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Courtesy: Arkansas State

Game Notes: @AStateMB vs ULM

By: ArkansasState
Release: 03/06/2017
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GAME PREVIEW
ULM
WARHAWKS
8-23 (2-16 SBC)
MARCH 8 | 2:00 PM
Lakefront Arena
Arkansas State
RED WOLVES
20-11 (11-7 SBC)
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► STORYLINES 
Arkansas State opens play in the Sun Belt Conference Tournament Wednesday at 2:00 p.m. against ULM. The game will be on ESPN3 and Matt Stolz brings the action on the EAB Red Wolves Sports Network flagship 107.9 KFIN.

The 2016-17 campaign marks the program's 89th season with the Red Wolves amassing a 1,183-1126 all-time record (.513) dating back to the inaugural 1926-27 season.

Head Coach Grant McCasland, who is in his first season at Arkansas State, guided A-State to 20 regular season wins for just the fourth time in program history.  McCasland has a record of 219-54 (.802) in stops at Midland College (2004-09) and Midwestern State (2009-11).  His NCAA record is 76-23 (.768) with his 56-12 mark at Midwestern State and 20-11 ledger at A-State. 

A-State finished with 20 regular season wins, tied for the most in program history. Three other A-State teams (1997-98, 1990-91, 1988-89) won 20 regular season games.      

A-State has 20 total wins for the sixth time in 89 seasons.  

Donte Thomas is one of four active NCAA DI players with 300-plus assists (321) and 275-plus rebounds (291) since start of 2015-16 season.    

With 20 points against Georgia State (Feb. 27), Devin Carter passed the 1,000 point plataeu. He became the 27th player in program history to 1,000 points, but only the third to do so in just two seasons played.

Deven Simms averages 13.4 points per game off the bench, third-most nationally among players with no starts this year. 

Tamas Bruce is the only NCAA Division I player this season to have two double-doubles with at least 15 points and 15 rebounds while playing 25 or fewer minutes in those outings.

With the Red Wolves at 20 wins, Grant McCasland has the most wins by an Arkansas State head coach in his first season and is tied for the third-most by a Sun Belt coach in his first year.    

A-State is 15-22 in the Sun Belt Conference Tournament and has one championship, the 1999 Sun Belt Tournament that was in Lafayette, La. 

A-State is 7-3 in games decided by six or fewer points this season. The Red Wolves entered this season with a 120-137 record in such games dating back to the 1991-92 season, the first year in the Sun Belt. 

The Red Wolves are 16-1 when reaching 55 points first. 

 

► TRENDING UP
A-State is shooting 46 percent (798-1733) from the field, up from 41.5 percent (770-1855) last season. From 3-point range, A-State rose from 31.6 percent (180-570) to 38.2 percent (216-565) this year.      

With 216 3-point baskets so far this year A-State has the fourth-most in school history and most since the 2013-14 team had 282. From 3-point range, A-State has hit 43 percent or better in 13 games, a total reached just five times last season. 

The Red Wolves have shot 50 percent or better in 13 games this year. Last season, A-State reached 50 percent or better in a total of six games. At 46 percent from the field, the Red Wolves would have the highest field goal percentage by an A-State team since the 2005-06 team finished at 46.7 percent.  

More information on these numbers can be found on page four in the notes linked above.  

 

► ALWAYS RISING
A-State earned a 78-72 win at Georgetown on Nov. 17, a statement win for the program in just the third game under head coach Grant McCasland. The Red Wolves have since added 18 more victories, including wins over SoCon preseason favorite Chattanooga (73-67) and Patriot League preseason favorite Lehigh (97-89).            

The Red Wolves finished 12-1 at home this season, just the seventh time in 30 seasons at the Convocation Center that A-State has won 12 or more games.  

With seven road wins this year, A-State has already tied for the second-most in single-season program history. The 1986-87 and 1973-74 teams hold the record with eight road wins while the 2013-14 and 1997-98 teams had seven. With the win at Central Arkansas (Dec. 16), A-State earned its fourth non-conference road win of the season, most since the 1986-87 season. The Red Wolves had five wins this year away from home in non-conference play, most since the 1988-89 team had three road wins and a pair of neutral site victories in the preseason.   

