Game Notes: @AStateMB at Appalachian State
The 2016-17 campaign marks the program's 89th season with the Red Wolves amassing a 1,174-1,120 all-time record (.512) 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 11-4 start this season. McCasland has a record of 210-48 (.814) in stops at Midland College (2004-09) and Midwestern State (2009-11). His NCAA record is 67-17 (.798) with his 56-12 mark at Midwestern State and 11-5 ledger at A-State.
Rashad Lindsey scored 27 points in the conference opener against Louisiana, the most by any A-State player in his conference debut (1936-2017 in Southland, American South or Sun Belt game).
As of NCAA Stat rankings on Jan. 5, the Red Wolves ranked 8th nationally in 3-point field goal percentage defense (.283). Additionally, the Red Wolves were 37th in field goal percentage (.481) and 48th in 3-point field goal percentage (.389). .
Donte Thomas dished out a career high 13 assists at Central Arkansas (Dec. 16), the third-most in a NCAA Division I game this season. He is one of 11 active NCAA DI players with 200-plus assists (243) and 200-plus rebounds (218) since start of 2015-16 season.
Guards are responsible for 335 of the 543 team rebounds (57.9 percent) thus far.
A-State is 11-5 or better after 16 games for the 19th time in 88 seasons of play. This is just the third time for such record since the 1998-99 season.
The Red Wolves won nine non-conference games for the first time since the 2003-04 season (9) and had eight non-conference wins against Division I opponents for the first time since 1990-91 (11).
The win at Central Arkansas (Dec. 16) gave A-State four non-conference road wins, most by an A-State team since the 1986-87 season (4). The most in any season came in 1973-74 (5).
A-State was ranked No. 106 in the KenPom rankings as of Jan. 7. A-State opened the season at No. 281 in these rankings and has made the biggest improvement (+174) of any program this season.
► TRENDING UP
With 115 3-point baskets so far this year, A-State is on pace for 223 this season, which would be the fourth-most in school history and most since the 2013-14 team had 282.
The Red Wolves have shot 50 percent or better in eight of 15 games (Central Baptist, Georgetown, Chattanooga, SIUE, Lehigh, Cleveland State, Minnesota, Louisiana) this year. Last season, A-State reached 50 percent or better in a total of six games. From 3-point range, A-State has hit 43 percent or better in six games (Central Baptist, Georgetown, Chattanooga, Lehigh, UT Martin, Louisiana) already, a total reached just five times last season.
More information on these numbers can be found on page four in the notes linked above.
► ALWAYS RISING
The non-conference road win at Georgetown was the sixth in program history against a team from the higher resource conferences (ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC). A-State last picked up a non-conference road win against a higher resource team on Dec. 17, 2014 at Mississippi State (69-55).
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 have a chance at a fifth on Friday in Minnesota which would tie the 1973-74 squad with the most in program history.
A-State has 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.
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 ranked 11th in 3-point field goals made (51) and 15th in 3-point field goals per game (3.4) among all NCAA Division I players this season entering play this weekend (Jan. 6).
► SCOUTING REPORT: APPALACHIAN STATE
The Mountaineers opened league play with the Texas roadswing, coming up short at Texas State (67-58) and UT Arlington (84-69). Appalachian State brings a 4-2 home record into the game.
Ronshad Shabazz is the lone player averaging double figures (15.4) for the Mountainners, but the team has six players averaging 6.9 or more. Over the last five games, Appalachian State has Shabazz (15.6), Griffin Kinney (12.0), Patrick Good (10.8) and Emarius Logan (10.0) averaging double figures.
Kinney and Isaac Johnson lead the team on the glass, averaging 5.8 boards.
► SERIES HISTORY
A-State saw its 2015-16 season end in the game at Appalachian State last year, an 80-73 loss that ended any chance of a Sun Belt Conference Tournament berth for the Red Wolves.
The Red Wolves are in their 26th season of play in the Sun Belt Conference with a record of 208-217. A-State is 139-74 (.653) at home and 69-143 (.325) on the road in Sun Belt Conference action.
► GUARDS CRASHING THE BOARDS
Forward Tamas Bruce leads the team in rebounding (5.1), but Deven Simms (4.5) and Donte Thomas (4.2) are second and third, respectively.
