Arkansas Tech clinched the Great American Conference men's basketball championship outright on Thursday night, but there were no celebrations in the post-game locker room.
The nationally 17th-ranked Wonder Boys saw a five-point lead slip through their fingers in the final two minutes as Ouachita Baptist rallied for an 80-76 win over Arkansas Tech at Vining Arena in Arkadelphia.
Even with the loss, the Wonder Boys wrapped up the outright GAC title thanks to Southern Arkansas' 69-64 win in Magnolia over second-place Henderson State.
Arkansas Tech (20-5 overall, 12-3 GAC) led 75-70 after Jared Williamson's layup with 2:13 left, but that proved to be the Wonder Boys' final field goal of the game.
Austin Mitchell made a 3-pointer at the 1:56 mark and Julian LaDay hit two free throws to pull OBU even at 75-75 with 1:32 to go.
Williamson made a free throw with 1:15 left to briefly return Arkansas Tech to the lead. OBU went in front for good on a Michael Morris fast break layup with 25 seconds remaining.
LaDay made 3-of-4 free throws and Mitchell had a key steal in the closing moments to help the Tigers end the Wonder Boys' nine-game winning streak.
"We made such bad decisions down the stretch," said Arkansas Tech head coach Doug Karleskint. "We were lucky to be in the game. We tried to sleep walk through this one. We had no energy."
Nigel Ramsey had 21 points and nine rebounds for the Tigers (15-10, 8-7). Emmanuel Engulu added 17 points and Mitchell finished with 15 points.
Williamson led the Wonder Boys with 22 points and nine rebounds. Matt Haney chipped in 15 points, Johnie Davis scored all 14 of his points after halftime and Mykel Cleveland notched 11 points.
Ouachita Baptist shot 53 percent (26-of-49) from the field. Arkansas Tech, which came in ranked seventh in the nation in 3-point field goal percentage, made just 7-of-28 (25 percent) from beyond the arc on Thursday.
The Wonder Boys will conclude their regular season by hosting Southern Arkansas for a 6 p.m. GAC contest at Tucker Coliseum in Russellville on Saturday, Feb. 25.
Tickets will be available at promotional prices of $5 for adults and $3 for students and senior citizens. Those with a valid Arkansas Tech identification card will be admitted free of charge.
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