 

► A-STATE AT THE SUN BELT TOURNAMENT
The Red Wolves return to the Sun Belt Conference Tournament as the No. 5 seed this season after missing the tournament the last two seasons.   

A-State is 15-22 all-time in the Sun Belt Conference Tournament and has won one tournament championship (1999).

The Red Wolves are 2-2 in tournament games at Lakefront Arena, going 1-1 in 2014 and 1-1 in 2002. In total, A-State is 6-17 in games played at Lakefront Arena with the 4-15 road record against the University of New Orleans.   

 

► SCOUTING REPORT: ULM
ULM boasts tournament experience as the Warhawks are coming off an appearance in the finals of last year's Sun Belt Conference Tournament. 

ULM finished this season at  8-23 and 2-16 in league play, with 10 of their 16 losses in league play were decided by 10 or fewer points.

Travis Munnings (13.1) and Sam McDaniel (11.8) pace the team offensively, but four other players average eight-plus points per game. 

Munnings (8.0) and McDaniel (6.5) are also the team leaders on the glass. 

 

► SERIES HISTORY
A-State and ULM square off for the 62nd time Wednesday with the Red Wolves holding a 37-24 lead in the series.     

Wednesday's game marks the first time the two teams meet in the Sun Belt Conference Tournament, but the two teams have met before in tournament play. The two teams squared off in the 1985 Southland Conference Tournament with ULM winning 70-62, but A-State picked up an 81-60 win against ULM and eventually advanced to the final of the 1987 Southland Conference Tournament.   

A-State swept the season series this year, winning 76-45 inside the Convocation Center before earning a 73-63 win in Monroe.  

  

► RISING TO THE OCCASION
The non-conference finale at Minnesota (Dec. 23) marked the seventh game over the last two years against a higher resources conference foe on the road.        

In the seven games (at Oregon, at Baylor, at Missouri, at Georgetown, at TCU, vs Alabama and at Minnesota), Devin Carter hit 53-of-114 (46.5 percent) of his field goal attempts while going 21-for-57 (36.8 percent) from 3-point range. 

For the seven games, he averaged 21.4 points (150 pts) and 4.1 rebounds (29 rebs). His 25 points at Georgetown are the most among the five outings while 14 versus Alabama are the fewest. The 14 points at Alabama marked the only time in the seven games he didn't reach 20 or more points. 

In 38 games against Sun Belt foes, Carter has averaged 17.3 points on 44.8 percent (220-491) shooting, including 42.1 percent (118-280) beyond the arc. With 25 points at South Alabama, Carter posted 17 games with 20 or more points in league play and 28 overall in 62 games played. Carter's 28 games with 20-plus points since start of the 2015-16 season rank as the 9th-most in NCAA Division I action.  

 

► CLAWING BACK
The Red Wolves faced a 14-point deficit, 41-27, with 1:51 remaining at Little Rock, but came back to win 77-72. The comeback win marked the first time A-State has rallied from at least a 14-point deficit to win since December 1, 2001 at St. Bonaventure.   

The win versus Appalachian State (Feb. 4) marked the fourth time in a six game span that A-State had rallied to win after trailing at halftime. The win at Little Rock, down 43-31 at halftime, marked the first win for A-State this season when trailing at halftime or in the final five minutes. A-State trailed Troy 39-34 at the break and ULM 33-32 before coming from behind to win.

 

► SIXTH MAN
Deven Simms ranks second on the team, averaging 13.4 points per game. That total ranks third among players who have yet to start a game this year. Reginald Johnson of Alcorn State (15.6) and Justin James of Wyoming (15.5) join Simms in the top three. A-State is 14-7 this season when Simms reaches double figures.   

The Red Wolves bench production has been a key this year as A-State has more bench points in 25 of the 31 games. On the season, A-State has outscored opponents benches 843-579, a difference of 8.5 points per game.

