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Courtesy: Hannah Dolle

Game Notes: @AStateMB vs Little Rock

By: ArkansasState
Release: 02/15/2017
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GAME PREVIEW
LITTLE ROCK
BOBCATS
13-13 (4-9 SBC)
FEB 17 | 7:30 PM
Convocation Center
Arkansas State
RED WOLVES
18-8 (9-4 SBC)
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► STORYLINES
 
Arkansas State opens an important three-game homestand on Friday night with a 7:30 p.m. matchup against Little Rock. Brad Bobo (play-by-play) and Nelson Catalina (analyst) call the action on ESPN3 while  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 1,181-1123 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, is off to a 18-8 start this season.  McCasland has a record of 217-51 (.810) in stops at Midland College (2004-09) and Midwestern State (2009-11).  His NCAA record is 74-20 (.787) with his 56-12 mark at Midwestern State and 18-8 ledger at A-State.   

A-State has won 18 of its first 26 games for the first time since the 1997-98 season.     

The Red Wolves had two different seven game win streaks in the same season for the first time in school history.

Donte Thomas is one of six active NCAA DI players with 300-plus assists (300) and 250-plus rebounds (260) since start of 2015-16 season.          

Devin Carter ranks 24th nationally with 3.12 3-point baskets per game. A-State is 10-2 this season when he makes three or more 3-point baskets.

Deven Simms averages 13.3 points per game off the bench, fifth most nationally among players with no starts this year. 

With the Red Wolves at 18 wins, Grant McCasland has the most wins by an Arkansas State head coach in his first season. 

At 10-0 on the home floor, A-State is one of 17 teams to be unbeaten at home this season.  

A-State is 7-2 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 14-0 when reaching 55 points first. A-State is 4-8 when opponents reach 55 points first, with the wins coming against Central Arkansas, Little Rock, Troy and Appalachian State. 

A-State has climbed 183 spots in the KenPom rankings this season, most of any program this year. The Red Wolves opened the season at No. 290 and are No. 107 as of Feb. 15.  

 

► TRENDING UP
A-State is shooting 47.1 percent (684-1452) from the field, up from 42.1 percent (663-1575) at this point last season. From 3-point range, A-State is up from 32.2 percent (156-485) to 39.3 percent (185-471) this year.   

With 185 3-point baskets so far this year, A-State is on pace for 221 this season, which would be 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 11 games, a total reached just five times last season. 

The Red Wolves have shot 50 percent or better in 12 games this year. Last season, A-State reached 50 percent or better in a total of six games. At 47.1 percent from the field, the Red Wolves would have the highest field goal percentage by an A-State team since the 1990-91 team finished at 51.1 percent. 

A-State is one of two teams, joined by Furman, to be ranked top-30 in 3-point field goal percentage and 3-point field goal percentage defense. 

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 16 more victories, including wins over SoCon preseason favorite Chattanooga (73-67) and Patriot League preseason favorite Lehigh (97-89).       

The Red Wolves are off to an 10-0 start at home for the first time since the 2010-11 season. This marks the sixth time since 1970-71 that an A-State team has started 10-0 on the home floor. 

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.   

 

► 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 bests the previous school record of nine 3-pointers held by Adrian Banks (vs Troy |Jan. 13, 2007), Dewarick Spencer (vs UAPB | Dec. 17, 2003) and Tevoris Thompson (vs Lyon | Dec. 7, 2002).

Carter ranks 24th in 3-point field goals made (81) and 24th in 3-point field goals per game (3.12) among all NCAA Division I players this season entering play this weekend (Feb. 15). 

 

► SCOUTING REPORT: LITTLE ROCK
Little Rock carries a 13-13 record and 4-9 league record into the second matchup of the season against the Red Wolves. 

Marcus Johnson Jr. is the only player averaging double figures (14.0), but the Trojans have four players averaging nine points.

Lis Shoshi, who missed the first meeting between the two teams, leads the Trojans with 7.6 rebounds per game.

 

► SERIES HISTORY
The most played series in program history resumes Friday night with the 85th meeting between A-State and Little Rock. The Red Wolves lead the all-time series 51-33.   

Although A-State has a 51-33 lead in the all-time series, the Red Wolves are 29-28 against the Trojans in Sun Belt action. 

A-State picked up a 77-72 win at Little Rock back on Jan. 14, the first win in Little Rock for the Red Wolves since 2011. A-State overcame a 14-point deficit and was led by Devin Carter (28) and Deven Simms (22).  

The Red Wolves are in their 26th season of play in the Sun Belt Conference with a record of 215-220.  A-State is 143-74 (.659) at home and 71-146 (.327) on the road in Sun Belt Conference action.

  

► 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 33 games against Sun Belt foes, Carter has averaged 17.1 points on 44.8 percent (190-424) shooting, including 41.4 percent (98-237) beyond the arc. With 25 points against Appalachian State, Carter has 15 games with 20 or more points in league play and 26 overall in 57 games played. Carter's 26 games with 20-plus points since start of the 2015-16 season rank as the 10th-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 the last six games 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 13.3 points per game. That total ranks as the fifth-most among players who have yet to start a game this year. A-State is 12-4 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 22 of the 26 games. On the season, A-State has outscored opponents benches 721-478, a difference of 9.4 points per game.

