Game 14: Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders (11-3; 3-0 SBC) at Arkansas State Red Wolves (8-5; 2-2 SBC)

January 3, 2013  l  ASU Convocation Center

Jonesboro, Arkansas  l  7:05 p.m. (CT)

AUDIO BROADCAST: EAB Sports Radio Network (107.9 KFIN-FM, flagship) – Matt Stolz (Play-By-Play) 

TV: None

Tip Off:  The Arkansas State University men's basketball team will open the 2013 New Year with a three-game Sun Belt Conference (SBC) homestand in Jonesboro, Ark.  The Red Wolves begin action on their home floor this Thursday (Jan. 3) evening versus the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders at the ASU Convocation Center with a 7:05 p.m. (CT) start time scheduled.          

2012-13 A-StAte Ticket Information: Individual single-game ticket prices for the 2012-13 ASU men's basketball season are $12 for the upper center area, $10 for the upper side, $8 for the upper wings, $6 for children and senior citizens (age 55+), and $5 group rate purchase of 12 tickets or more.  Tickets may be purchased through the ASU Box Office by calling 870-972-2781 or 888-ASU-FANS.  Ticket information for the 2012-13 season is also available on ASU Athletics official website –

The Records: Arkansas State (8-5, 2-2 Sun Belt).  The Red Wolves finished out 2012 with a 63-54 conference road victory over South Alabama last Saturday (12/29) night at USA's Mitchell Center in Mobile, Ala.  A-State, which is midst a current two-game winning streak, has posted a 5-1 home ledger while the Red Wolves are 2-4 on the road and 0-0 in neutral site encounters this season.  Middle Tennessee (11-3, 3-0 Sun Belt).  The Blue Raiders extended their winning streak to four straight with a 75-57 conference home victory over North Texas Monday (12/31) night in Murfreesboro.  MTSU is 3-2 on the road, 8-0 at home, and 0-1 at neutral sites this season. A season ago, MTSU registered a 27-7 record overall with a first-place 14-2 SBC East Division mark.  The Blue Raiders were 15-2 at home, 11-4 on the road, and 1-1 at neutral sites. 

The Coaches:  Arkansas State – John Brady (Bellhaven, 1976), 5th season, 69-71 (.493); Career - 350-287 (.549) – (3-3 vs. MTSU).  Brady was named the 2009-10 SBC Coach of the Year and the District VII Coach of the Year by the United States Basketball Writers Association (USBWA).  He served six seasons (1991-97) as head coach at Samford and then spent 10-plus seasons (1997-08) in a head coaching capacity at LSU.  Brady guided LSU to two SEC Championship titles along with four NCAA Tournament appearances, which included a Final Four appearance in the 2005-06 season.  Middle Tennessee – Kermit Davis (Mississippi State, 1982), 11th season, 191-136 (.584); Career: 18th season, 328-211 (.609) – (11-5 vs. ASU).  Davis, a two-time (2003 and 2012) SBC Coach of the Year Award recipient, is the program’s all-time winningest coach and ranks second among active SBC coaches in league victories.  The former LSU associate head coach for five seasons under John Brady earned the 2012 NABC District 24 Coach of the Year honors along with 2008 and 2010 College Insider SBC Coach of the Year accolades.  He also has served as head coach at Southwest Mississippi CC (1984-86), Idaho (1988-90 and 1996-97), Texas A&M (1990-91), and Chipola JC (1993-94).  Davis was tabbed as the Big Sky Conference’s Coach of the Year twice (1989 and 1990) at Idaho.    

About Middle Tennessee:  MTSU is presently led in scoring by senior guard Marcos Knight (12.1 ppg.) and junior forward Shawn Jones (10.1 ppg.), who have combined for 31.9% (312-978) of the squad’s points production to date this campaign.  The two also lead the Blue Raiders in rebounding as Jones (6.5 rpg.) and Knight (5.6 rpg.) rank one and two, respectively.  Nationally, Jones is 84th in double-doubles (three) while senior guard Raymond Cintron ranks 151st in three-point field goals per game (2.23 avg.) and junior guard Tweety Knight is 187th in steals an outing (1.69 avg.). MTSU ranks 23rd among the national leaders in three-point field goal defense (27.9%) while the Blue Raiders are 42nd in scoring defense (59.2 ppg.), 60th in scoring margin (10.3 pts.), 64th in turnover margin (2.7), and 86th in steals (8.2 spg.). 

All-Time Series: Middle Tennessee has a 14-13 edge in the all-time series which originated in the 1947-48 season.  ASU dropped a 48-33 decision to the Blue Raiders in the inaugural 1947-48 meeting.

