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HSU leaves Arkansas Tech ‘wondering’ after win in Russellville

Teuana Smith, Sports Reporter

The Henderson State Reddies hit the road for a trip to face Arkansas Tech for the third time this season. Arkansas Tech sits at 3-4 in GAC play. The Reddies are now 4-5 with nine games left this season. 

In the early goings, neither team could get off on the right foot to begin building a run the first half of the game. Nearly three minutes in, HSU’s Jeremiah Toney, a senior forward, was the first to score as a result of making both of his free throws. 

As a response to Toney’s efforts, the team then turned up the heat on the court, as they went on a 14-0 run and gained a large lead approaching the 14:47 mark. Good defense by the Reddies allowed Arkansas Tech to only score sporadically. By the time there was 1:30 left, Tech reduced the gap down to two points before both teams went into shooting droughts to end the half with HSU ahead, 28-26.

The Wonder Boys wasted no time getting to work in the second half, stealing the lead 30-28. Reddies’ senior forwards Raekwon Rodgers and Toney played catch-up, bringing the point margin down to one, 36-35. Xavier Davenport pushed the Reddies back into the lead with a wet jumper, following his three-point shot one play prior (42-41). 

Making plays on both ends of the floor, with five minutes left, the Reddies got into a groove and maintained it until time expired, leaving Tech scoreless for almost four minutes. Malik Riddle, one of the Reddies’ emerging transfer players this season, ignited a scoring run that Arkansas Tech couldn’t break.

Riddle received help from Rodgers, junior guard Damien Dear, and Toney, who had a thunderous jam down the floor to put the dagger in the Wonder Boys’ hopes of a comeback. Davenport brought in the last point of the game at the free throw line to cement the score at 61-53. 

Riddle led all HSU scorers with 16 points and Toney right behind him with 15, and Rodgers at 10. The Reddies’ next outing will take place on Saturday, Feb. 8 at Duke-Wells against Southern Arkansas. This will be their third time matching up with the Muleriders this season.