|Men's Basketball Game Notes-vs. WKU (SBC Tourney)|
Tip-Off: The Arkansas State University men's basketball team, the 2012-13 Sun Belt Conference (SBC) West Division Champions, will square off against the Western KentuckyHilltoppers this Sunday (March 10) in semifinal-round play of the 2013 Sun Belt Conference (SBC) Championship Tournament in Hot Springs, Ark. Opening tip-off is slated for 9 p.m. (CT) at Summit Arena. ASU is the tourney’s second seed while Western Kentucky is seeded sixth.
The Records: Arkansas State (19-11, 12-8 Sun Belt West Division). The Red Wolves advanced to the SBC Tournament semifinals with a 68-63 overtime triumph over 10th-seed Troy last night (3/9) in conference tournament quarterfinal-round action at Summit Arena in Hot Springs, Ark. The win snapped a two-game losing skid for the Red Wolves, who are 1-0 at neutral sites, 13-2 at home, and 5-9 on the road this season. A-State has won eight of its last 11 contests to date.
Western Kentucky (18-15, 10-10 Sun Belt East Division). The Hilltoppers won their second in a row with a 62-59 victory over third-seed South Alabama last night (3/9) in SBC Tournament Quarterfinal-Round action at the ConvocationCenter Court in Hot Springs, Ark. WKU, which has won five of its last six outings, is 3-2 at neutral sites, 11-4 at home, and 4-9 on the road this season.
The Coaches: Arkansas State – John Brady (Bellhaven, 1976), 5th season, 80-77 (.506); Career - 361-293 (.551) – (5-3 vs. Western Kentucky). 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.
Western Kentucky – Ray Harper (Southern Mississippi, 1969), 31st season, 500-403 (.554) – (6-4 vs. Arkansas State). Maestri is the program’s all-time winningest coach since his arrival in 1982 and is a seven-time Coach of the Year Award recipient, which includes being named the 2008-09 Sun Belt Conference’s Coach of the Year. He has claimed Coach of the Year accolades from five different conferences to tie for the most among NCAA active coaches. Maestri has recorded eight 20-win seasons and seven conferencechampionship titles during his tenure. In 2009-10, he directed the Trojans to their first-ever Sun Belt Conference regular season title. Prior to Troy, Maestri served as an assistant for two seasons (1980-82) at Alabama and one season (1979-80) at Mississippi State. He spent 10 seasons (1970-79) as head coach at Holy Cross High School in New Orleans, La.
About Western Kentucky: The Hilltoppers won their second consecutive SBC Tournament quarterfinal-round game with a 62-59 decision over South Alabama last night (3/9). The Hilltoppers had three starters reach double-figure scoring in their victory led by sophomore guard T.J. Price’s game-high tying 22 points. Sophomore forward George Fant scored 18 points to go with nine rebounds and senior guard Jamal Crook tossed in 10 points.
• WKU’s current scoring leaders this season are T.J. Price (15.3 ppg.), George Fant (13.0 ppg.), and Jamal Crook (12.2 ppg.). Fant (6.7 rpg.) and Harris (5.6 rpg.) lead the Hilltoppers in rebounding.
• Western Kentucky is ranked 64th in rebound margin (4.0) among NCAA Division I national statistical leaders thru games of March 7. The Hilltoppers are 142nd in three-point field goals (6.4), 167th in scoring margin (1.0), 172nd in scoring offense (67.5 ppg.), 175th in scoring defense (66.5 ppg.), 200th in blocked shots (3.2 bpg.), 238th in free-throw percentage (67.3%), and 242nd in steals (6.1 spg.). Individually, T.J. Price is 59th in three-point field goal percentage (36.2%), 60th in three-point field goals (2.54 avg.), and 205th in points (14.9 ppg.). George Fant ranks 233rd in blocked shots (1.1 bpg.) and 237th in rebounds (6.7 rpg.). Redshirt senior forward-center Teeng Akol is 181st in blocked shots (1.26 bpg.).
• A season ago, WKU was crowned 2012 SBC Tournament Champions and made a NCAA Tournament appearance en route to compiling a 16-19 overall record with a third-place tying 7-9 mark in the SBC’s East Division. The Hilltoppers were 3-8 on the road, 8-7 at home, and 5-4 in neutral site encounters.
