Monday, 11 March 2024 07:10


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SHAWNEE, Okla. – Arkansas Tech overcame an early deficit and produced its top offensive output of the 2024 Great American Conference Men’s Basketball Championships as the Wonder Boys scored a 72-57 victory against upset-minded Southern Nazarene on Sunday from FireLake Arena.

Trailing 19-11 midway through the first half the Wonder Boys (25-6) went on a 20-4 run and carried a 33-27 lead into halftime. Tech dominated inside, outscoring the Crimson Storm (16-14) by a 20-8 margin in the paint.

In the second half, Tournament MVP Cassius Brooks connected on 5-of-9 shots, including the Wonder Boys’ only two 3-pointers as they never relinquished the lead. Their 3-point defense improved dramatically as Southern Nazarene converted just 1-of-11 3-point attempts in the second half after making 5-of-9 tries in the opening 20 minutes.

Brooks earned MVP honors after scoring 21 points on Sunday and averaging 21.3 points across the three victories. He added eight rebounds against the Crimson Storm. Tommy Kamarad and Kade Shaffer also represented Tech on the eight-man team. Kamarad averaged 13.0 points and 8.3 rebounds while Shaffer added 4.3 assists per game. The Wonder Boys made GAC history as they became the first men’s program to win three GAC Basketball Championship titles.

Ben Baker-McCann, Jonas Visser and Benno Zecic placed on the All-Tournament Team. Baker-McCann shot 57.1 percent for the tournament and averaged 14.7 points. Visser went 17-for-22 from the floor in the three games. Zecic tallied eight assists against the Wonder Boys and matched the tournament record with 24 total assists.

Northwestern Oklahoma State’s Brian Free and Southeastern Oklahoma State’s Brennen Burns rounded out the All-Tournament Team. Free averaged 13.0 points per game and made 6-of-10 from the 3-point arc. Burns averaged 23.0 points and 5.5 assists.

The Wonder Boys will learn their destination and first-round opponent during Sunday night’s selection show. It streams on at 10:00 p.m. Arkansas Tech’s last NCAA Tournament appearance came in 2017. The Wonder Boys made eight trips to the NCAA Tournament between 2009 and 2017.



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