The Arkansas Tech men’s basketball team fell to 1-1 after a 98-73 road loss to Southwest Minnesota State (2-0) in Bartlesville, Okla., on Saturday.
Despite 20 points (7-12 FG, 6-11 3-pointers) from Tyler Friedel and a 16-point performance off the bench by Mike Balogun (6-11 FG, 4-8 3-pointers), the Wonder Boys were unable to best the Mustangs.
Tech’s bench alone compiled 36 points, but this was no match for the lights-out shooting of Southwest Minnesota State, hitting 59.6 percent of its field goals and 61.9 percent from behind the arc. Comparatively, Tech finished with a 42.4 field goal percentage and a 37.1 3-point percentage.
Friedel showed off his shooting early by draining a three only seconds in, but this would be the only Tech lead of the night.
Southwest Minnesota State then went on an 8-point run highlighted by a 3-pointer from senior guard Cole Martin. Friedel immediately struck back with another three, bringing the score to 8-6.
After the Mustangs got up by five, Balogun entered the game in high fashion, drilling a 3-point shot to once again close the gap to two points.
The Mustang lead quickly climbed to eleven at 30-19 with just under eight minutes left in the half, as Martin hit his second three of the game and senior guard Travis Meinders sank two from long distance.
Tech battled, going on a 10-point run and cutting the lead to one in the span of two minutes on senior guard Jay Murphy’s three-point layup play, another Friedel three, senior guard Clarence Willard’s layup in the paint and two more free throws from Murphy, making it 30-29.
Before the close of the half, Meinders would hit three 3-pointers, helping to extend the Mustang lead to 43-36.
Friedel started the second half twice as hot as the first, making back-to-back threes his first two touches.
But from after this point it was all Mustangs, as sophomore forward Joey Bartlett spurred their lead to 18 with three 3-pointers in just over a minute.
A 12-point deficit was the closest Tech would come to touching Southwest Minnesota State, and the Mustangs would strengthen their lead to as much as 21 before they claimed the victory 15 points ahead.
Tech’s next game will be on the road Saturday at 6 p.m. against 2-0 Angelo State.