TROY, Ala. (3/2/17) – Arkansas State trailed by 20 with eight minutes to play and pulled within four points twice, but fell short at Troy Thursday night by a score of 81-72.
Tamas Bruce had team highs with 16 points and 15 rebounds for his second double-double on the year. Devin Carter (14), Deven Simms (13), Rashad Lindsey (11) and Donte Thomas (10) also posted double figures for A-State. Jordon Varnado had 20 points to lead the Trojans while DeVon Walker added 18 points and seven rebounds.
A-State shot 33.8 percent (26-77) on the night and struggled to 4-for-20 (20 percent) from 3-point range. Behind a strong second half at the charity stripe, A-State finished 69.6 percent (16-23), but the Trojans buried free throws late to the tune of 27-of-37 (73 percent) on the night. Troy shot 46 percent (23-50) from the field and 8-of-24 (33 percent) beyond the arc.
The Red Wolves won the battle on the boards 47-39 behind a 20-5 edge on the offensive glass. A-State also had a commanding edge in the paint, outscoring the Trojans 44-26. The Red Wolves had just nine turnovers on the night and turned 13 Troy turnovers into a 17-8 advantage in points off turnovers.
How It Happened (First Half):
After trading baskets the first few trips down the court to see the scored tied at 4-4, Troy used a 13-0 run to take a 17-4 lead. Troy opened the game making 7-of-10 from the floor and 3-of-4 from 3-point range, but A-State held the Trojans to 6-of-19 (.316) the remainder of the half.
Although the Trojans cooled off from the field, A-State was unable to trim the early deficit to fewer than five points. Shooting 5-for-18 (.278), the Red Wolves trailed 26-12 with 9:29 to go in the period. A-State used an 11-2 run to close the deficit to 28-23, but the Trojans took a 34-27 lead to the halftime break.
Tamas Bruce had seven points and seven rebounds in the period in just eight minutes of action. Simms added eight points while Lindsey had five points in the frame. A-State closed the first half shooting 36.4 percent (12-33) from the floor compared to 44.8 percent (13-29) for the Trojans.
How It Happed (Second Half):
A-State opened the second half 3-for-18 (.167) from the floor allowing the Trojans to build a 20-point cushion with 8:20 to play. The Red Wolves used a 21-5 surge over the next five minutes to trail 67-63 with 2:54 to play.
The Red Wolves pulled within four points twice, but shots didn’t fall and the Trojans hit free throws to set the final score of 81-72. Troy hit 23-of-33 (69.7 percent) at the charity stripe in the second half and was 10-of-21 (47.6 percent) from the floor. A-State knocked down 15-of-19 (78.9 percent) at the free throw line, but the early struggle from the floor limited the Red Wolves to 14-of-44 (31.8 percent) in the half.
A-State had 20 offensive rebounds in a game for the first time since grabbing 21 against Austin Peay on Dec. 16, 2012.
With three 3-pointers, Devin Carter has 94 this season. He is three shy of the single-season record of 97 set by Adrian Banks in the 2006-07 season.
With five assists tonight, Donte Thomas has 167 this season moving to sixth on the single-season ranks. He needs four more to tie Chico Fletchers fifth-place rank set in 1996-97.
Quoting Coach McCasland:
“I was extremely proud of our effort down the stretch. I told them in the lockeroom that this is a team that can get going offensively and we let them get going too early. They made some great shots and were like 60 percent from the field and 50 percent from 3-point range at the first media timeout. The question was if we could push through and find a way. I was thrilled with our effort down the stretch, but give them credit. DeVon Walker made a huge timely three and Wesley Person stepped up and made one too. They stepped up and made shots when they needed them. There is a lot we can build on from here as we go over to Mobile and play South Alabama.
The Red Wolves close the regular season with a 3:05 game at South Alabama on Saturday.