All-Time Series: WKU has a 29-14 lead in the all-time series which dates back to the 1947-48 campaign in which ASU suffered a 76-37 setback in the first-ever meeting (1/29/48).
• The Red Wolves are 2-1 at neutral sites, 10-10 at home, and 2-18 on the road against the Hilltoppers.
• A-State is 3-3 in the last six meetings against WKU – 1-2 on the road and 2-1 at home. Four of those contests have been decided by eight points or more, including three by double digits.
• ASU is averaging 72.4 points per game (507 pts.) to WKU’s 69.1 points an outing (484 pts.) in the last seven meetings between the two teams. Eight of the last 11 games have been decided by 10 points or less, including four of the last six by eight points or less. ASU is 6-6 in the last 12 matchups, which consists of 3-3 record both on the road and at home.
• Trey Finn (18.0 ppg.), Ed Townsel (18.0 ppg.), and Brandon Peterson (11.5 ppg.) are ASU’s top points leaders against Western Kentucky this season. Peterson (9.0 rpg.) along with Finn (6.0 rpg.) and Kendrick Washington (6.0 rpg.) are the Red Wolves’ leading rebounders.
• Trey Finn (14.4 ppg.) and Ed Townsel (13.0 ppg.) are ASU’s top active career scorers vs. Western Kentucky while Brandon Peterson (8.3 rpg.) and Finn (5.7 rpg.) lead the Red Wolves in rebounding.
SBC West Division Champs: Arkansas State claimed its second Sun Belt Conference (SBC) West Division title in the last three seasons with a 58-50 regular-season home finale conference win over Troy (2/23). The 2010-11 Red Wolves won the West Division in ASU head coach John Brady’s third season with an 11-5 league ledger (.643 win pct.).
SBC Tourney Play: Arkansas State has posted a current 5-6 record in its last 11 Sun Belt Conference Tournament appearances, which includes a 2-1 mark at the 2012 SBC Tourney at Hot Springs, Ark. A season ago, the Red Wolves posted a 70-55 opening-round win over Florida Atlantic (3/3) and then upset tourney top-seed Middle Tennessee 64-61 in the quarterfinals (3/4). ASU dropped a 76-72 semifinal-round decision to North Texas (3/5) in the single-elimination conference tournament. Senior guard Marcus Hooten (18.7 ppg.), Trey Finn (16.3 ppg.), and Brandon Peterson (10.7 ppg.) combined for 66.5% (137-206) of A-State’s scoring output in the Red Wolves’ three 2012 conference tourney contests.
Fine Season: The Red Wolves’ 19 victories this season to date (19-11 record) represents the program’s most since 1997-98 when ASU compiled an 20-9 overall mark. The 19 wins are also the most during head coach John Brady’s tenure at A-State, surpassing the 17 victories set twice – 17-14 in 2009-10 and 17-15 in 2010-11. The Red Wolves have compiled double-digit victories in each of their last five seasons to date and 15 times since the 1987-88 season.
Peterson and Finn Claim All-SBC Honors: Seniors Brandon Peterson and Trey Finn both claimed 2013 All-Sun Belt Conference postseason honors as announced Wednesday (March 6) in voting by the league’s 11 head coaches and media members. Peterson was among five individual to earn second-team plaudits while Finn garnered third team recognition. Peterson is presently averaging a team-high 9.4 rebounds (272 rebs.) and 10.2 points per contest (297 pts.) as a starter in all 29 games. He has recorded a squad-most 10 double-doubles to go with 18 double-figure and 14 double-digit rebound contests this campaign. Finn is averaging 10.5 points a game (293 pts.) and 4.8 rebounds per contest (135 rebs.) while producing double-figure point totals on 15 occasions this season.
For Pete’s Sake: Brandon Peterson presently ranks 10th among the Sun Belt Conference’s all-time leaders in career rebounds with 874 total and is nine boards shy of tying Jacksonville’s Artemus McClary (1992-96; 883 career rebs.) for ninth-place honors. Peterson, who has 161 career blocked shots in 126 games, is currently tied with Western Kentucky’s Elgrace Wilborn (2002-05; 161 career blocks) at 18th-place on the career charts and is four shy of tying Michael Southall of Louisiana-Lafayette (2001-03; 165 career blocks) for 17th place.
