Five Arkansas Tech (12-12, 8-8 GAC) players hit double-digit scoring in an 81-64 win against Great American Conference opponent Southern Nazarene (12-11, 8-9 GAC) Saturday at Tucker Coliseum.
Mike Balogun led Tech with 14 points, six assists and four rebounds. Tyler Friedel had 13 points, while D.J. Jethroe managed his first double-double of the year with 13 points and 10 rebounds. Both Clarence Willard and junior guard Branden Williams had 10 points.
The Wonder Boys outshot the Crimson Storm, hitting nearly 48 percent of their shots from the field and 37 percent from the 3-point line.
Tech outmuscled its opponent down low as well, winning the game on the boards 43-32 and outscoring the Crimson Storm 38-20 in the paint.
Play was tit for tat in the early minutes, the lead changing three separate times and becoming tied three times. Almost six minutes into the game, Jethroe nailed a 3-pointer that broke the tie and gave Tech a lead that would be built upon rapidly .
The Crimson Storm cut the lead to two points a few possessions later, but Tech then took complete control, scoring 31 of the final 40 points in the first half to go into the break ahead 50-26.
Gary Gaskins set the tone that echoed throughout the game with a slam dunk for the first points of the second half.
A 3-pointer from Balogun gave Tech a 28-point lead, its largest of the night. Southern Nazarene showed a pulse, answering with an 11-point run that brought the score to 57-40 with 14 minutes left. Cutting the Wonder Boy lead to 16 after a pair of free throws is as close as the Crimson Storm would come to a replication of their 8-point win over Tech in January.
Tech kept Southern Nazarene at an arm’s length for the rest of the game, outscoring the Crimson Storm in second-chance points (22-13) and points off turnovers (17-120.
The Wonder Boys will travel to play GAC opponent East Central (16-8, 10-6 GAC) at 7:30 p.m.Thursday. The Tigers beat Tech by two points in their meeting in January.
After two ties and five lead changes in the first half, Arkansas Tech (12-12, 8-8 GAC), bolstered by Balogun’s game-high 25-point performance, Northwestern Oklahoma State (7-17, 6-11 GAC) 83-63 on Feb. 12 at Tucker Coliseum.
Both teams shot 25-for-54 (nearly 46 percent) from the field and about 61 percent from the free throw line, but the Wonder Boys dominated from behind the arc, making nearly 42 percent of their 3-pointers compared to the Rangers’ 8 percent.
Tech also won the battle underneath the boards, grabbing 40 rebounds while the visitors were only able to snatch 27.
Willard contributed eight points, and Jethroe pitched in seven points, 11 rebounds and three steals.
The Wonder Boys defeated NWOSU in an 18-point victory in January.