime and then held off a second-half comeback bid by Delta State.

The Statesmen pulled to within 60-59 with 5:58 to go, but a pair of Jeremy Dunbar 3-pointers and a 15-foot jumper by Dunbar helped Tech rebuild a 69-63 lead with 2:33 left.

Renard Allen made two free throws with 2:15 left to make it 71-63. On Delta’s next possession, Allen gathered a defensive rebound. He led Laithe Massey with an outlet pass for a layup and a 73-63 Wonder Boys’ edge with 1:55 left.

That was the final straw as Tech completed a regular season sweep of Delta State (18-6, 9-3) and clinched the GSC West title with two regular season games remaining.

The 25-0 start breaks a 57-year old school record for best start to a men’s basketball season. The 1952-53 Wonder Boys started 24-0. The 25-game winning streak is the second-longest in Tech men’s basketball hsitory.

Allen led the Wonder Boys with 20 points. Brandon Friedel had 14 points, while Massey had 12 points, eight rebounds, five assists and four steals.

Dunbar (photographed) finished with 11 points.

Jeremie Davis scored all 23 of his points after halftime for Delta State.

The Wonder Boys will visit Arkansas-Monticello at 7:30 p.m. Thursday.