SETTING THE SCENE
Date: February 25, 2012
Location: Little Rock, Ark.
Tipoff: 7:00 p.m. (CST)
Arena: Jack Stephens Center
Arena Capacity: 5,600
TIPPING IT OFF
Arkansas State will travel to Little Rock for its regular season finale against instate rival UALR Saturday at the Jack Stephens Center. UALR picked up a one-point win over the Red Wolves in their first match up of the season in Jonesboro on Jan. 14. Tip off at the Jack Stephens Center is set for 7 p.m.
UALR is currently sitting atop the Sun Belt Conference West Division with a 11-4 league record and a 14-15 overall mark. Since their meeting in Jonesboro on Jan. 14, UALR has gone 7-4 with wins over South Alabama (75-50), Denver (64-57), ULM (70-66), Louisiana-Lafayette (72-70/OT), FIU (78-64) and Troy (74-62). The Trojans dropped their game against North Texas on Thursday (67-75). Senior guard D’Andre Williams leads three UALR players averaging in double-figure scoring averaging 12.8 points per game in all games and 14.3 ppg in conference only games. Williams also leads UALR with 119 assists and 51 steals on the season. Sophomore forward Will Neighbour is second on the squad averaging 11.0 points per game and also ranks second averaging 5.1 rebounds per game in all games and is 10.9 ppg and 4.9 rpg in conference only games. Neighbour leads the Trojans shooting 42.9% (42-98) from three-point range. Sophomore Chuck Guy rounds out the Trojans averaging in double-digits scoring 10.4 points per game in all games and 9.9 in conference only games. As a team, the Trojans are averaging 63.8 points per game, while giving up 64.2 points per game. They are averaging 33.3 rebounds while surrendering 35.6 to their opponents and are shooting 40.3% from the floor and 32.9% from three-point range. Steve Shields is in his ninth season as head coach at UALR and owns a career mark of 222-177 with a 9-7 all-time against Arkansas State.
ASU leads the series 42-27 against UALR in the two squads all-time series. UALR picked up a 63-62 win over the Red Wolves on Jan. 14.
FINN SUN BELT PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Arkansas State junior guard Trey Finn was named the Sun Belt Conference Player of the Week after leading ASU to a 2-0 record last week.
Finn scored 20 points twice in wins over Troy (83-59) and FIU (77-67) last week. Finn shot 55.6% from three-point range on the week connecting on 6-9 against Troy and 4-9 against FIU. He was also 7-12 from the field against Troy and 5-13 against FIU while also averaging 3.5 rebounds per game, on the week.
Finn needs just five more rebounds to become just the 23rd player in Arkansas State history to record 500 career boards. On the season, Finn is averaging 10.8 points and 5.3 rebounds per game, which is third in both categories for the Red Wolves.
LAST UALR GAME
The Arkansas State men’s basketball team had its chances down the stretch but was unable to tie or take the lead in the final seconds as UALR picked up a 63-62 Sun Belt Conference victory over A-State at the ASU Convocation Center on Jan. 14.
Two Red Wolves led A-State scoring in double-figures. Junior guard Marcus Hooten had 16 going 5-15 from the floor and 4-8 from three-point range while junior guard Trey Finn had a double-double for ASU, the second of the season and sixth of his career scoring 11 and pulling down 10 rebounds. Peterson also had 10 boards to lead ASU along with Finn.
Freshman guard Rakeem Dickerson came off the bench to score a career-high nine on 3-6 shooting. He was also 1-1 from three-point range and 2-2 from the free throw line.
Townsel gave ASU the lead 60-59 with 1:28 left in the game hitting 2-2 free throws, but UALR’s Will Neighbour drained a three on the following possession to put UALR up 62-60. After two 1-2 trips to the free throw line for A-State and a 1-2 trip to the charity stripe by UALR’s Taggert Lockhart, UALR hung on to the one-point lead for the win. Townsel got a last-second shot with 1.7 seconds left on the clock after a missed free throw but the shot fell short.
ASU led most of the game including holding a 36-29 advantage at the half. A jumper by junior forward Brandon Peterson gave the Red Wolves their largest lead of the game, 29-19, with 3:23 left in the first half.
UALR came out and scored five unanswered points to begin the second half before Finn hit a three-pointer to put ASU back up by five, 39-34, with 16:40 left in the game. A Finn three gave ASU it’s largest lead of the second half with 6:22 left in the game, 55-49.
