The Records: Arkansas State (6-3, 0-2 Sun Belt). The Red Wolves won their second straight with a 69-57 non-conference decision over Austin Peay last Sunday (12/16) afternoon at the ASU Convocation Center in Jonesboro. ASU, which is 6-1 in non-league encounters to date this season, is 4-0 at home, 2-3 on the road, and 0-0 at neutral sites this campaign. Murray State (8-1, 0-0 Ohio Valley). The Racers, who are among teams receiving votes in this week’s (12/17) USA Today Coaches and Associated Press Top 25 polls, extended their current winning streak to five with a 75-70 non-conference home triumph over Western Kentucky last Sunday (12/16) afternoon at the CFSB Center in Murray, Ky. MSU is presently 2-0 on the road, 4-0 at home, and 2-1 at neutral sites this season. Last season, the Racers registered their 25th consecutive winning season by finishing 31-2 overall with a first-place 15-1 Ohio Valley Conference (OVC) mark. Murray State held the distinction of being the last NCAA Division I undefeated team (23-0) and went on to make its 15th NCAA Tournament appearance in the program’s history.
The Coaches: Arkansas State – John Brady (Bellhaven, 1976), 5th season, 67-69 (.493); Career - 348-285 (.549) – (1-1 vs. MSU). 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. Murray State – Steve Prohm (Alabama, 1997), 2nd season, 39-3 (.929) – (1-0 vs. ASU). Prohm was tabbed the 2011-12 OVC Coach of the Year in his inaugural season. He spent five seasons (2006-11) as an assistant at MSU before becoming the program’s 15th head coach in May 2011. Prohm served as an assistant at Centenary (1998-99), Southeastern Louisiana (1999-05), and Tulane (2005-06).
About Murray State: The Racers extended their current win streak to five following a 75-70 non-conference home victory against Western Kentucky last Sunday (12/16) at the CFSB Center in Murray, Ky. Senior guard Isaiah Canaan, a 2011-12 All-America selection and the Ohio Valley Conference Player of the Year, paced four MSU scorers in double-digit points with a team-high 21 total. Senior forward Ed Daniel had 16 points to go with eight boards while senior forward Brandon Garrett’s 10 rebounds led all players. Nationally, MSU is 18th in three-point field goals per game (8.7 avg.) while the Racers rank 21st in both field-goal percentage (48.2%) and three-point field goal defense (27.1%). MSU is 25th in scoring offense (79.2 ppg.) and 40th in scoring margin (13.1) among the national leaders. Individually, Ed Daniels is fifth in both rebounds per game (11.7 rpg.) and double doubles (6.0 avg.) while Isaiah Canaan ranks seventh in points a game (21.3 ppg.), 10th in three-point field goals (3.4 avg.), and 31st in three-point field goal percentage (43.7%).
All-Time Series: Arkansas State trails 20-10 in a series which started in the 1935-36 season with Murray State claiming a 28-20 victory. The Racers have won three of the last five meetings, including a 66-53 triumph a season ago (12/17/11) in Murray, Ky., despite a 17-point performance from Ed Townsel. The Red Wolves are 5-5 in their last 10 appearances, which includes a 5-0 home ledger. The most recent ASU victory occurred in the 2008-09 campaign (11/19/08) when the Red Wolves claimed a 55-47 home decision. In the last five games, A-State has averaged 65.4 points a contest (327 total) to MSU’s 71.4 points an outing (357 total).
Notable Start: Arkansas State’s 6-3 start this season represents the program’s best since 2008-09 when the Red Wolves went 7-2 thru their initial nine outings, which featured a six-game winning streak. The 2008-09 squad finished with a 13-17 overall record in head coach John Brady’s initial ASU season.
Eight Is Great: Senior forward Brandon Peterson's 10 points against Austin Peay Sunday (12/16) extended his double-figure points string to eight straight. Peterson, who had 12 double-digit game efforts a season ago, is averaging 12.1 points per contest in the eight-game span.
Hot Spell: Freshman forward Raeford “Gator” Worsham has cracked the double-figure scoring column in five of his last six outings while averaging 11.8 points a game (71 total) in those six appearances. Worsham, who has shot at least 50% or better in all but one contest in which a shot has been attempted, is hitting at 53.8% efficiency (14-26) in his last three games to date.
Back To Normal: Junior guard Ed Townsel snapped a two-game single-digit scoring streak with 15 points versus Austin Peay (12/16). Townsel netted double-figure points in each of his initial six outings this season, including a career-high 27 versus Lamar (11/25), but then tallied five at Florida Atlantic (12/1) and nine against St. Bonaventure (12/8) before getting back to double figures.
Positive Sign: Senior guard Trey Finn's team-high tying 15 points in the win over Austin Peay (12/16) matched a personal season best, equalling his points output against Arkansas-Monticello (11/13). Finn recorded all three of his triples in the contest consecutively midway through the second half of last Sunday’s (12/16) encounter versus the Governors. Finn has posted four double-digit point games this season.
Red Wolf Howl: Arkansas State’s 19 steals against Austin Peay (12/16) was not only a team season best, but marked the fourth time this campaign in which the Red Wolves have registered a double-digit total in that statistical category. The total surpassed A-State’s previous best of 15 against Lamar (11/25) and was four shy of equalling the ASU Convocation Center record of 23 thefts versus Tennessee-Martin (12/13/94) ... This Wednesday’s (12/19) outing is the first of three scheduled ESPN3 televised contests for the Red Wolves. ASU is also slated to appear in ESPN3 games against Western Kentucky (1/5) and at Middle Tennessee (2/7) ... A-State has registered a 95-81 record all-time (.539) against current Ohio Valley Conference member schools which includes Austin Peay and Murray State ... The Red Wolves pulled down a season-high 21 offensive rebounds versus Austin Peay which represented 55.2% (21-38) of their efforts on the glass. ASU’s previous game best was 19 offensive boards set in back-to-back appearances against Lamar (11/25) and at FIU (11/29) ... Sophomore guard Rakeem Dickerson is four steals shy of equalling his career season-high 16 thefts set in 32 games last season ... Raeford Worsham is averaging a squad-best 13.3 points per game (40 total) in three December outings ... Brandon Peterson has averaged a team-high 10.0 rebounds (30 total) this month.
