EVANSVILLE, Ind. (11/10/17) – Ty Cockfield poured in 22 points but Arkansas State men’s basketball dropped its season opener 77-63 at Evansville Friday night.

Cockfield, a junior college transfer, was 8-of-13 from the field for a game-high 22 points. Redshirt-sophomore Connor Kern also finished in double figures as he posted 10 points on 3-of-6 shooting. Senior Tamas Bruce led A-State (0-1) on the glass as he had eight boards to go along with eight points. Ryan Taylor paced Evansville (1-0) with 21 points.

A-State shot 40.7 percent (24-59) on the night and struggled to 5-for-19 (26 percent) from 3-point range. Evansville shot 45 percent (23-51) from the field while also struggling beyond the arc (5-17/29 percent), but went 26-for-34 (77 percent) at the charity stripe compared to 10-of-12 (83 percent) for A-State

The Red Wolves won the battle on the boards 36-34 and 12 offensive boards led to 15 second chance points for A-State. Evansville turned 16 A-State turnovers into 19 points while 13 turnovers for the Purple Aces were turned into 13 points for the Red Wolves. Both teams had success in the paint finishing with 34 points. Evansville had a distinct advantage off the bench, outscoring A-State 32-18.  

How It Happened (First Half):

Cockfield got the Red Wolves off to a strong start as he scored the first four points as A-State got out to an early lead. Cockfield poured in 14 points in the first half on 5-of-7 shooting.

Evansville used a 6-0 run to build a 14-8 advantage and later led 21-14 with 7:39 to play in the half. A trey by Cockfield trimmed the deficit to 21-17, but the Purple Aces pulled away with an 8-2 run to build a 10-point lead.

Behind 46 percent shooting (13-28), Evansville took a 38-27 lead into halftime. Evansville took advantage at the foul line, shooting 11-of-13 (85 percent) at the charity stripe while A-State was 5-for-6 (83 percent).

Newcomers were responsible for all 27 points in the first half with Cockfield leading way with 14 points. Grantham Gillard added seven points while Marquis Eaton had four points and redshirt-freshman Jake Scoggins added a bucket.  

How It Happed (Second Half):

Evansville scored the first five points of the half to lead 43-27, but A-State answered with a 7-0 spurt to cut the deficit to nine. A trey by Evansville increased the deficit to double figures once again and A-State was unable to pull any closer.

A-State went nearly nine minutes without a field goal as the Purple Aces built a 24 point advantage, 67-43, with 5:55 to play. A jumper by Rashad Lindsey sparked a 13-4 run late in the second half, but the final margin of 14 points would be as close as the Red Wolves could get.

Notables:

A-State drops 43-47 all-time in season openers and opened on the road for the eighth time in the last 10 seasons.
The Red Wolves fell to 4-15 in season opening games on the road dating back to the 1962 season.
Coach Mike Balado became the fourth A-State head coach to begin his tenure with a road game.
Evansville leads the all-time series against A-State 3-0 with Friday’s win. Today’s game was the first meeting since the 1978 season.
Today’s game marked the first time A-State played a Missouri Valley Conference foe since 2011 (Missouri State). The Red Wolves are now 17-74 against the current membership of the MVC.

Quoting Coach Balado:

“I keep telling these guys in practice that we foul too much and they look at me like I’m crazy. Evansville was 26-of-34 from the free throw line; 26 points from the free throw line is absurd. A key to the game tonight was we didn’t move our feet well. We reached, we got lazy and we were late on rotations and next thing you know you are in the double-bonus with eight minutes to go.”

We drove the ball just as much as they did and the fouls weren’t called, but that’s the way it’s going to go sometimes. We have to adjust to that and be smarter defensively. For us to only get seven steals and five assists means we weren’t looking to get other guys shots. We shot 40 percent from the field and took way too many three’s. We’ve just got to get back and watch film and get ready for Monday.”

Up Next:

The Red Wolves host Abilene Christian in the home opener on Monday (November 13) at 7:00 p.m. inside First National Bank Arena.