ASU shot 35.8% from the floor connecting on 19-53 shots. ASU was also 42.1% from three (8-19) and 66.7% from the free throw line (16-24). The Red Wolves also outrebounded UALR 41-32 including a 17-11 margin on the offensive glass.
Chuck Guy led UALR with 18 points, going 7-11 and 2-4 from both three-point range and the free throw line.
After recording his 64th steal of the season Townsel is in sole possession of fourth on the single-season leaderboard at ASU. Dereke Tipler holds the single-season record for steals at Arkansas State with 76 during the 2005-06 season. Townsel needs two more steals to move into a tie for third and four to move into a tie for second.
HITTING THE BOARDS
ASU had its most dominant rebounding game of the season at Western Kentucky, outrebounding the Hilltoppers 39-17. In fact, the Red Wolves had more offensive rebounds (19) than the Hilltoppers had total rebounds (17). ASU is averaging 33.8 rebounds per game this season, while holding opponents to 31.8 (+2.0).
GRISWOLD CAREER HIGH
Freshman forward Darion Griswold scored a career-high 15 points in 14 minutes of action at WKU. He also connected on two free throws to tie the game for ASU with just :17 remaining on the clock. Griswold is averaging 4.8 points per game this season in 13.4 minutes per game of reserve action.
SHOOTING LIGHTS OUT
In their games last week, Arkansas State has turned in two of their best shooting performances of the season. Against Troy, The Red Wolves shot 56.4% from the floor (31-55) and were 52.4% from three-point range (11-21). Their field goal percentage was a season-best while their 11 made three-pointers tied their previous season-high. ASU followed that up with a 53.2% (25-47) shooting performance against FIU on Saturday, while also hitting 10-22 (45.5%) from three.
Against FIU, junior guard Marcus Hooten scored a career-high 28 points connecting on 75% of his shots from the floor (9-12) and 67% from three-point range (4-6). Junior guard Trey Finn added 20, but had a career-high with six assists, along with sophomore guard Ed Townsel’s career-high eight assists.
RED WOLVES IN NATIONAL RANKINGS
Entering this week’s action, A-State continues to be ranked in several NCAA statistical categories. Sophomore guard Ed Townsel is 28th in the nation in steals per game averaging 2.1. Junior guard Trey Finn is 180th averaging 1.5. Junior forward Brandon Peterson is now ranked 105th in the nation averaging 7.8 rebounds per game and as a team ASU is 20th in fewest fouls per game (15.4) and 52nd in three-point field goal percentage (37.3).
With his first rebound of the game against ULM, junior forward Brandon Peterson became the 22nd player in Arkansas State history to record 500 career rebounds. Since then, Peterson has recorded 57 more rebounds and has moved into 15th place on the ASU career rebound list. John Belcher set the career mark for rebounds from 1968-72 when he amassed 1,166 rebounds for A-State.
Out of their 18 losses this season, eight of those games have been decided by 10 points or fewer. Of those eight, six of those games have been decided by five points or fewer and two have been in overtime.
STARTERS LEAD THE WAY
In the Red Wolves 30 previous outings this season, an ASU starter has led the Red Wolves in scoring in each of those contests. Hooten has led ASU a team-high nine times on the season, followed by Kirkland who has led ASU eight times, Townsel has led ASU six times, Peterson five and Finn thee times. Adam Sterrenberg is the only reserve to lead ASU in scoring this season when he scored 18 against ULM which was tied for the lead on the team with Townsel.
TRIO HAS CAREER NIGHT
ASU got some solid play from three of their guards Thursday night against ULM. Junior guard Adam Sterrenberg came off the bench to score a career-high 18 points on 5-10 shooting from the floor and 4-8 shooting from three-point range. Sophomore guard Ed Townsel had 18 points and had a career-high five three-pointers in the game. Freshman guard Rakeem Dickerson made his first start against ULM and scored 12 points with six assists, both career highs.
STERRENBERG IN DOUBLE-DIGITS
To go along with his performance against ULM, junior guard Adam Sterrenberg broke double-digits for the fourth time this season and 8th time during his career by scoring 13 at Seattle. This season, 4.6 points per game in 14.1 minutes of action.