March Matchups: ASU is 11-14 (.440) in March contests dating back to the 1999-00 season, which includes a 68-63 overtime decision over Troy last night (3/9) in the Sun Belt Conference Championship Tournament quarterfinals. The Red Wolves are 2-0 at home, 0-4 on the road, and 9-10 at neutral sites. The 2006-07 and 2011-12 teams both registered a program-best 2-1 record for the month during that span.
Red Wolf Howlings: Ed Townsel eclipsed the 400 single-season points mark with 19 points against Troy (3/9) and presently has totaled a team-most 402 points in 30 games. Townsel has scored 97 more points this season than in the 2011-12 campaign (305 points in 34 contests.) ... Trey Finn’s 78 free throws made this season in 29 games is a personal single-season best, surpassing his 72 total in 30 outings a season ago ... Ed Townsel needs three more rebounds to register his 100th of this season ... Trey Finn has tallied back-to-back 300-point plus performances in the last two seasons with 347 points in 2011-12 and a current 302 total this campaign. He’s averaging 11 points per contest (649 pts.) in a 59 games during that span ...
Brandon Peterson’s 17 rebounds versus Troy (3/9) marked a personal career game best, surpassing his 15 boards against Arkansas-Monticello (11/13) ... Marcus Hooten is shooting 75% (9-12) at the free throw line in his last three contests, including a 4-5 performance at UALR in the regular-season finale (3/2) ... Brandon Peterson’s 315 points scored in 30 games this campaign is a personal single-season best, exceeding his 314 points output in 34 encounters a season ago ... Ed Townsel (65) and Trey Finn (52), ASU’s top two three-point field goal leaders this campaign, have combined to generate 61.3% (117-191) of the Red Wolves’ production from beyond the arc ... Kendrick Washington is averaging 6.3 rebounds a game (19 total) in his last three outings, which includes eight boards at North Texas (2/28) and seven caroms against Troy (3/9).
Board Climbing: Brandon Peterson needs 22 more rebounds to tie for fifth-place honors on ASU’s all-time leaders list with Jerry Rook (1961-65; 896 career rebs.). Peterson, who has grabbed 874 career rebounds to date, is the eighth player in Red Wolves’ history to amass at least 800 career boards. He has compiled a squad-most and career season-best 289 rebounds in 30 appearances this campaign. Peterson’s 289 rebounds this season represents the seventh-best single-season output in the program’s history and is 10 boards shy of matching John Dickson’s 299 rebounds set in the 1966-67 season.
The Last Five: The Red Wolves are 3-2 in their last five games and have outscored their opponent by a +3.0 points per game margin (66.8 ppg. to 63.8 ppg.). ASU also holds a 36.6 to 32.0 advantage in rebounding. Three of those contests have been decided by less than 10 points. Trey Finn is averaging a squad-high 12.6 points a game (63 pts.) during that span while Marcus Hooten (11.0 ppg.) and Ed Townsel (10.2 ppg.) are also averaging double-figure point totals. Brandon Peterson’s 9.2 rebounds an outing (46 rebs.) leads the way and Kendrick Washington has recorded 6.0 boards a game (30 rebs).
Red Wolf Howlings II: Trey Finn is shooting 90.3% (28-31) at the charity stripe in his last seven contests, which includes 20-for-21 (95.2%) in his last five outings ... Brandon Peterson is one offensive rebound shy of reaching the 100 plateau for this season and his 99 total is a career season best, eclipsing his 97 total last season ... ASU’s top three steals leaders - Ed Townsel (49), Trey Finn (41), and Rakeem Dickerson (40) have accounted for 50.9% (130-255) of the squad’s production this 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 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.
2013 SBC Tournament Tickets: Tickets for the 2013 Sun Belt Conference Men’s and Women’s Basketball Tournament this weekend (March 8-11) at the Summit Arena in Hot Springs, Ark., are currently on sale. Tickets are on sale for $93 per booklet. Each booklet includes a ticket to each session for both the men’s and women’s games covering all four days. If you are interested in reserving your seats to the 2013 Sun Belt Conference Tournament, please call the ASU Box Office at (870) 972-2781, or you may order your tickets online at www.tickets.astate.edu. Hotel packages can be reserved by calling (501) 624-5521.