Tory holds off UALR

TROY, Ala. – In this season’s second battle between the best offense and the best defense in the Sun Belt Conference, the offense reversed the script and got the victory.

Troy’s relentless offense combined with a full-court press on defense gave the home team an 86-77 victory over UALR at Trojan Arena on Wednesday night.

UALR (14-11, 9-6 Sun Belt Conference) scored 77 in the game — its highest road total of the season — but it couldn’t keep up with the home side as Troy (11-15, 7-8) had an answer for every UALR burst.

Shanity James had a double-double for UALR, tallying 15 points to lead the team and 13 rebounds. The double-double was her third of the season and first since Jan. 29 against Louisiana.

Three other UALR players reached double figures in scoring with Kiera Clark (14), Taylor Gault (12) and Kaitlyn Pratt (11) all scored more than 10. Freshman Keanna Keys just missed out on that mark with nine points, and Taylor Ford had eight.

With their road schedule now behind it, UALR will close out its regular season with three straight games at home. The first of those three is Saturday against Arkansas State.

Harding remains at No. 2

SEARCY — The Harding women’s basketball team stayed at No. 2 in the NCAA Division II Central Region in the regional rankings released on Wednesday. Harding holds a 25-1 overall record and a 21-1 in-region record.

It is the second straight week Harding has been in the second spot in the rankings behind No. 1 Emporia State.

One more ranking will be released before the 64-team tournament field is announcement on March 9. The next ranking will be released next Wednesday.

Eight teams will make the NCAA Central Region Tournament held March 14-17. Three automatic bids will be awarded to the three conference tournament champions (Great American, MIAA and Northern Sun) and five teams will receive at-large berths based on the rankings.

Lady Reddies battle for seeding

ARKADELPHIA — Having already earned a spot in the GAC Tournament next week, Henderson State is playing for seeding purposes as the Lady Reddies take on Ouachita Baptist in the Southern Bancorp Battle of the Ravine on Thursday at Bill Vining Arena.

Henderson State is currently in sixth-place among eligible teams with Ouachita Baptist, having also clinched a spot in the tournament, in eighth-place.

Henderson State (13-11, 8-10 GAC) will attempt to win their ninth conference game for the first time since 2006 when Henderson went 14-2 as members of the Gulf South Conference.

Krystal Beachum has been playing her best basketball averaging 25.8 points per game in the last five games. The senior from Mexia, Texas, is averaging 16.0 points and 6.6 rebounds per game.

Earlier this week, Beachum was named GAC Player of the Week after averaging 37.0 points, 10.0 rebounds in two games against Southwestern Oklahoma and Northwesterb Oklahoma.

Beachum will also be attempting to become only the ninth player in HSU history to score 1,000 points in a career. In her 78-game career, she has totaled 990 points.

Ouachita Baptist (8-16, 6-12 GAC) averages just 66.6 points per game which ranks eighth in the GAC. OBU has also had its shooting troubles ranking last in the GAC at 37.8 percent shooting.

Nashia James leads the team in scoring averaging 14.6 points per contest. James also leads the team in rebounding pulling down 5.8 boards per game.

The two teams met earlier this season with Henderson State putting on a dominating performance as the Lady Reddies cruised to a 78-49 win.


GAC tourney spot on line for Reddies

ARKADELPHIA — Henderson State and Ouachita Baptist will both be attempting to clinch a spot in next week’s GAC Tournament as the Reddies head to Vining Arena to take on OBU in the Southern Bancorp Battle of the Ravine on Thursday.

Henderson would clinch a spot in the post season event with a win. The Tigers are tied with Southeastern Oklahoma for the final spot with two games to play.

The Reddies (11-15, 7-11 GAC) have lost four of their last five games including a pair of overtime losses.

Deoirvay Johnson leads Henderson State in scoring averaging 13.3 points per game including shooting 47 percent from beyond the arc.

Ouachita Baptist (8-16, 5-13 GAC) is also fighting for one of the last two spots for the GAC Tournament next week.

