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Men’s hoops wins fourth matchup versus ATU, completes season sweep of Wonder Boys

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Reddie Athletics

Reddies complete season sweep of Arkansas Tech.

Teuana Smith, Sports Reporter

As the regular season nears its end, Henderson State moved ahead with the destination in mind. In order to get a leg up in the GAC tournament, closing out the season strong was vital to secure that opportunity for a high seed in the postseason.

The next marker on the road to what could be a back-to-back conference title was Arkansas Tech, a team Henderson fared well against this season, winning all three of their meetings with the Wonder Boys.

The game was tied just three minutes after tip off with Xavier Davenport’s quick three-pointer. Both teams hustled on both ends of the court fighting for the upper hand, but Henderson was still forced to play catch up much of the first ten minutes. 

The Reddies eventually found their niche, catalyzed by two back-to-back layups by junior guard Malik Riddle and senior forward Raekwon Rodgers. With a 20-15 lead, Henderson maintained it with some crucial plays to compile a 13-2 run with nine and a half minutes left. Emphatic play from HSU’s Drake Wilkes stretched their lead over Tech to twelve, 34-22. 

Arkansas Tech turned their offense up a notch, slashing the Reddies’ lead down to seven. In an attempt to protect the lead, Davenport’s efforts resulted in a slight injury and raised concern for possible efficiency from him the rest of the game. Henderson pressed forward nevertheless as they were in the zone, pushing their biggest lead of the game to 14, leading ATU 61-47.

The Wonder Boys did not back down and gave a rough attempt to get back on top. ATU’s efforts came up short, and Henderson took over the game, never looking back. Rodgers and Riddle converted a perfect alley-oop for the dagger.

The Reddies defeated Arkansas Tech University, 83-70. Rodgers led the team with a double-double, 23 points and 11 rebounds. Riddle was next in line with 18 points, and Yuri Swinford ended with 12 rebounds, a career high.

“We gotta get off to better starts, play with a little more energy. Really happy that we got the win… the guys made plays when they needed to and came out with a win today so we’re happy about that,” said Reddies’ head coach Jimmy Elgas after the game.

Henderson will now prepare to host Ouachita Baptist University in the final meeting of the two teams in the regular season on Feb. 22.