JONESBORO, Ark. (11/17/19) – Five players scored in double figures to help the Arkansas State men’s basketball team claw back from as much as a 14-point deficit to close the Red Wolves Classic with an 82-68 victory over Idaho Sunday afternoon at First National Bank Arena.
Marquis Eaton led the Red Wolves (4-1) with 22 points, 16 in the second half, while Canberk Kus (13 points, 12 rebounds) and Malik Brevard (10 points, 14 rebounds) put forth double-double performances in the win over the Vandals (2-3). Both Brevard and Kus notched career highs with those rebounding totals.
“What an exciting game,” head coach Mike Balado said. “I’m so happy and proud of my team. These kids were so resilient and they never faltered. We were down early and they kept their poise. Every single person that played gave something great. I’m so, so proud of them.”
J.J. Matthews topped Friday night’s career-best scoring output with 19 points on a perfect 7-of-7 from the floor, while handing out a career-high seven assists. Caleb Fields rounded out the five double-digit scorers on Sunday, tallying 13 points, including 11 in the second half. As a team, the Red Wolves shot at a high percentage once again, shooting 52.6 percent from the field on 31-of-59 shooting while also sharing the ball well with 22 assists.
Scott Blakney led Idaho with 19 points on 9-of-11 shooting, while Trevon Allen scored 18 to round out the Vandals who scored in double digits. No other Vandal scored more than seven points in the contest.
Idaho came out with a lot of energy early, starting with a 9-2 run. A-State would keep it a single-digit affair until Ja’vary Christmas knocked down a three with 9:11 left in the half to make it a 31-19 lead for the Vandals. That lead grew to 14 nearly a minute later on an inside jumper by Blakney.
A-State then went on a 10-0 run to cut the deficit down to four at 33-29 with multiple scores by both Matthews and Eaton. Idaho would then respond, however, with an 8-0 run that stretched its lead back out to 12 with just over two minutes to go.
A layup followed by the and-one free throw by Matthews closed out the half for the Red Wolves, making it a 43-35 game at the half. Matthews led the Scarlet and Black with 13 points in the first half.
The Red Wolves scratched and clawed after the break, cutting it to a 49-48 game with under 15 to go, keeping it within a two-score deficit
A-State’s first lead of the day came with 9:55 to go when an Eaton trey sent the crowd into eruption during what was a 5-0 Red Wolves run at the time.
Three consecutive free throws by Marquell Fraser gave the Vandals a one point lead, but Antwon Jackson handed the lead back to the Red Wolves with a layup followed by the and-one. The lead changed hands two more times on an Allen three and a Matthews layup.
After two more lead changes, A-State went on a 5-1 run highlighted by inside buckets by Eaton and Brevard. With four minutes to go, Fields drilled a three to make it a seven-point game at 71-64 and force an Idaho timeout.
An Eaton layup followed by a Kus three handed the Red Wolves their largest lead to that point up 10 at 76-66. After an Allen free throw cut it to nine, Fields drove to the rim to once again make it a double-digit lead for A-State. A pair of free throws by Fields stretched that lead back out to 13 with under a minute to go.
Keyshaad Dixon tallied a free throw but missed the back-end that was picked up by the Red Wolves. Eaton then knocked down two more at the charity stripe to close out scoring for the afternoon, capping off A-State’s dramatic comeback victory.
The Red Wolves return to action on Wednesday, Nov. 20, traveling out West to face Colorado State. Tip-off in Fort Collins is slated for 8 p.m. CT and a radio broadcast of the game can be found on the EAB Red Wolves Sports Network on 107.9 KFIN. After returning from Colorado, A-State will host Stephen F. Austin at 4 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 30.
For the latest on the A-State men’s basketball program, follow @AStateMB on Twitter and @astatemb on Instagram, while also liking the team’s Facebook page at Facebook.com/RedWolvesMB.