OBU averages 70.8 points per game which ranks ninth in the GAC. The Tigers are managing 44.7 percent shooting from the field which ranks sixth in the league.

Colt Fason leads the Tigers in scoring averaging 16.7 points per game and is the team’s top rebounder at 8.8 boards per contest which is second-best in the GAC.

OBU won the first meeting this year 61-59 as Micah Delph hit a 15-foot jumper with 3 seconds left.

Wonder Boys remain at No. 7

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The Arkansas Tech Wonder Boys (18-8. 13-5 Great American Conference) basketball team has remained seventh in the Central Region in this week’s NCAA Division II Regional Rankings.

Tech has two regular-season games remaining, as they travel to Harding on Thursday and East Central on Saturday. The Wonder Boys will then compete in the upcoming Great American Conference basketball championships March 6-9 at Bruin Fieldhouse in Bartlesville, Okla.

For the first year, the winner of the GAC Tournament Championship will receive an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, and the top eight teams in the Central Region will advance to NCAA Tournament play.



Golden Suns debut at No. 34 in first-ever ranking

SKILLMAN, N.J. – The Arkansas Tech Golden Suns tennis team has attained its first-ever national ranking, checking in at No. 34 in the first ITA Division II National Team Ranking of 2014.

The Golden Suns (4-1) are one of only four Central Region squads to earn a top-50 ranking, and are the first women’s team in Great American Conference history to be ranked in the ITA poll.

The ranking comes one week after the Golden Suns set a new program high with a No. 2 regional ranking, eclipsing the No. 6 ranking the Golden Suns achieved at the conclusion of fall play.

The Golden Suns return to action on Friday hosting Ouachita Baptist at the Chartwells Women’s Sports Complex.


Harding earns No. 33 ranking

SEARCY - The Harding men’s tennis team moved up six spots to No. 33 in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association NCAA Division II Rankings, released Wednesday.

Harding opened the season with four consecutive victories before losing twice last weekend in Missouri. The Bisons have a road match Friday against 35th-ranked Southwest Baptist and another road match Saturday against 27th-ranked Drury.

Three of the four Great American Conference teams appear in the top 50. Ouachita Baptist is ranked No. 28, and Southeastern Oklahoma is ranked No. 40.

The ITA’s next set of rankings, which will include team, singles and doubles regional rankings, will be released Mar. 19. The next national rankings come out Mar. 26.


Golden Suns grab No. 23 in national poll

RUSSELLVILLE — Spring play has resumed for the Arkansas Tech Golden Suns golf team, and coach Amy White’s squad checks in at No. 23 in this week’s Golfstat Division II Women’s Top-25 poll.

Arkansas Tech has placed in the top three in five of six events played this season, capturing three individual medalist honors, with seven top-five and eight top-ten finishes.

The Golden Suns are one of just four Central Region teams to be ranked in this week’s poll, as Central Oklahoma is ranked No. 8, Northeastern State is ranked No. 19, and Augustana is ranked No. 22.

Tech resumed play this week at the St. Edward’s Spring Invitational, and will next compete at the UCO Kickingbird Classic hosted by the University of Central Oklahoma on March 10-11.



Vikings give Warriors first home loss

CONWAY — After winning three straight at home, the Hendrix College men’s lacrosse team suffered their first loss in Conway, falling 17-3 to Augustana College of Illinois at Warrior Field on Wednesday.

The visiting Vikings (1-0) outshot the Warriors 47-33 and 33-22 on goal. The Warriors (3-2) had an edge in ground balls (44-37) and won 18-of-23 faceoffs, but had more turnovers 22-17. Augustana went 18-of-24 in clear attempts, while Hendrix was 7-of-12. AC was also 4-for-6 on man-up opportunities, while Hendrix was 0-for-7.

Hendrix freshman midfielder Jason Blatt tied the school record with 15 ground balls in the game and went 17-of-21 on faceoffs to go with two caused turnovers.

Hendrix will travel to St. Louis on Saturday to face Fontbonne.