Alva Review-Courier -

Late free throws sink Golden Suns


January 6, 2019

ADA, Okla.– Jacie Higgins and Hannah Villines turned in 17-point efforts, but the Arkansas Tech Golden Suns basketball team was unable to complete its comeback rally as East Central (9-2, 4-2) took advantage of free-throw opportunities after a blocking call with 0.2 seconds remaining, topping the Golden Suns 61-59 on Saturday at the Kerr Activities Center.


Arkansas Tech returns to action on Thursday, Jan. 10, hosting Southern Nazarene at Tucker Coliseum. A 5:30 p.m. tip-off is scheduled.


Arkansas Tech controlled the pace early, opening up a seven-point (15-8) lead midway through the opening quarter and taking a four-point (18-14) advantage after the opening quarter.

Tech grew its lead to nine (29-20) midway through the second quarter and held its lead at nine (31-22) before ECU scored the final five points of the second quarter to pull to within four (31-27) at the half.

The Golden Suns continued to hold East Central at arm's length through the third quarter, but ECU chipped away at the Tech lead to pull to within two (41-39) at the end of the third quarter.

The Tigers knotted the game at 44 on a 3-pointer by Madison Nickens with 8:10 to play, and would edge ahead, but a 3-pointer by Leighton Taylor put Tech back on top 50-48 with 5:19 remaining.

ECU knotted the game on its next possession and pulled ahead again, claiming a five-point (56-51) lead with 1:17 to play.

After Tech cut its deficit to two (58-56) with just over 30 seconds to play on a long 3-pointer by Jayana Sanders, ECU split a pair of free throws with 27 seconds remaining and the Golden Suns took a timeout to set up a potential game-tying shot.

Jacie Higgins was fouled early in the possession and split a pair of free throws, and a jump ball gave the ball back to Tech with 15.7 seconds to play.

Higgins drained a pull-up jumper from the charity stripe with 5.2 seconds to play to tie the game at 59-59.

A blocking foul was called with 0.2 seconds on the clock against the Golden Suns sending Lakin Preisner to the line to shoot a pair. Presiner hit both to give ECU a 61-59 lead, giving the Tigers the final margin of victory.


Both defenses did an outstanding job challenging shots, as Tech outshot ECU 32.8 to 31.3 percent.

The Golden Suns held a 48-45 rebounding advantage.

Tech committed 21 turnovers to ECU's nine.

Tech held a 16-11 advantage in second-chance points, but ECU held a 16-7 advantage in points off turnovers, a 13-5 advantage in bench points, a 22-12 advantage in points in the paint and a 4-2 advantage in fast-break points.


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