WEST POINT, N.Y. (11/19/2016) – A 21-3 run to open the second half built a 20-point lead for Arkansas State men’s basketball and the Red Wolves held off a furious rally by Army West Point to take a 60-57 win Saturday at Christl Arena.
A-State (3-1) led 24-22 at halftime, but a 21-3 run in the first six minutes of the second half gave the Red Wolves a 45-25 lead with 14:06 remaining. The Black Knights (1-2) refused to go away though, holding the Red Wolves without a field goal the final 5:10 and without a point the final 3:35.
“You have to give our guys a ton of credit for coming in here and battling defensively,” said head coach Grant McCasland. “Offensively, I thought we made some good adjustments at halftime, but I’ve got to do a better job preparing these guys to know what to do on the offensive end. Ultimately, you got to go make some plays, but we’ve got to get guys in better position to get the ball in the paint. We gave our guys a better chance early in the second half, but then we got complacent. I have to do a better job making sure we remain aggressive throughout the game.”
Army cut the lead to single digits with 4:10 remaining on a 3-pinter by Jordan Fox, cutting A-States lead to 59-50. Devin Carter split a pair of free throws to make it 60-50 with 3:35 left. A pair of free throws by the Black Knights with 52 seconds remaining made it 60-57, but the Red Wolves turned the ball over with 27 seconds remaining.
After a timeout, Army had two looks at a game-tying 3-pointer. Thomas Funk had a look on the left wing with 14 seconds remaining and a loose ball was collected by Kennedy Edward giving the Black Knights one final look. Funk got another look in nearly the same spot, but the shot with five seconds remaining was off the mark with C.J. Foster collecting the long rebound to seal the win.
Carter paced A-State offensively with 11 points while Donte Thomas and Rashad Lindsey added nine points each. Jahmiah Simmons and Tamas Bruce posted season highs of eight rebounds each to help the Red Wolves win the glass 41-35. Mac Hoffman led Army with 17 points while Fox added 15.
Despite struggling early on, A-State finished 40.0 percent (22-55) from the floor and finished 5–for-17 (29.4 percent) from 3-point range. Army ended the night shooting 31.5 percent (17-54) overall and 5-for-20 (25 percent) from beyond the arc. The Red Wolves had a 32-24 edge on points in the paint and held a 19-10 edge in points off turnovers despite committing more turnovers than Army (15-13).
The Red Wolves were 8-of-9 from the field and 3-for-4 from 3-point range to spark the second half run. A-State closed the half 4-of-16 from the field and 0-for-5 from beyond the arc, but was able to hold of the surge by the Black Knights.
It was a sluggish first half for both teams, but the Red Wolves held a 24-22 advantage at halftime. A-State was 10-for-30 (33.3 percent) from the field in the first half, but held Army to 25.8 percent (8-for-31) shooting. The Black Knights struggled from beyond the arc in the first half, hitting 1-of-11 (9.1 percent).
After three turnovers and a missed shot to open the game, A-State grabbed a 10-4 lead on a three point play by Salif Boudie with 11:34 left in the half. The Red Wolves held a 17-13 advantage after a layup by Simms, but Jordan Fox drained a trey to break the 0-for-9 start beyond the arc for the Black Knights.
Army used a 6-2 run to take a 22-19 lead in the closing minute of the half, but a 3-pointer by Connor Kern and a putback slam by Tamas Bruce gave A-State the halftime edge at 24-22.
A-State will take on Chattanooga Sunday at 11 a.m. (CT). That game will air on 107.9 KFIN, but no live video will be available.
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Army finished 25 percent (5-20) from 3-point range, the fourth-straight opponent to shoot 25 percent or less from beyond the arc.
Connor Kern set a career high with seven rebounds. His previous best was four against Central Baptist.
Kern was among six players to set season-highs in rebounds. Tamas Bruce and Jahmiah Simmons each had eight, Kern with his seven, Devin Carter and Deven Simms had five each, and Salif Boudie pulled in three boards.
A-State is 2-0 against first time opponents this season with wins at Georgetown and Army. The Red Wolves had lost their last four road games against first time opponents prior to this season.