► THAT'S A START
The Red Wolves improved to 17-9 in Sun Belt Conference openers and 33-21 in league openers dating back to the 1963 season when A-State debuted in the Southland Conference.
A-State hit the road for the first road game in conference play, and fell to 12-14 in the first road game as a member of the Sun Belt Conference.
► BEYOND THE BOX SCORE
C.J. Foster redshirted last season and has returned this year as a starter in each game and key contributor.
Foster established career highs in points in back-to-back games - 13 at TCU (Dec. 3) and 14 at UT Martin (Dec. 14). Not only did he set a career high in points, but Foster dished out a career best five assists at UT Martin. His career best in rebounding came against ULM as he reached double figures with 10 rebounds, five of which came on the offensive glass.
His biggest impact does not always appear on the box score, but Foster has been large on the defensive end. The win against Cleveland State stands out the most as Foster was guarding the Vikings leading scorer Rob Edwards and held him scoreless. Edwards came in averaging 18.8 points.
More on C.J. Foster can be found on page five of the notes linked above.
► RISING TO THE OCCASION
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 23 games against Sun Belt foes, Carter has averaged 17.8 points on 45 percent (137-305) shooting, including 41.6 percent (69-166) beyond the arc.
► ALL HANDS ON DECK
Over the last five games, A-State has had four different leading scorers. Two of the four leading scorers have come off the bench with Simms leading the way with 15 points against Alabama and Jahmiah Simmons posting a career high 14 points at Coastal Carolina. Rashad Lindsey had a career best 27 to lead the team against Louisiana and Devin Carter led the team at Minnesota with 23 points and had game-high 20 points against ULM, one more than Tamas Bruce's 19 points.
► DEFENDING THE TREY
A-State held ULM (Jan. 2) to 16.7 percent (2-for-12) from 3-point range in the second half marking the eighth time an opponent had shot 20 percent or less in a half this season.
Saturday, Coastal Carolina busted the Red Wolves 3-point defense for 14 makes, the most allowed this season and most since ULM hit 14 on Feb. 13 last year.
After 16 games, opponents are shooting 29.9 percent (92-308) from long range. A-State entered the weekend ranked 8th nationally in 3-point field goal percentage defense.
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.
► PROVEN 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 452-107 (.809) with 17 seasons of head coaching positions at various levels.
► A-STATE'S 15TH HEAD COACH
First year head coaches at A-State have averaged a record of 11-11. Marvin Speight (16-9), John Rauth (16-8) and Jack Dale (16-9) have the most wins among A-State first year head coaches.
The Red Wolves face four opponents this year that feature new head coaches: Army, Little Rock, TCU and UT Martin.
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 in their first Division I experience have NBA head coaching experience: Terry Porter (Portland) and Mike Dunleavy Sr. (Tulane).
McCasland has a tie to one of the 29 new Division I head coaches as Northern Colorado head coach Jeff Linder was an assistant coach on McCasland's staff at Midland College for two seasons.
Among those 29 coaches, A-State ranks tied for second with 11 wins. Of the 50 coaches in their first season at respective school, 16 have 10 or more wins thus far.
► RACKING UP THE MILES
Although the North Dakota State game was not part of the Maui Mainland Tournament, A-State traveled more this year than a one way ticket to Lahaina, Hawaii for the Maui Invitational (4,102) prior to Thanksgiving.
A-State hits the road this week for games at Coastal Carolina and Appalachian State. The trip covers 1,700 miles. .
► WELCOME TO THE #FUNBELT
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
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 9.3 points (37), 8.3 rebounds (33) on 63.6 percent shooting (14-22) while hitting 69.2 percent (9-13) at the charity stripe in an average of 18.0 minutes (72).
► RECORD WATCH
Devin Carter has converted 52 treys this season and has made 140 3-pointers in his 47 games with A-State. With nine more 3-pointers, Carter would rank seventh in program history for made 3-pointers. He currently ranks ninth shooting 40.6 percent (140-345) from 3-point range. Carter posted his 22nd career game with 20 or more points versus ULM (Jan. 2) and averages 17.1 points for his career, ninth most in program history.
More on these records and the rankings in the last two years is available on page seven of the game notes linked above.