 

► TREY-RIFFIC
Devin Carter drained 10 3-pointers at UT Martin (Dec. 14) to set a single-game school record. He becomes the fourth player in NCAA Division I action to hit 10 3-pointers, second-most in any game this season (13 - Darius Dawkins of Jacksonville).      

Carter ranked 13th in 3-point field goals made (101) and 13th in 3-point field goals per game (3.26) among all NCAA Division I players this season entering play this week (March 6). With 189 made 3-point baskets in his time at A-State, Carter ranks 9th for the most since the start of the 2015-16 season. 

His 3.05 3-pointers per game (62 games) ranked 9th among all active Division I players entering the week.  The Red Wolves are 12-4 this season, the losses at TCU, UT Arlington, Troy and South Alabama, when Carter makes three or more 3-pointers. 

Carter knocked down 7-of-8 from 3-point range at South Alabama to eclipse 100 on the season, a new single-season school record. He has three games this season with seven or more 3-pointers, one of only eight players in NCAA Division I action to do so.

 

► PROVEN WINNERS
Head Coach Grant McCasland embarks on his first season as head coach of the Red Wolves with a proven coaching staff full of winners. 

McCasland compiled a record of 199-45 (.816) in stops at Midland College (NJCAA) and Midwestern State (NCAA D2) and is joined by associate head coach Ross Hodge who posted a 146-24 (.859) record at Pairs JC (NJCAA) and Midland College (NJCAA). Assistant Coach James Miller produced a 77-23 (.770) record at New Mexico JC (NJCAA) and assistant Jareem Dowling was 19-11 (.633) at Scotland Performance Institute (Prep). 

The staff has produced a record of 461-113 (.803) with 17 seasons of head coaching positions at various levels. 

► SUCCESS IN CLOSE GAMES
Head Coach Grant McCasland and the Red Wolves are 7-3 in games decided by six or fewer points. A-State has lost the last three games decided by six or fewer points, all of which were on the road, with losses at UT Arlington, Texas State and South Alabama.    

Prior to this season, A-State was 120-137 dating back to the first year as a Sun Belt member (1991-92). The Red Wolves had 15 games decided by six or fewer points last season and went 7-8 in those games.

 

► A-STATE'S 15TH HEAD COACH
Head Coach Grant McCasland was named the 15th head coach in program history back in March.  

With 20 wins thus far, McCasland has the most wins by any first year coach at Arkansas State. Those 20 wins tie for the third-most by a Sun Belt head coach in his first season.  

McCasland is one of 50 new NCAA Division 1 coaches at their respective school this season and one of 29 in their first Division I head coaching role. Two of the 29 new head coaches have NBA head coaching experience: Terry Porter (Portland) and Mike Dunleavy Sr. (Tulane).

At 20-11, A-State has the fourth-best record among teams with a first year Division I head coach. The Red Wolves win percentage (.645) has improved by 31.2 percent over last year (.333), the second-best improvement by any program with a new head coach this season behind Maryland-Baltimore County. 

 

 DEFEND THE TREY
Fifteen of the Red Wolves' opponents thus far have shot 28 percent or less from 3-point range.  

A-State held Texas State (Feb. 13) to 20 percent (1-5) from 3-point range in the second half marking the 13th time an opponent had shot 20 percent or less in a half this season.  

Coastal Carolina busted the Red Wolves 3-point defense for 14 makes back on Jan. 7, the most allowed this season and most since ULM hit 14 on Feb. 13 last year. In conference play, A-State allowed opponents to shoot 33.9 percent (123-363) from 3-point range compared to 27.9 percent (65-233) in non-conference action. 

Opponents are shooting 31.5 percent (188-596) from long range to rank A-State 33rd nationally in 3-point field goal percentage defense entering the week.

A-State's 2009-10 team held opponents to 29.3 percent (161-550) beyond the arc, the lowest percentage a Red Wolves team was responsible for a full season. 

 

 THE X FACTOR
Junior guard Rashad Lindsey had quite the Sun Belt Conference debut, pouring in 27 points as A-State opened league play with a 74-71 victory over Louisiana (Dec. 31). 

Lindsey has reached double figures in 10 league games this year and the Red Wolves are 8-2 in those games. Overall, Lindsey has double figures in 16 games and A-State has a 13-3 mark in those 16 games.

