Weevils Hold off Tech In Defensive Battle

Courtesy OBU Athletics Department

MONTICELLO — For the fourth time this season, the University of Arkansas at Monticello men’s basketball team held its opponent to less than 50 points in a 56-49 win over Arkansas Tech at home on Thursday.

The low scoring battle with neither team reaching the scoreboard throughout the first three minutes before a layup from ATU’s Willie Kirkland opened the scoring at the 16:32 mark. UAM’s A.J. Calhoun answered on the other end with a jumper in the paint to begin a back-and-forth battle over the next five minutes.

The Boll Weevils (9-5, 4-4 Great American Conference) used a 9-2 scoring run over a period of two minutes to grow UAM’s lead to six points with 7:45 remaining in the opening half. UAM later grabbed its largest lead of the first half on a three-pointer from senior Kori Forge to put UAM on top 23-14 with just over four minutes remaining. ATU (8-6, 5-3 GAC) outscored UAM 5-2 in the final three minutes to give the Boll Weevils a six-point lead of 25-19 at the break.

UAM led for the entire second half, matching its first-half high of a nine-point advantage on two different occasions in the first three minutes of the second half. The Boll Weevils used a 9-0 scoring run later in the half, capped by a fast break layup from junior Jamal Nixon, to grab a double-digit lead of 45-34 with 3:50 remaining in regulation. 

The Boll Weevils hovered around its double-digit lead for the next three minutes before ATU rallied with a pair of three-pointers from Tyler Friedel in the final minute to trim UAM’s lead to five points with six seconds remaining. UAM’s Forge nailed a pair of free throws with two seconds on the clock to finalize the scoring. 

As a team, UAM shot 39 percent from the field (19-of-49), 15 percent on three-pointers (3-of-20) and 58 percent on foul shots (15-of-26). ATU shot 42 percent from the field (18-of-43), 35 percent on three-pointers (9-of-26) and 50 percent on foul shots (4-of-8). 

UAM outrebounded ATU 31-28, including a 9-4 advantage on the offensive glass. The Boll Weevils also forced 25 turnovers in the victory, which led by 17 points.

Forge led UAM with 19 points on a 6-of-13 shooting performance, including three three-pointers. Junior Dayton Mickens added 13 points and six rebounds, while Nixon finished with 11 points, four assists and a career-high six steals.

ATU’s Jared Williamson led all scorers with 20 points. 

The Boll Weevils are back in action this Saturday, January 19 on the road against Harding. Tipoff is set for approximately 7:30 p.m. inside Rhodes Field House in Searcy, Ark.

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