Down-Townsel: Ed Townsel has canned a team-leading 27 three-point field goals this season and has connected on 42.9% (27-63) from beyond the arc. Townsel, who ranks 25th among this week’s national leaders in three-point field goals made (3.0 avg.) and 35th in three-point field goal percentage (42.9%), has produced 41.5% (27-65) of the team’s three-ball output to date.
Leaders of The Pack: Ed Townsel (14.6 ppg.) and Brandon Peterson (11.7 ppg.) are the two lone Red Wolves currently with double-figure scoring averages and the two have combined to generate 36.4% (236-648) of the team’s points production this season to date.
Among The National Leaders: ASU presently ranks 22nd nationally in turnover margin (4.4) through games of Dec. 16 while the Red Wolves are 32nd in steals (9.6 spg.), 83rd in three-point field goals per game (7.2 avg.), 87th in personal fouls (16.3 avg.), and 98th in scoring offense (72.0 ppg.).
Class Cleaners: A-State’s top two rebounders this season, Brandon Peterson (91 rebs.) and Kendrick Washington (45 rebs.) have accounted for 46.1% (136-295) of the Red Wolves’ production on the boards this season. The pair have also generated 59.1% (65-110) of ASU’s total offensive rebounds with Peterson totaling 38 boards and Washington having 27 caroms. Peterson has accounted for 30.8% (91-295) of the squad’s total rebounding efforts and 34.5% (38 110) of its rebounds on the offensive end. Peterson also currently ranks 21st nationally in rebounds per contest (10.1 rpg.).
December Matchups: A-State is presently 27-20 (.574) in December encounters since the 2007-08 season as the Red Wolves are 22-4 at home, 4-16 on the road, and 1-0 at neutral sites. ASU’s best record during that span was a 5-3 mark both in the 2008-09 (4-0 at home) and 2010-11 (5-0 at home) seasons.
Finn-tastic: Trey Finn needs 73 points to reach the 1,000 career points mark and as a result would be the 24th individual in the program’s history to attain the noteworthy milestone. To date, Finn has amassed 927 career points in 99 contests and has a 9.4 points per game average. He’s 86 points away from moving into a 23rd-place tie with Jabari Myles (1994-98; 1,013 career points) on ASU’s all-time charts.
Welcome Back: Kendrick Washington returned to the court last Sunday (12/16) against Austin Peay after missing the previous game versus St. Bonaventure (12/8) due to an injury. Washington came off the Red Wolves’ bench to post nine points on four-of-six shooting from the field and also contributed three rebounds to go with two blocked shots.
Home Cookin’: A-State has compiled a 250-94 record (.727) in regular-season home outings 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 4-0 at home this campaign.
Last Time Out: A late second-half surge by the Arkansas State proved vital as the Red Wolves produced a 69-57 victory over Austin Peay on Sunday (Dec. 16) afternoon at the ASU Convocation Center.
Trey Finn, who finished the contest with a team-high tying 15 points all in the second half, powered A-State midway thru the second half by knocking down three consecutive three-point field goals from each side of the floor to snap a 42-all deadlock at the 11:18 mark. Finn’s third triple in the sequence put the Red Wolves up 45-43 with 10:34 remaining as the hosts would never relinquish the lead.
The Red Wolves jumped out to a 10-4 lead in the first four-plus minutes before Austin Peay would come back and proceed to take a 29-24 lead at intermission. The first half, which was A-State’s lowest points output this season, featured five ties and seven lead changes.
The Governors held the advantage through the first eight-plus minutes into the second half, albeit by no more than seven points (35-28) at one juncture. The Red Wolves gradually chipped away at APSU’s lead and closed to within a point at 38-37 on a three-ball by Ed Townsel with 14:27 remaining. Austin Peay then tallied a pair of baskets to build the lead up to five (42-37) at 12:56 before A-State reeled off nine unanswered points in less than a three-minute stretch culminating in Trey Finn’s third triple in a row. ASU would go on to extend its lead by double-digits at 57-47 with 4:12 left and held its widest margin of the second half at 12 points (69-57) with less than a half-minute to be played.
ASU had four starters reach double-figure scoring as the groups combined to account for 75 percent of the Red Wolves’ points production. Finn shared top team honors with Townsel while Raeford Worsham recorded 12 points. Brandon Peterson supplied 10 points and Kendrick Washington netted nine points off the bench. On the defensive end, Peterson’s seven rebounds led the Red Wolves while Finn hauled down six boards as A-State held a 38-36 advantage on the glass. ASU also forced the Governors into 28 turnovers as the Red Wolves outscored the visitors 23-8 in points off miscues. The Red Wolves also notched a season-best 19 steals with four players claiming at least four the thefts led by Peterson’s career and game-high five.
Arkansas State’s players combined to shoot 38.5% (25-66) for the game, including a five-of-20 (25%) effort behind the three-point line. ASU also sank 14-of-25 (56%) free throws in the victory, which improved the Red Wolves’ non-conference mark to 6-1 on the season.
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 directorsChris 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: The Red Wolves close out the non-conference portion of their 2012-13 schedule this Saturday (Dec. 22) evening on the road versus the Kent State Golden Flashes. Opening tip is set for 6 p.m. (CT) at the MAC Center in Kent, Ohio.