From ATU Sports
Paul Smith, Director of Athletic Communications
RUSSELLVILLE – A buzzer-beating three-pointer from Justin Graham gave Arkansas Tech a 103-100 win over Graceland in overtime on Saturday. Graham and Montrell Williams each scored 14 points in the victory, while Trevin Woods led the Wonder Boys with 15 points.
HOW IT HAPPENED
- Arkansas Tech (3-0, 2-0 GAC) struggled from the floor in the first half, shooting just 36.8 percent. Graceland took a 48-39 advantage into halftime with a field-goal percentage of 59.4 percent.
- The Yellowjackets controlled the paint through the first 20 minutes of the contest, outscoring Tech 22-10 inside.
- Graceland’s largest lead of 13 points came less than three minutes into the second half, but back-to-back threes from Montrell Williams sparked an 18-2 run that last nearly five minutes. Williams ended the run with another three-pointer to give the Wonder Boys a 62-59 lead.
- The final 15 minutes of regulation featured seven ties and 11 lead changes. With 55 seconds to play, Bennie Lufile scored on a fast-break layup to put Tech ahead, 87-83. The Yellowjackets scored on the very next possession, however, to keep the deficit at two points.
- With three seconds remaining in the second half, Graceland’s Frank Cimino missed a game-winning attempt from three-point range, but a foul by the Wonder Boys sent Jeremy Deemer to the line with a chance to tie the game. Deemer drained both free-throws to send the game into overtime.
- The five minutes of overtime featured five ties and eight lead changes. After a layup by Deemer put Graceland ahead, 100-99 with 20 seconds remaining, Freddy Lee drew a foul and converted 1-2 free-throws to tie the score at 100.
- On Graceland’s final possession, Lee forced on offensive foul by the Yellowjackets, giving Tech possession with four seconds to go. Then, at the buzzer, Graham’s deep three-point attempt dropped through the net to give the Wonder Boys the win.
- Arkansas Tech greatly improved its shooting in the second half and overtime, posting a field-goal percentage of 50 percent in the final 25 minutes. Tech finished the game shooting 44 percent from the floor.
- Tech committed just 12 turnovers in the game while forcing 24 by the Yellowjackets. The Wonder Boys took advantage of Graceland’s mistakes, scoring 27 points off turnovers, including 19 in the second half and overtime combined.
- Graham’s 14 points came with a team-high five assists. Montrell Williams added four assists and four blocks to go with his 14 points.
- Alex Brown and Lufile added 13 points each, and Branden Williams finished with 12 points and a team-high seven rebounds.
COACH KLINE SAYS
- “They had us on the ropes all day long, and it was good to see we did not back down. In a week where you give thanks, I am thankful that we survived that one.”
- “When we play Freddy and Justin at the same time, we have two good ball handlers, and I think that is what has helped us cut down on turnovers.”
- The Wonder Boys will return to the Great American Conference on Thursday, as the Wonder Boys travel to Shawnee, Okla. to take on Oklahoma Baptist. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.