Thursday, December 16, 2010

Wonder Boys Fall Short in Thrilling Home Game Against Sixth-Ranked Alabama-Huntsville

RUSSELLVILLE, Arkansas– Arkansas Tech Men’s Basketball opened up a four-game homestand to close out non-conference play here Thursday evening by dropping a hard-fought 83-76 contest to sixth-ranked Alabama-Huntsville in Gulf South Conference Crossover action at Tucker Coliseum.
Thursday’s game was a rematch of last season’s GSC Tournament Championship game that was won by the Wonder Boys, 64-63 thanks to a three-pointer by former Wonder Boy guard Marcus Pillow with 14 seconds left in the game at the DeSoto County Civic Center in Southaven, Miss.
        
With Thursday’s loss, Tech falls to 6-3 on the season and snaps its 11-game home winning streak in non-conference play. Prior to Thursday’s loss, the Wonder Boys hadn’t lost at home in regular season non-conference action since suffering a 67-61 setback to North Alabama on Jan. 5, 2009.
        
“We gave a very good effort tonight and we were able to fight back twice from 12-point deficits, but we fell short in the end,” Wonder Boys first-year coach Doug Karleskint said. “They (UAH) made some plays down the stretch and we’re able answer them.”
        
Tech jumped out to a 5-2 lead just two minutes into the game, but the Chargers (10-1 on the season) used a 19-7 run capped by a two free throws from Srdan Boskovic to push out to a 21-12 lead midway through the first half. UAH’s run was aided by six Wonder Boy turnovers.
        
The Wonder Boys responded with a 9-5 run capped by a three-pointer from senior guard Jeremy Dunbar (Niceville, Fla.) to drop UAH’s lead to 26-21 with 8:42 left in the half. UAH would answer with a 16-7 run to extend its lead to 42-28 with 1:17 left before halftime. Senior forward James Causey (Tangipahoa, La.) capped the first half scoring with a buzzer-beating lay-up to go into halftime trailing 42-31.
        
Tech opened the second half on a 14-0 run to take a 45-42 lead following a basket by Dunbar with 13:52 left in the game. UAH, though, answered with a 19-5 run to take a 60-51 lead following a deep three-pointer from Josh Magette with 9:35 remaining in the game.
        
UAH’s lead eventually grew to as much as 69-57 following a three-pointer by Tyler Hanback with 5:18 left in the game. Following Hanback’s trey, the Wonder Boys slowly chipped away at UAH’s lead as they used a 16-7 run capped by a Dunbar hoop to pull within 76-73 with 46 seconds left. The Chargers sealed the win by hitting seven of eight throws down the stretch.
        
Tech’s loss spoiled a career performance from Causey as he scored a career-high 32 points and added six rebounds. Prior to Thursday’s game, Causey previous career-high was 17 points set earlier this season against Lambuth. On the night, Causey was 11-for-17 from the field, including going 7-for-9 from the 3-point line.
        
“James really played well for us tonight. He stepped up and got things done,” the Tech coach added.
        
In addition to Causey, senior guard Willie Sanders (Jacksonville, Fla.) added 17 points, while Dunbar chipped in with 13 points and senior guard Laithe Massey (Heber Springs, Ark.) added nine points, eight rebounds and a career-high 10 assists. Junior guard Johnie Davis (Canton, Ohio) was held to a season-low one point in the loss. He entered the game averaging a team-best 15.1 points per game.
        
On the night, Tech shot 47 percent from the field, 41 percent from behind the 3-point arc, while UAH shot 49 percent from the floor and 46 percent from the 3-point line. The Chargers entered the game shooting a GSC-best 55 percent from the field.

UAH outshot Tech at the free throw line, 34-19 and held a 35-29 edge on the glass. For the game, UAH shot 79 percent at the line and Tech finished shooting 53 percent at the charity stripe.
        
Jamie Smith led UAH with 23 points, including scoring 13 of them in the first half. In addition to Smith, Magette added 19 points, seven rebounds and seven assists, while Hanback had 14 points and Zane Campbell tallied nine points and nine rebounds in the win.

        
The Wonder Boys will look to bounce back in less than 24 hours as they play host to North Alabama (4-6) in a 7:30 p.m. GSC Crossover contest Friday night at Tucker Coliseum.
        
“Tomorrow’s game is a big one for us. UNA is a really good team that will be ready to play,” Karleskint said. “We have to play like its do-or-die.”

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