HOT SPRINGS, Ark. (3/9/13) – Senior forward Brandon Peterson had 18 points to go with 17 rebounds while junior guard Ed Townsel scored 19 points off the bench as the Arkansas State University men’s basketball team topped Troy, 68-63, in overtime this Saturday (March 9) night in a 2013 Sun Belt Conference (SBC) Championship Tournament Quarterfinal-Round contest held inSummit Arena at Hot Springs, Ark.
The second-seed Red Wolves, who are now 19-11 overall this season, advance to take on sixth-seed Western Kentucky (18-15 overall) this Sunday (March 10) night in a 9 p.m. (CT) semifinal-round contest at Summit Arena.
“We’re going to have to be better tomorrow against a team like Western Kentucky,” said ASU head coach John Brady. “We got to shoot the ball much better if we’re going to beat them.”
Arkansas State, the 2012-13 SBC West Division Champions, advanced to the semifinals for the second straight year as the Red Wolves managed to overcome a sluggish first half and stepped up their game on both ends in the second half only to go into overtime on a game-tying bucket by Troy with six seconds remaining in regulation. ASU converted 66.7% (4-6) in the extra frame while limiting Troy to 25% (2-8) in the game’s final five minutes to advance.
Troy led 26-18 at the half, but the Red Wolves scored eight straight to start the second half and pull within a 26-all tiewith just over 16 minutes to go. The second half, which featured seven ties and nine lead changes, saw ASU hold a 55-50 lead with 16 seconds left following a free throw by sophomore guard Rakeem Dickerson. The Trojans would tally five of the next seven points scored in a 10-second span and trailed by a deuce at 57-55 with six seconds left on Antonie Myers’ layup. The Red Wolves then turned the ball over a five-seconds call trying to inbound the ball, which set up a game-tying basketball by Troy’s Emil Jones as the backcourt player hit a running jumper to send the tourney contest into overtime.
Neither team was able to get on the scoreboard the first 1:45 of the extra session until a Emil Jones’ free throw put the Trojans up 58-57 at the 3:15 mark. Arkansas State would regain the lead on Ed Townsel’s three-pointer with a second under the three-minute mark only to have Troy drain a triple of its own on Hunter Williams’ three ball to go back up 61-60 with 2:02 left on the clock. Townsel hit the ASU’s next basket to give the Red Wolves a 62-61 advantage and the Red Wolves would never trail the rest of the way. A jumper by senior Marcus Hooten with a minute left made it a three-point contest and his free throw with seven seconds gave ASU a seven-point cushion at 68-61 with three seconds to be played.
Arkansas State hit just 4 of 22 three-pointers for 18.2% in the game, but compensated by sinking 22 of 30 free throws to post a 73.3% success rate. Troy, on the other hand, was 9 of 18 beyond the arc for 50%, but just 8 of 13 at the foul line (61.5%).
“We weren’t very good the first half and at halftime our identity was gone,” said Brady. “In the second half we got tougher and made enough shots to win the game. I thought our guys showed a lot of resiliency to come back in the second half and then in the overtime period.”
Peterson, who produced his 11th double-double of this season, helped the Red Wolves to a 47-29 advantage on the boards. Junior forward Kendrick Washington pulled down seven rebounds as did senior guard Trey Finn, who contributed nine points.
Troy, which ends its season at 12-21, was led by Hunter Williams and Antoine Myers with 15 and 12 points, respectively.