Senior forward Malcoln Kirkland has become the Red Wolves most consistent scoring threat having scored in double digits 13 out of the last 16 games including scoring 14, 16, 14, 11, 19, 14 and 12 in seven of the last eight games. Kirkland is leading ASU averaging 12.1 points per game in all games and conference only games. Kirkland is shooting 57% from the floor and ranks second on the team averaging 5.9 rebounds per game.
HOOTEN NAMED MID-MAJOR NATIONAL PLAYER OF THE WEEK
After his stellar performance against North Texas, Arkansas State junior guard Marcus Hooten has been named the National Mid Major Player of the Week by College Basketball Madness and was the Sun Belt Player of the Week selection by College Basketball Madness. Hooten hit the game-winning buzzer-beater to give the Red Wolves a 75-72 win over North Texas Saturday. He also led ASU with 24 points against the Mean Green and averaged 21.0 points in last week’s competition also leading ASU with 18 points against Denver.
HOOTEN STRIKES AGAIN
Junior guard Marcus Hooten was again the hero against the Mean Green when he hit the game-winning three-pointer which broke a 72-72 tie to give ASU a 75-72 win over North Texas. The play began when sophomore point guard Ed Townsel blocked Chris Jones’ shot in the lane with just under three seconds to play in regulation. Senior forward Malcoln Kirkland got the rebound and kicked the ball out to Hooten who was on a dead sprint down the floor. Hooten connected on the shot as time expired from 35-feet out.
KIRKLAND PLAYER OF THE WEEK
After leading Arkansas State last week averaging a double-double at 17.7 points and 10.7 rebounds per game, senior forward Malcoln Kirkland was named the Sun Belt Conference Player of the Week for the competition week of Dec. 13-19, announced the league office Tuesday afternoon. Kirkland led the Red Wolves to a 2-1 record including leading A-State in a pair of career performances setting new career highs of 18 and 30 points against Seattle and Lyon College, respectively. Against Seattle, Kirkland posted the first double-double of his career with then career-highs of 18 points and 13 rebounds. He then followed up that performance with 12 rebounds and five points at Murray State. Kirkland broke out against Lyon College, scoring 30 points on 9-12 shooting and went 12-12 from the free throw line leading ASU against the Scots. He also had seven rebounds in just 24 minutes of action. The 30 points was the highest single-game scoring performance of the season for A-State.
GRISWOLD IMPRESSIVE IN DEBUT
Arkansas State freshman Darion Griswold looked impressive in his debut for the Red Wolves basketball team, scoring five points and pulling down seven rebounds in only 14 minutes of action. The Dumas, Ark. native joined the team after practicing all fall with the football team. Griswold played AAU basketball with teammate Rakeem Dickerson and led the Wings to an AAU national championship.
HOOTEN CAREER HIGH
Junior guard Marcus Hooten scored a career-high 27 points at Austin Peay. The junior-college transfer shot 9-16 and was 4-6 from FT range and 5-9 from the charity stripe. Hooten also had a career-high five assists. 27-points was the most scored by an ASU player this year.
FIRST TIME FOES
This year, ASU is facing a number of opponents for the first time in school history. Ohio, St. Bonaventure and Seattle appear on the Red Wolves schedule for the first time in the schools’ histories. ASU is also facing Kent State for only the second time. The first contest was held during the 1950-51 season.
The Red Wolves are traveling quite a distance this year and will be racking up the road miles traveling a total of 8,872 miles to their away contests this season. The three longest trips of the year will be to Seattle (2,256), Denver (984) and St. Bonaventure (925).
ON THE BENCH
For the second straight year, the Red Wolves will hold the distinction of being the only team currently playing in the NCAA with two former final four head coaches on the bench as assistant coach Richard Williams returns for his second season with ASU and Brady. The Red Wolves also hired Melvin Haralson as associate head coach in the offseason. Haralson was at Texas Southern last season after spending 10 years as an assistant and associate head coach at Houston. Jeff Clapacs also returns for his fourth season at Arkansas State as an assistant coach. Clapacs has been with Brady since his arrival at Arkansas State.
HEAD COACH JOHN BRADY
Now in his fourth year with the program John Brady was announced as Arkansas State’s 15th head men’s basketball coach by Director of Athletics Dr. Dean Lee at a press conference held in ASU’s Convocation Center on March 19, 2008.
In only three years at the helm of the program, Brady has turned the Red Wolves into a winner including capturing a share of the western division Sun Belt Conference Championship in 2010-11, posting double-digit Sun Belt Conference wins back-to-back for the first time in nearly 20 years and going undefeated at home with a 13-0 record.