• The Red Wolves are 3-4 in their last seven matchups, which includes a 2-1 home ledger.  The two teams split a pair of contests last season as ASU dropped a 59-46 road decision in Murfreesboro, Tenn. (1/19) before claiming a 2012 SBC Tournament Second-Round 64-61 triumph over the top-seeded Blue Raiders (3/4) at the Summit Arena in Hot Springs, Ark.

• ASU is averaging 64.7 points per game (453 pts.) to MTSU’s 67.1 points an outing (470 pts.) in the last seven meetings.  Twelve of the last 14 matchups have been decided by 10 points or less, including nine by four points or less.  The Red Wolves are 5-4 in those outings where the margin is four points or less.  

• In last season’s two encounters, Marcus Hooten averaged a team-best 15.0 ppg. (30 pts.) and Trey Finn recorded a 13.5 ppg. average (27 pts.).  Brandon Peterson was ASU’s top rebounder at 9.0 rpg. (18 rebs.) and Trey Finn recorded a 6.0 rpg. average (12 rebs.).

In The Sun Belt Conference:  The Red Wolves are 173-175 (.497) since joining the Sun Belt Conference (SBC) in the 1991-92 season, which includes a season-best 14-4 (.778) mark in the 1997-98 campaign.

• A-State is 36-17 at home and 15-15 on the road since the 2006-07 season.

• ASU head coach John Brady has posted a 35-37 record (.486) in Sun Belt Conference contests since his arrival in the 2008-09 season, which consists of a 25-10 home ledger and a 10-27 away mark.

• The Red Wolves are 26-21 (.553) in January conference games dating back to 2006-07, which consists of a 19-6 home mark and a 7-15 road ledger.  ASU’s best performance was a 7-1 record in the 2009-10 season as the Red Wolves went 4-0 at home and 3-1 on the road en route to a 17-14 overall mark.

• A-State posted a fifth-place 6-10 league mark in the 2011-12 season – 5-3 at home and 1-7 on the road.

January Matchups: ASU has registered a 27-24 record (.529) in January games dating back to the 2006-07 season.  The Red Wolves are 20-6 at home, 7-18 on the road, and 0-0 at neutral sites.  ASU’s best performance during that span was in the 2009-10 campaign when the Red Wolves posted a 7-2 mark, which featured a 4-0 ledger.  The Red Wolves were 2-6 in January encounters (2-3 at home) a season ago.  ASU’s top returning scorer last January was Marcus Hooten, who averaged 12.5 ppg. (100 pts.) while Trey Finn (9.6 ppg.), Ed Townsel (7.8 ppg.), and Brandon Peterson (7.8 ppg.) were also among the squad’s leading points producers.  Peterson (9.1 rpg.) and Finn (5.7 rpg.) led the Red Wolves in rebounding last season in eight and seven January outings, respectively. 

Nationally Speaking: ASU presently ranks 22nd among the NCAA Division I leaders in steals per game (9.7 avg.), 26th in turnover margin (3.8 avg.), 111th in scoring offense (70.8 ppg.), and 168th in scoring defense (65.8 ppg.) through Dec. 30 contests.  The Red Wolves are 127th in scoring margin (5.0), 238th in field-goal percentage (41.7%), 217th in field-goal percentage defense (43.2%), 146th in three-point field goals per game (6.4 avg.), 183rd in three-point field goal percentage (33.1%), and 250th in free-throw percentage (66.0%).  Individually, Brandon Peterson is 25th both in double-doubles (five) and rebounds (9.8 rpg.), and 142nd in blocked shots (1.46 bpg.).  Ed Townsel ranks 45th in three-point field goals per game (2.77), 54th in three-point field-goal percentage (40.0%), 75th in steals (2.0 spg.), and 135th in points (16.2 ppg.).  Rakeem Dickerson ranks 150th in steals per game (1.77 spg.).

Red Wolf Howl Alerts: Rakeem Dickerson has connected on 85.0% (17-20) of his free throws over the last six contests, which included a 7-8 performance (87.5%) against Louisiana-Lafayette (12/27) ... Trey Finn is 22 rebounds away from registering his 600th career board ... Brandon Peterson has amassed 10 double-figure scoring games this campaign, which included a nine-game streak (11/13-12/19) ... Senior guard Marcus Hooten is averaging 9.5 points a game (19 pts.) in his last two games while shooting 41.7% (5-12) from the floor.  In his two prior outings, Hooten  averaged 3.5 points per outing (seven pts.) and had a 16.7% (2-12) field-goal percentage ... Ed Townsel’s team-high tying nine rebounds at South Alabama (12/29) represents a career high, eclipsing his eight boards versus UALR last season (1/14).  Townsel is averaging 7.5 rpg. (15 rebs.) in his last two appearances ... Trey Finn is two steals shy of tying Jay Hansen (1980-84; 133 career) for fifth place among ASU’s all-time steals leaders.

