Outside shooting and offensive execution down the stretch was a winning formula for Arkansas Tech University in a 90-88 Great American Conference men's basketball victory over Southern Arkansas University at the W.T. Watson Athletic Center in Magnolia on Saturday.
The Wonder Boys (9-3 overall, 5-3 GAC) made 14 3-pointers against an SAU defense that entered the day ranked No. 6 in NCAA Division II in field goal percentage defense.
"I told our guys about those defensive stats right before the game," said Tech head coach Chad Kline. "We knew they would pressure the ball and weren't going to allow any layups, so I told the guys to be loose and if they get an open look, let it fly."
That philosophy helped the Wonder Boys make seven of their first 11 3-point tries in the second half and build a 75-65 lead with 8:08 remaining.
SAU (6-8, 4-4) pulled back within 85-82 with 1:18 remaining. A put-back basket by Branden Williams with 46.5 seconds to go and a layup by Justin Graham with 11 seconds left allowed Arkansas Tech to hold on for its sixth win in its last seven games.
Graham finished with 21 points and seven assists. Tech's Alex Brown made 4-of-6 3-point tries in the second half and notched 20 points. Montrell Williams contributed 14 points and Freddy Lee netted 11 points for the Wonder Boys.
CJ Elkins led the Muleriders with 23 points, 21 of which came in the second half.
The Wonder Boys will face Harding University for a 7:30 p.m. GAC game in Searcy on Monday, Jan. 16. Radio station KCJC 102.3 FM and www.arkansastechsports.com will provide live play-by-play coverage.