(Arkansas Tech University)
RUSSELLVILLE, Ark.-Despite a 30-point, 11-rebound effort from Willie Rogers and 15 points from both Bobby Hatchett and Darrick Little, the Arkansas Tech Wonder Boys (5-3, 1-1 GAC) basketball team fell to the East Central Tigers (4-4, 3-1 GAC) 94-78 in Tucker Coliseum on Saturday night.
The Wonder Boys started on an 8-0 run with Clarke Overlander hitting a three just 52 seconds into the game. Tech pushed their lead to 16-6 with 11:56 to go in the first half when Rogers took it down the court for a fast break layup. The Tigers then made an 11-1 run to knot it up at 17-17 with just over eight minutes to go in the half, and kept that momentum going into a 38-28 halftime lead over the Wonder Boys.
At the half, Rogers had already picked up 14 points for the Wonder Boys, but Tech could not get the offense going as they shot just 30.4% (7-23) from the field. The Tigers shot 41.4% (12-29) from the field and outrebounded Tech 24-17 at the halfway point.
The Tigers defense proved tough again in the second half as the Wonder Boys could never get within 10 points of the lead. A three-pointer from Bryson Fletcher followed by back-to-back free-throws from Hatchett cut East Central's lead to 85-75 with 1:29 to play, but the Tigers knocked down some last minute free-throws to carry out the 94-78 victory.
Tech found points in their depth, with 68 points coming from their bench. The Wonder Boys shot 41.8% (23-55) from the field for the game while the Tiger's shot 45.1% (23-51). Tech had difficulty shooting from the behind the arc, making just five three-pointers on 23 attempts while East Central was able to hit nine threes in 23 attempts.
Rogers led all players in points (30) and rebounds (11). Little had 15 points with seven rebounds while senior Kendell Pinkney added seven assists. East Central's Brandon Lucas scored 27 points with eight rebounds for the Tigers.
"We've got to get a lot better here in the next 10 days," said Wonder Boys head coach Doug Karleskint. "It will be a process but I think we will."
Tech will return to action on Tuesday, December 17 to face Missouri Southern in Joplin, Missouri. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:00 p.m.