JONESBORO, Ark. (12/1/12) – The Arkansas State University men’s basketball team turned in a better performance than in its previous game, but not good enough to come out on top as the Red Wolves suffered a 72-65 loss to Florida Atlantic this Saturday (Dec. 1) night in Sun Belt Conference (SBC) action at the FAU Arena in Boca Raton, Fla.
The Owls snapped a 58-all tie with just under five minutes to go in the game and never relinquished their lead. FAU would tally six of the next seven points in the next minute to claim a five-point advantage at 64-59 at the 2:58 mark. The Red Wolves were able to cut the Owls’ lead back to three points on as many occasions, including 66-63 with 38 seconds remaining as freshman guard Cameron Golden sank both free throws. However, ASU was forced to foul in order to preserve time but the Owls seized the opportunity by making good on all of their final six charity stripe shots to secure the win.
A-State drops to 4-3 overall and is 0-2 in Sun Belt Conference play after suffering its second straight league loss while FAU improves to 3-4 on the season and 1-1 in the SBC.
The combination of Greg Gantt and Stefan Moody sparked the Owls with game-best totals of 29 and 22 points, respectively as the duo accounted for 71 percent (51-72) of the team’s scoring production. Gantt scored 23 points in the opening half and Moody tallied 12 in the second frame as the pair were the only two Owls to register double figures.
“We let their two best players (Greg Gnatt and Stefan Moody) beat us and they (Florida Atlantic) made some big shots,” said fifth-year ASU head coach John Brady. “We can’t win on the road if we don’t defend and we’re a team that can’t make many plays right now. We have some guys who aren’t able to step up and make plays on the road so we have a lot of work to do this week.”
Arkansas State, which had four players register double digits in the scoring department, was led by senior guard Marcus Hooten and junior forward Kendrick Washington, who also grabbed eight rebounds. Both produced a squad-leading 12 points as the Red Wolves struggled shooting from the floor at 37.5% (21-56). Senior forward Brandon Peterson had a pair of 10 as in points and rebounds to post his third double-double of this season. Freshman guard Raeford “Gator” Worsham came off the A-State bench to tally 10 points and had seven boards in 23 minutes.
The first half, which featured five lead changes and three ties, concluded with ASU having a 33-30 lead at the half as the Red Wolves hit for 44% (11-25) in the opening 20 minutes. Unfortunately, the Owls came out in the second half by scoring eight consecutive points in the first four-plus minutes to erase a six-point deficit and claim a 38-36 advantage at 16:36. The second half proved to be A-State’s undoing as the Red Wolves allowed FAU to shoot 54.5% (12-22) from the floor and 87.5% (14-16) at the line. The Owls would finish the contest making good on 46.9% (23-49) in field goals. On the flip side, ASU managed to connect for only 32.3% (10-31) in the second frame and was 23.1% (3-13) from above the arc en route to a 36.8% (7-19) clip in three-point attempts.
“We played better tonight than Thursday night, but we still didn’t do it at the right times,” said Brady. “We had breakdowns, didn’t finish, and couldn’t defend. Our effort was good, but misplaced as we had some untimely missed shots and didn’t guard as good as we should have.”
Florida Atlantic’s success on its home floor against A-State continues as the Red Wolves have never achieved a win over their conference foe in Florida to date.
The Red Wolves will be idle to take their final exams before resuming action next Saturday, Dec. 8, versus the St. Bonaventure Bonnies at the ASU Convocation Center in Jonesboro, Ark. A 2:05 p.m. (CT) start time is scheduled and tickets for the non-conference matchup may be purchased by contacting the ASU Ticket Office at (870) 972-2781 or 1-888-ASU-FANS.
AStAte Notes: Brandon Peterson posted his third double-double of this season with 10 points and rebounds apiece against Florida Atlantic ... Raeford Worsham netted his third double-figure scoring game in his last four outings with 10 points versus FAU. Worsham was held scoreless in Thursday's (11/29) conference opener at FIU ... Kendrick Washington snapped a four-game streak of single digit points with a 10-point effort at FAU ... Ed Townsel had his season-opening six-game double-figure scoring string snapped as a result of tallying five points off the bench at Florida Atlantic ... Brandon Peterson's 10 rebounds versus FAU moved into 10th place on A-State's all-time rebounding list, surpassing Jim Ward's (1953-55) 650 career boards. Peterson has presently accumulated 656 career rebounds in 103 contests.