Alva Review-Courier -

Muleriders close out 2018 with GAC win at Arkansas Tech behind dominant paint presence

 

December 14, 2018



RUSSELLVILLE, Ark. – Senior forward Wesley Nosakhare delivered ten points and ten rebounds to highlight four Muleriders in double figures on Wednesday night and Southern Arkansas dominated inside the paint as they closed out the 2018 portion of their schedule with a 79-65 win over Arkansas Tech in Great American Conference action from inside Tucker Coliseum. The win is the third-consecutive victory for SAU over the Wonder Boys and pushes the team's record to 8-2 overall which stands as the best ten game start to a season since the 2001-02 team started 8-2.

The Muleriders (8-2, 3-1 GAC) stayed atop the GAC standings as both #11/14 Southern Nazarene and Southeastern Oklahoma are also 3-1 in league play.

The Muleriders trailed for the game's first 15-plus minutes before a successful three-pointer from sophomore guard Aaron Lucas tied the game at 35 with 4:46 to play in the first half. Less than 50 seconds later, Lucas connected again from deep to give SAU a 38-35 advantage and moments after Tech tied the game with a three-pointer, sophomore guard Gabe Gilliam knocked down a jumper from the right elbow to put the Muleriders up 40-38 with a lead that they would not relinquish.

SAU carried a four-point lead into the halftime break and it would slowly grow to seven points by the 11:56 mark of the second half following a three-point bucket by senior guard Snyder Cenecharles. Free throws on the next Tech possession brought the hosts to within five points at 60-55 and stood as only two of Tech's four charity stripe points inside a field goal scoring drought that began at the 13:17 mark and lasted almost nine minutes through the 4:24 mark.

Southern Arkansas had already taken advantage as the Muleriders' lead stood at 71-59 with under 4:30 to play and Tech would be unable to draw any closer than a dozen points of SAU down the stretch.

It was an impressive showing inside for Southern Arkansas as the Muleriders outscored Arkansas Tech 34-12 in the paint, including 16-2 in the second half of play. SAU also corralled a season-high 49 rebounds, including 21 on the offensive end, while the Wonder Boys managed just 29 total boards.

Arkansas Tech entered the contest having attempted 305 three-point shots in 2018; 56 more than the next GAC team. It was no different for the Wonder Boys on Wednesday evening as the team shot 31 times from three-point land; while converting 11 including 6-of-20 shooting from beyond-the-arc in the final twenty minutes. The Muleriders knocked down one less three-point shot in nine fewer attempts as the team's 10-of-22 mark from beyond-the-arc was the second-best trifecta shooting effort this season and came in a season-low attempt total.

SAU turned 13 Tech turnovers into 17 total points and did not allow their opponent to score a bucket off of a turnover in the second half.

Sophomore DeVante Brooks finished with 14 points and six rebounds, while Lucas and senior CJ Elkins each added ten points. Lucas finished with three boards, three assists, one steal and a block, while Elkins chipped in with a pair of rebounds, a steal and one block. Nosakhare added a steal and a block as well, while senior Draylan Perkins collected three steals as the Muleriders registered eight steals for the sixth time this season.

Cenecharles finished 3-for-3 from deep with four boards and freshman Jalen Brooks produced seven rebounds and eight points.

Southern Arkansas returns to action in 2019 and will do so on the road in the team's first Oklahoma road swing of the season which features a Thursday, January 3, matchup in Alva against Northwestern Oklahoma at 7:30 p.m. and a Saturday, January 5, meeting in Weatherford at 3 p.m. Visit http://www.MuleriderAthletics.com for continuing coverage of Mulerider Basketball.

 

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