Tech releases basketball schedule

RUSSELLVILLE — The Arkansas Tech Golden Suns and Wonder Boys basketball teams have released their 2013-14 schedules, the Arkansas Tech department of athletics announced Monday.

The Golden Suns will play a slate of 14 home contests, beginning with a contest against Central Baptist on Nov. 8. Tech will host six home games between Nov. 8 and Jan. 1, including a Dec. 1 tilt with in-region opponent Central Missouri and a pair of Great American Conference games against Southeastern Oklahoma and East Central on Dec. 5 and Dec. 7.

The Golden Suns will travel to Winter Park, Fla., for the Rollins Tournament on Dec. 16-17, where Tech will face off against Rollins and Bluefield State.

For coach Doug Karleskint’s Wonder Boys, the slate opens with a pair of exhibitions. Tech opens exhibition play against Stephen F. Austin on Nov. 1 in Nacogdoches, Texas before returning to Tucker Coliseum for an exhibition against the University of the Ozarks on Nov. 4.

The Wonder Boys open regular-season play at the Southwest Baptist tournament on Nov. 8-9, before opening the home portion of the schedule with a 10:30 a.m. matinee on Saturday, Nov. 16 against Midamerica Christian. The Wonder Boys will host a four-team Thanksgiving tournament on Friday and Saturday, Nov. 29-30, as Harding, Midwestern State, and Northeastern State all visit Tucker Coliseum.

Both teams will resume GAC play on Thursday, Jan. 2 in Alva, Okla. against Northwestern Oklahoma, and will return home on Thu., Jan. 9 to face Ouachita Baptist.

For more information, including the full schedules of both teams, visit the Arkansas Tech athletic website at

UALR wraps up first official practic

LITTLE ROCK — The UALR men’s basketball team held its first practice of the 2013-14 season Monday night at the Jack Stephens Center.

The Trojans return eight lettermen and four starters from a team that won 17 games and tied a Jack Stephens Center record with 13 home victories in the 2012-13 season.

"I thought we had good energy and good enthusiasm," said head coach Steve Shields after practice. "You’re always going to have good energy and enthusiasm after practice number one, but we’re really concerned with how it goes on practice number 12 and practice number 25, if the same energy and enthusiasm are there."

This season marks the first in which teams are able to begin practice 42 days prior to their first game. UALR opens its season against North Florida on Nov. 11 at the Jack Stephens Center, tipping off one of the toughest non-conference schedules in the country. The Trojans’ slate includes dates at Florida (Nov. 16), Middle Tennessee (Nov. 18), Southern (Nov. 22), Oklahoma (Nov. 29), Tulsa (Dec. 7) and Memphis (Dec. 13) before Sun Belt Conference play begins in January.

Shields begins his 11th season at the reigns of the UALR program as the winningest active coach in the Sun Belt. Shields boasts more league wins (81) and a higher winning percentage in conference play (.614) than any other active coach.

Playing with one of the youngest rosters in the country in 2012-13, UALR finished with a 17-15 overall record and an 11-9 mark in conference play. Of the 20 youngest teams in the country last season, UALR was one of just four (along with Michigan, Kentucky and Hartford) to finish above .500 in conference play, and one of just six to finish above .500 overall (along with Michigan, Kentucky, Hartford, Charlotte and St. John’s).