Home Court Advantage: A-State is 251-95 record (.725) on its home court since 1987-88 and has posted double-digit home victories 14 times in a season, which includes a 10-5 home ledger in 2011-12.  The Red Wolves are 5-1 at home this campaign with the only blemish being a 61-54 loss to Murray State (12/19).  ASU is averaging 75.3 ppg. (452 total) to its opponent’s 59.7 ppg. (358 total) for a +15.7 ppg. differential.

Sporadic Shooting: The Red Wolves have been inconsistent in shooting the ball this season with a 41.7% field goal percentage.  ASU has shot 40% or better in six contests this campaign and has seven outings where field goal percentage is less than 40%.  The Red Wolves are 5-1 when shooting at least 40% and have 3-4 mark when connecting below 40% of its shots.  

Defense Tightening: ASU has held the opposition to an average of 63.0 points per contest (315 pts.) over its last five games after surrendering 69.4 points an outing (347 pts.) in the previous five encounters, a difference of 6.4 points a game.  The Red Wolves are 4-0 on the season when giving up 60 points or less and 4-5 when allowing their opponent to score at least 61 points in a contest.

Guarding The Three: A-State has allowed the opposition to make good on 33.1% (79-239) of its three-point field goals this season to date, but has limited its opponent to 27.1% success (23-85) in the last four contests.  The Red Wolves’ defense held South Alabama to an ASU season-best 14.8% from beyond the arc as the Jaguars went four-of-27.  A-State has held the opposition to 25.0% or less in triples on five occasions this season and has prevailed in all five such games.

Last Time Out: Arkansas State closed out 2012 on a high note as the Red Wolves led almost from start to finish en route to a 63-54 victory over South Alabama last Saturday (Dec. 29) evening in a SBC matchup at USA’s Mitchell Center in Mobile, Ala.

ASU started out strong, scoring the first six points and would never trail the first 20 minutes as the Red Wolves went on to take a 28-23 lead at intermission.  The Jaguars were able to force a tie at 19-apiece wit 2:46 remaining before A-State proceeded to outscore the hosts 9-2 just before the end of the opening frame.  Eight different Red Wolves scored in the stanza as ASU forced 12 USA turnovers.

The Red Wolves led throughout the second half and went up by 13 points at 50-37 on a three-point play from Brandon Peterson before the Jaguars narrowed the gap to four (52-48) with an 11-2 run in a four-minute span.

However, ASU would tally six of the next 10 points to bump its lead to 58-50 at the three-minute mark and then would go on a 9-2 run to lead 61-52 with 19 seconds left in the game.  A-State was able to clinch the win at the free throw stripe where the Red Wolves connected on 18-of-27 (67%) for the night.  Brandon Peterson and Rakeem Dickerson led ASU 15 points apiece and Ed Townsel posted nine points while Marcus Hooten netted eight points off the bench.  Trey Finn and Townsel hauled down nine rebounds while Peterson grabbed seven boards.  Junior forward Kendrick Washington picked up six boards as the Red Wolves were outrebounded 47-45 in the game.  Dickerson also contributed a game-high five steals and claimed five rebounds in the win. 

ASU shot 38% for the game from the field and nailed only 3-of-12 three pointers for 25%.  South Alabama shot 27% (17-62), but was held to only four-of-27 (15%) from beyond the arc.  The Jaguars were 69% (16-23) at the free throw line.    

2012-13 Reference Guide Now Online: The 2012-13 A-State men's basketball reference guide is now available to view online in a PDF format and contains information for all devoted Red Wolves fans.  The 110-page publication features such information as 2012-13 student-athlete rosters, season preview, student-athlete biographies, coaching staff bios, 2011-12 season statistics, and all-time series records along with career, season, and game statistical records.  The annual publication is a production of the ASU Sports Information Office under the direction of director Jerry Scott along with assistant directors Chris Graddy and Joe Gorby.  To view the 2012-13 ASU men's basketball publication online, please visit the respective link - 2012-13 Arkansas State Men's Basketball Reference Guide.

A Season Ago: A-State concluded the 2011-12 campaign at 14-20 overall and posted a fifth-place 6-10 mark in the Sun Belt Conference’s (SBC) West Division.  The Red Wolves were 10-5 at home, 2-14 on the road, and 2-1 at neutral sites a season ago.

Up Next: A-State continues play on its home court as the Red Wolves go up against the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers this Saturday (Jan. 5) evening at the ASU Convocation Center in Jonesboro.  The action gets underway at 7:05 p.m. (CT) in a Sun Belt Conference matchup which will be televised on both ESPN3 and ESPN Full Court.