ARLINGTON, Texas. (2/11/17) – Arkansas State erased a 13-point second half deficit and tied the game, but UT Arlington held off the Red Wolves in an 81-75 decision at the College Park Center Saturday.
The loss snapped a seven-game win streak for A-State, but the Red Wolves remain tied for first in the Sun Belt with an overall record of 18-7 and league mark of 9-3. UT Arlington joins the crowd atop the league standings improving to 18-6 overall and 8-3 in Sun Belt play with the win.
Rashad Lindsey led the Red Wolves with 19 points while Deven Simms, battling the flu, had 17 points off the bench, all of which came in the second half. Devin Carter added 16 points and a team best nine rebounds. Kevin Hervey led the Mavericks with 19 points and nine boards.
A-State posted a higher field goal percentage on the game, .519 to .446, but the Mavericks outscored the Red Wolves 26-14 at the charity stripe. UTA was 26-of-34 (76.5 percent) at the line while A-State finished at 56 percent (14-25). UTA won the boards 34-32, but A-State held an 18-13 edge in the second half.
How It Happened (First Half):
Rashad Lindsey scored 10 points in the first six plus minutes and A-State held a 16-11 advantage. UT Arlington held the Red Wolves without a point for the next six minutes and built a 23-16 lead before Donte Thomas ended the 12-0 run.
The Mavericks outscored A-State 15-8 the remainder of the half to lead 38-27 at the break. A-State hit 42 percent (10-24) from the floor and 43 percent (3-7), but eight turnovers and 4-of-9 (44 percent) helped the hosts build the lead. UTA was 46 percent (13-28) from the field and 27 percent (3-11) beyond the arc, but converted 9-of-12 (75 percent) at the charity stripe.
How It Happed (Second Half):
UT Arlington scored the first bucket of the half, but A-State went on a 9-2 run after that to cut the deficit to 42-36 early in the period. The Mavericks regained a double-digit lead and held it until A-State erased a 13-point deficit, 60-47, by going on 23-10 spurt.
Simms scored all 17 of his points in the second half while battling the flu, scoring his final of 17 points to knot the score at 70 all with 4:31 to play. The Mavericks scored the next four points to regain a lead, but Devin Carter answered with a triple to make it 74-73 with 2:44 left. After UTA converted a layup, Carter knocked down a pair of free throws to make it 76-75 and the Mavericks split a pair of free throws to make it 77-75 with 1:10 left.
Donte Thomas was fouled with 26 seconds remaining and the Red Wolves down by two, but missed both free throws. The Mavericks went on to make their next four attempts and set the final score of 81-75.
The Red Wolves shot 61 percent (17-28) from the field in the second half and hit 4-of-8 (50 percent) from 3-point range. A-State converted 10-of-16 (63 percent) at the charity stripe, but the Mavericks were 17-of-22 (77 percent) at the line. The Red Wolves held the Mavericks to 43 percent (12-28) from the field and 15 percent (2-13) beyond the arc in the second half.
Donte Thomas finished with seven assists on the night and has 152 for the season, eighth-most in single season program history.
Donte Thomas tied his career high with two blocks, previously set against Little Rock on Jan. 18, 2016.
A-State is now 7-1 in games decided by six or fewer points.
Quoting Coach McCasland:
“We definitely settled in after the first half. You have to give UTA credit because they compete so hard defensively and have such great pace to the way they run their offense. I think we got sped up a little more than we wanted early and it was a great game for us to prove that we are ready to compete in this league, especially on the road. I thought the second half showed that we have a group of guys that want to fight and want to win together. We did get some good efforts from a few different guys, but I thought there were some loose balls in those pivotal moments that we didn’t get that led to baskets for them. I think we’ll look back on those and didn’t make those plays. We’ve got to do better at the free throw line and we missed the front end of some one-and-one’s and we missed some down the stretch, but I think we have guys that will step up and make those. I’m proud of our team for the way we competed and found a way to get back into it, but now we’ve got to find a way to get over the hump.
I think Deven’s effort just shows the heart of this team. We’ve got guys that pick each other up when you’re not feeling great or pick each other up when things aren’t going great. There is a lot of belief there and we talked to them at halftime about what we needed to do defensively. If you look at the numbers, we did a good job guarding them defensively and held them to 20 percent from the 3-point line. I thought at the rim, they made a few plays that we need to do a better job on, but we limited them there. They just got to the free throw line too many times. They went to the free throw line 34 times, but I felt like we were doing a pretty good job of being physical and trying to show our hands, but it just didn’t work out that way today.”
The Red Wolves travel to Texas State to complete the Texas swing with Monday’s game scheduled for a 7:00 p.m. tipoff.