 

► TREY-RIFFIC PART TWO
Devin Carter hasn't just been setting single game records this year. He's among the top 3-point shooters in NCAA Division I action over the last two seasons.     

With 169 made 3-point baskets in his time at A-State, Carter ranks 10th for the most since the start of the 2015-16 season. 

His 2.96 3-pointers per game (57 games) ranked 12th among all active Division I players entering the weekend.  The Red Wolves are 10-2 this season, the losses at TCU and UT Arlington, when Carter makes three or more 3-pointers. 

 

► 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 459-110 (.807) with 17 seasons of head coaching positions at various levels. 

► HOME COURT ADVANTAGE
A-State is off to a 10-0 start at home for the sixth time in program history. The last time A-State started 10-0 at home was the 2010-11 season in which the team finished 13-0. 

This season, A-State has outscored opponents an average of 15.5 points per game, 80.2 to 64.7, while shooting 51.3 percent from the field and 38.3 percent beyond the arc. The Red Wolves have held opponents to 41.3 percent shooting and 30.8 percent behind the 3-point line.

 

► SUCCESS IN CLOSE GAMES
Head Coach Grant McCasland and the Red Wolves are 7-2 in games decided by six or fewer points. A-State suffered its first two losses in that situation over the weekend, at UTA 71-65 and at Texas State 62-58.    

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 18 wins thus far, McCasland has the most wins by any first year coach at Arkansas State.    

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).

Northern Colorado head coach Jeff Linder was an assistant coach on McCasland's staff at Midland College for two seasons. 

At 18-8, A-State has the third-best record among teams with a first year Division I head coach. The Red Wolves win percentage (.692) has improved by 35.9 percent over last year (.323), the second-best improvement by any program with a new head coach this season behind Maryland-Baltimore County. 

 

 DEFEND THE TREY
15 of the 26 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 has allowed opponents to shoot 32.3 percent (86-266) from 3-point range compared to 27.9 percent (65-233) in non-conference action. . 

Opponents are shooting 30.3 percent (151-499) from long range to rank A-State 15th nationally in 3-point field goal percentage defense entering the weekend.

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. 

 

 WELCOME TO THE #FUNBELT
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). 

The 27 points are the most scored by an A-State player in a conference opener since Ryan Wedel had 30 points at FAU on Dec. 20, 2007. As a junior college transfer, Lindsey now holds an A-State record for the most points scored in a conference debut. His 27 points rank as the fourth-most by any A-State player in a Sun Belt Conference opener.  

 

 BRUCE ALMIGHTY
Tamas Bruce, starting in his third-straight game, had a career night against ULM (Jan. 2). Bruce had career highs of 19 points and 15 minutes while playing 24 minutes. He matched that career high with 19 points against Troy (Jan. 21). 

Bruce is one of six players this season to have at least 15 points and 15 rebounds while playing 25 or fewer minutes. The six players to do so are; Wyatt Walker (Samford | Nov. 26 vs Bethune-Cookman) with 19 points and 15 rebounds in 20 minutes, John Collins (Wake Forest | Dec. 6 vs Charlotte) with  22 points and 15 rebounds in 21 minutes, Tamas Bruce (Arkansas State | Jan. 2 vs ULM) with 19 points and 15 rebounds in 24 minutes, Michael Buchanan (USC Upstate | Dec. 4 vs Colgate) with 24 points and 15 rebounds in 24 minutes, Tacko Fall (UCF | Nov. 14 vs Nicholls) with 16 points and 16 rebounds in 25 minutes and Jerome Frink (Long Island University | Nov. 11 vs John Jay) with 17 points and 16 rebounds in 25 minutes.  

As a starter, Bruce is averaging 8.4 points (92), 6.0 rebounds (66) on 61.5 percent shooting (40-65) in an average of 16.7 minutes (184).     

 

 MIAH OH MY
Jahmiah Simmons found success in the pair of games against Appalachian State and Coastal Carolina. For the four games, he averaged 12 points and 6.3 rebounds along with seven blocks and three steals. He scored a career high 16 points at Appalachian State (Jan. 9) and narrowly missed a double-double against the Mountaineers with eight points and nine rebounds on Feb. 4. He had double figures against the Chanticleers in each game, making his first start when against Coastal Carolina (Feb. 6).    

The 6-4 freshman has been a key on the glass, ranking third on the team in with 4.9 per game. Averaging 4.7 rebounds overall this year, Simmons is one of five freshmen at A-State since the 1992-93 season to average at least four rebounds per game. 

Simmons has 15 blocks in league play, second 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 six more assists to move to eighth all-time in career assists by an A-State player. With 154 assists this season, Thomas passed his total from last year (146) and is on pace to finish with 184 this season, a total that would rank fifth-most in single-season program history. Thomas ranked 13th among all Division I players in total assists (154) and 16th with 5.9 assists per game ahead of Friday's game.  

Devin Carter has converted 81 treys this season and has made 169 3-pointers in his 57 games with A-State. With two more 3-pointers, Carter would rank sixth in program history for made 3-pointers. He currently ranks eighth shooting 40.6 percent (169-416) from 3-point range. Carter posted his 26th career game with 20 or more points versus Appalachian State (Feb. 4) and averages 16.8 points for his career, ninth most in program history. Carter has 960 total points and is within reach of becoming the 27th player with  1,000 points. Of the 26 to score 1,000 points, only 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.   

 

 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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