JONESBORO, Ark. (12/22/17) – Seven players reached double figures as the Arkansas State men’s basketball team closed non-conference play Friday night at First National Bank Arena with a 99-68 victory over Culver-Stockton College.
Tamas Bruce paced A-State (5-8) with 16 points while Rashad Lindsey (15), Marquis Eaton (14), Connor Kern (12), Grantham Gillard (11), Ty Cockfield (10) and Andrew Riley (10) also had double figures. Tristin Walley and Salif Boudie each had seven rebounds to lead the team while Deven Simms dished out a career high six assists. Mike Johnson led Culver-Stockton (3-9) with 17 points.
The Red Wolves shot 55 percent (36-65) from the floor and 46 percent (10-22) beyond the arc while out-rebounding the Wildcats 35-28. Culver-Stockton shot 44 percent (24-55) overall and 38 percent (11-29) from 3-point range, but 20 turnovers helped A-State to a 29-5 margin in points off turnovers. The A-State bench outscored the visitors 53-13 and the Red Wolves held a 15-4 advantage in fast break points.
How It Happened (First Half):
The Red Wolves and Wildcats traded baskets through much of the first five minutes. Culver-Stockton took an 18-17 lead at 12:41, but the Red Wolves used a 22-3 run to lead 39-21 with 6:21 left. The Wildcats pulled within 10, but A-State closed the half on a 9-1 run to lead 52-34 at the break.
A-State had 10 players enter in the first 20 minutes with nine of those scoring. Lindsey had 11 first half points behind 3-of-3 shooting beyond the arc. The Red Wolves shot 57 percent (20-35) from the field and 7-of-13 (54 percent) from 3-point range. Culver-Stockton was 43 percent (12-28) overall and 46 percent (6-13) from long range.
The Red Wolves had an 18-14 advantage on the glass and outscored the Wildcats 22-10 in the paint. A-State turned 10 Wildcat turnovers into a 14-2 advantage in points off turnovers.
How It Happened (Second Half):
A pair of free throws by Cockfield opened the scoring in the second half and Culver-Stockton was unable to get within 20 points the remainder of the game. A 12-3 run by A-State expanded the lead to 30, 88-58, with 5:34 to play and the Red Wolves cruised to the 99-68 final.
The Red Wolves shot 53 percent (16-30) in the second half, but hit only 3-of-9 (33 percent) beyond the arc. A-State was 12-of-14 (86 percent) at the charity stripe and finished the night 17-of-20 (85 percent). Culver-Stockton shot 44 percent (12-27) from the field, but cooled off from 3-point range hitting 5-of-16 (31 percent) in the second half.
- Tamas Bruce had a season high 16 points, three shy of his career high of 19 points.
- Marquis Eaton notched career bests of 14 points and two steals.
- Deven Simms had career bests of six assists and four steals.
- Salif Boudie equaled his career best with seven rebounds for the third time this season.
- A-State had a season high 18 assists and a season low seven turnovers.
Quoting Coach Balado:
“This was obviously a great win, but it’s a game we should’ve won. I told our guys all week that I wanted to build on the momentum we had winning at FAU and the way we played at Wichita State. The funny thing after that Wichita State game was all the guys were upset and thought we should’ve won. That’s the attitude we want here and I told our guys to come out tonight and work on our offense and defense.”
“A big emphasis for us tonight was lower turnovers, pick up the steal total and lower the defensive field-goal percentage. If you look at the numbers, we kept them under 45 percent and we got more than 10 steals. We only had seven turnovers tonight and I wanted to get 2-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio in a game and we were able to accomplish that tonight. I’m glad everybody got to play, even though I know their minds were at home a little bit to start the game, but the guys adjusted on their own and did what we needed to do.”
A-State opens Sun Belt Conference play on Friday, Dec. 29 at 7:30 p.m. against ULM inside First National Bank Arena.