WONDER BOYS FALL 56-44 TO CENTRAL MISSOURI IN OPENING ROUND OF NCAA TOURNAMENT
Tech finishes the season 21-10, 15-5 GAC.
MANKATO, Minn.— Nick Wayman scored 12 points with six rebounds, Marshawn Arnold had six points with five rebounds, and Charles Mells totaled four points and eight rebounds as the Arkansas Tech Wonder Boys (21-10, 15-5 GAC) fell 56-44 to the Central Missouri Mules (25-5) in the opening round of the NCAA Division II Tournament at the Taylor Center on Saturday afternoon.
The Mules started the game on a quick 9-0 run until Marshawn Arnold made a layup at the 15:09 mark. Central Missouri pushed to their largest lead of the first half at 19-8 with 10:05 to play in the first half.
The Wonder Boys battled back and with 8:16 on the clock Charles Mells made a layup to cut the Mules lead to just 21-17. Central Missouri extended the lead to 25-19 after a layup from Dillon Deck at the 3:41 mark but Tech held the Mules to just one more point for the remainder of the half. Meanwhile, the Wonder Boys went 5-for-5 from the line in the final three minutes of the half to tie it up, 26-26 heading into halftime.
At the half, Nick Wayman led the Wonder Boys with seven points. Mells had already collected four rebounds with four points and Arnold added four points with three rebounds. Tech shot 30.8% (8-26) from the field while Central Missouri shot 35.7% (10-28). The Wonder Boys used five steals and 15 points off turnovers to mount the first half comeback.
Central Missouri came out of the half and scored the first four points but the Wonder Boys stayed with them, cutting the lead to 32-30 with 13:43 remaining. The Mules then went on another 9-0 run from the 13:02 mark until Arnold hit a jumper with 9:41 left to play in the game to make it 45-34.
Clarke Overlander knocked down a three followed by a layup from Wayman to cut the Central Missouri lead to 45-39 at the 7:34 mark, but the Mules responded with five quick points of their own to push their lead back up to 50-39. Wayman hit another three at the 6:08 mark but it would not be enough to spark the comeback as they fell 56-44.
The Wonder Boys held the Mules to 34.4% (21-61) shooting but only managed to make 16-of-54 (29.6%) shots from the field. Both teams grabbed 41 rebounds while Tech ended with seven assists, six blocks, and six steals.
Eight players scored for the Wonder Boys with Wayman finishing with a team-high 12 points. Kendell Pinkney had three assists, Mells had four blocks, and Arnold had two steals in the loss.
"I'm just so proud of our team," said Wonder Boys head coach Doug Karleskint. "They battled and fought hard throughout the game and throughout the season."
Tech finishes the season as Great American Conference regular season champions with a 21-10, 15-5 GAC record.