During his first season with the Red Wolves, Brady helped lead ASU to one of the best starts in program history and achieved the No. 22 ranking on Collegeinsider.com’s Mid-Major Top 25 poll. As a team ASU greatly improved its defending and rebounding, finishing near the top of the conference in several statistical categories.
Brady took a step further in his second season with The Red Wolves, improving their record to 17-14 and the team advanced to the semifinals of the Sun Belt Tournament finishing second in the west. Brady was named Sun Belt Coach of the Year and the District VII Coach of the Year by the USBWA. ASU led the league in three-point FG defense, rebounding offense and defensive rebounding.
ASU also posted an 11-7 SBC record this season which was its best league mark since the 2006-07 season when ASU achieved the same record. Its 11-wins was the seventh-time since ASU joined the Sun Belt that they have posted double-digit league wins.
Brady spent the last 10-plus seasons serving as LSU’s head coach, leading the Tigers to six postseason berths, two SEC championships and three SEC Western Division titles. Twice named the SEC Coach of the Year, Brady is a proven winner who has a well-documented record of success and a long list of accomplishments.
Brady’s 16-year tenure as a head coach at both LSU and Samford in Birmingham, Alabama, has been decorated with achievements. He has coached a combined 25 All-TAAC and SEC selections, 48 academic all-conference choices, posted 11 winning seasons and collected five division championships. Brady piled up the third most wins in LSU history with 192 and left Samford after the 1996-97 season as the Bulldog’s all-time leader in coaching victories (89) as well.
He quickly turned around an LSU’s men’s basketball program that had suffered four consecutive losing seasons prior to his arrival, leading the Tigers to a 28-6 record, an SEC championship and an NCAA Sweet 16 appearance in just his third season (1999-00) at the helm. Under Brady’s direction, the Tigers recorded six consecutive winning seasons from 2001-02 to 2006-07 while making three trips to the NCAA Tournament and two more to the NIT. The 2005-06 campaign saw LSU post a 27-9 record and advance to the Final Four for the first time in 20 years.
Not only did Brady coach the Tigers to 23 wins versus ranked opponents, he also led them to victories over two teams ranked No. 1 in the Associated Press Poll (Arizona in 2002-03 and Duke in 2005-06). Additionally, he orchestrated a 19-game home winning streak over SEC opponents, the third longest stretch in LSU history.
While at LSU, Brady coached two NBA Lottery picks and six current NBA players. The Tigers signed nine Parade All-Americans and four McDonald All-Americans under Brady, who also coached three SEC Players of the Year, four players named SEC Freshman of the Year, one SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year and 17 All-SEC selections.
Prior to taking over the reigns at LSU, Brady served as Samford’s head coach from 1991-92 through 1996-97. It didn’t take long for him to turn around a Samford program coming off six straight losing seasons, either, guiding the Bulldogs to a 17-10 record in his second season. He led Samford to three straight winning seasons (1995-97) for the first time since 1982-84, all leading up to a 19-9 record and division title in 1997. Samford won the TAAC West Division each of Brady’s final two seasons at the school for the first time in school history.
His four winning campaigns at Samford were the first for any coach at the school, and he led the Bulldogs to an 89-77 record after they went 27-83 the four seasons prior to his initial year. He coached eight All-TAAC and 14 Academic All-TAAC players over six seasons.
The McComb, Miss., native earned his bachelor’s degree in 1976 from Belhaven College, where he was three-year starter and scored over 1,000 points during his college playing career. Brady was a two-time All-Southern States Conference selection and was later inducted into his alma mater’s Hall of Fame.
He got his coaching start as a graduate assistant with the Mississippi State men’s basketball program while earning his master’s degree from 1976-77. Brady took his first head coaching position in Louisiana at Crowley High School in 1977 and led the basketball squad to a 129-49 (.725) record in five seasons. He was named the 1981 Louisiana Sports Writers Association Class 3-A Coach of the Year.
Brady returned to the college coaching ranks in 1982 as an assistant coach at Mississippi State. He spent the next eight years with the Bulldogs, the first four seasons under coach Bob Hoyt and the next four as a chief recruiter for coach Richard Williams. Following his tenure in Starkville, Brady returned to Louisiana for the second time, this time to serve as an assistant coach at the University of New Orleans. Brady helped lead UNO to the NCAA Tournament during his only season with the Privateers.