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Wonder Boys Catch HSU Atop GAC Standings

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Arkansas Tech found its way to the top of the Great American Conference men's basketball standings on Thursday night by finding its outside shooting touch in the second half.

The nationally 20th-ranked Wonder Boys (18-4 overall, 10-2 GAC) defeated the Southeastern Oklahoma State Savage Storm 68-57 at Bloomer Sullivan Arena in Durant, Okla., to move into a tie with Henderson State for first place in the GAC standings.

Arkansas Tech came into the game ranked sixth in NCAA Division II in 3-point field goal percentage, but the Wonder Boys made just 2-of-10 shots from 3-point range in the first half.

Tech returned to form after halftime, making 6-of-12 3-point tries in the second half to fuel its seventh consecutive win.

"I thought we got off to a good start in the second half," said Wonder Boys head coach Doug Karleskint. "We made some steals that turned into transition layups. Southeastern was overplaying defensively a little bit, and we had better ball movement in the second half. Jeremy Hoard and Matt Haney hit some tough shots. When Jeremy is feeling it, he is about as good as there is shooting the basketball. He's a weapon."

Hoard scored 14 of his game-high 17 points after halftime. He was 6-of-9 from the field, including 5-of-8 from 3-point range.

Johnie Davis scored 15 points, while Will Paul had 12 points and nine rebounds for Arkansas Tech. Mykel Cleveland added 10 points, five rebounds, four assists and five steals.

Zac Downing led the Savage Storm (9-16, 5-8) with 15 points and eight rebounds.  

Defense ruled the first half as the two teams combined for more turnovers (22) than made field goals (18) during the game's first 20 minutes.

There were nine lead changes and four ties during the opening period before Arkansas Tech took a 22-21 lead to halftime.

The Wonder Boys will host Henderson State for a 6 p.m. GAC game at Tucker Coliseum in Russellville on Saturday, Feb. 18. The winner will claim sole possession of first place in the GAC men's standings.

Tickets, which will be $5 for adults and $3 for students and senior citizens, will be available at the door. Those with a valid Arkansas Tech identification card will be admitted free.

Click here to learn more about Wonder Boys basketball.