 

 BRUCE ALMIGHTY
Tamas Bruce is the only player at the NCAA Division I level to post two double-doubles in which he had at least 15 points and 15 rebounds while playing 25 or fewer minutes. 

Bruce posted his first such double-double with 19 points and 15 rebounds against ULM (Jan. 2). He logged 24 minutes in that game and that performance is one of seven this season in 25 or fewer minutes.  

At Troy (March 2), Bruce finished with 15 points and 15 rebounds in just 19 minutes played. It is just the third such 15-plus point and 15-plus rebound double-double in less than 20 minutes this year.

Dating back to the 2010-11 season, there have been a total of 55 double-doubles of 15 or more points and 15 or more rebounds in 25 or fewer minutes. Only two players in that span have two such double-doubles -- Shawn Long (Louisiana) and Egidijus Mockevicius (Evansville). Bruce has reached that mark in a span of 16 games played.    

 

 MIAH OH MY
Jahmiah Simmons posted his first career double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds against Georgia State (Feb. 27). Simmons has reached double figures in five games this season, four of which have come in league games. His 11 rebounds marked a career best and he has five or more rebounds in four-straight games.   

The 6-4 freshman has been a key on the glass in league games, ranking second on the team in with 5.3 per game. Averaging 5.0 rebounds overall this year, Simmons is one of three freshmen at A-State since the 1992-93 season to average at least five rebounds per game. 

Simmons has 19 blocks in league play, fourth most of any Sun Belt Conference player in league only games.  He is one of only four freshmen at A-State since 1992-93 with 16 or more blocks in a season.

Simmons played for current A-State assistant coach Jareem Dowling on the U.S. Virgin Islands U-18 team in the FIFA Americas this past summer and led the tournament in rebounding (11.6 per game). 

 

 RECORD WATCH
Donte Thomas needs three more assists to move to seventh all-time in career assists by an A-State player. With 175 assists this season, Thomas passed his total from last year (146) and has the fifth-most in single-season program history. Thomas ranks 18th among all Division I players in total assists (175) and 24th with 5.6 assists per game entering games this week.  

Devin Carter has converted 101 treys this season, a single season program record. He has made 189 3-pointers in his 62 games with A-State, third most in program history. He currently ranks seventh shooting 41.2 percent (189-459) from 3-point range. Carter posted his 28th career game with 20 or more points at South Alabama (March 3) and averages 17.0 points for his career, ninth most in program history. Carter has 1,052 total points to rank 24th on the all-time scoring list. He is one of 27 players with 1,000 points and only he, Adrian Banks (1081 - 54 games) and Dewarick Spencer (1073 - 57 games) did it in two seasons. 

More on these records and the rankings in the last two years is available on page seven of the game notes linked above.   

 

 THE LAW FIRM OF DEVIN & DEVEN
Devin Carter and Deven Simms are the Red Wolves leading scorers and the duo has provided an average of 30.0 points per game. 

In the second half alone, Carter has reached double figures 11 times while Simms has double figures in the second half of eight games. 

On the season, A-State is 13-4 when Carter and Simms combined for 30 or more points. The three losses came at South Alabama, UT Arlington, Minnesota and TCU. 

 

 A RARE SIGHT TO SEE
A-State and Troy each shot 58 percent from the floor and 50 percent from 3-point range, something that has happened in only three NCAA Division I games since the beginning of the 2010-11 season. IPFW and Denver on Feb. 13, 2016 along with Northern Iowa against Missouri State on Jan. 18, 2014 are the other two games to feature 58 percent shooting by both teams and 50 percent beyond the arc. 

 

 LIGHTS OUT
A-State made 13-straight field goals and scored 60 points in the second half to leave the Cajundome with an 88-69 victory on Jan. 30. It marked the first win against the Ragin' Cajuns in Lafayette since Dec. 17, 2006.

The Red Wolves scored 50 points over the final 12 minutes of the game. For comparison, only 37 times in NBA history has a team scored 50 or more points in a 12-minute quarter. 

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