TAMPA, Fla. (11/24/17) – The Arkansas State men’s basketball team trailed 33-30 at halftime and tied the game at 43 before falling at USF 72-61 Friday afternoon in Tampa.

Deven Simms led A-State (2-4) with 15 points while Tristin Walley and Ty Cockfield also reached double figures with 11 and 10 points, respectively. Malik Martin finished with a double-double of 24 points and 10 rebounds to pace USF (4-2).

A cold-shooting second half saw A-State finish the game shooting 37 percent (22-59) from the floor, including 7-of-24 (29 percent) beyond the arc. The Red Wolves also struggled at the free throw line, hitting 10-of-16 (63 percent). USF finished the afternoon shooting 48 percent (25-52) from the field and 1-of-10 (10 percent) from 3-point range. The Bulls made 15 free throws in the second half and finished 21-of-27 (78 percent) at the charity stripe.

USF controlled the paint by outscoring A-State 42-16 and held a 37-34 edge on the glass. The Bulls size in the post contributed to five blocked shots and USF turned A-State over 14 times.

How It Happened (First Half):

USF opened the scoring with a three-pointer, but the Red Wolves scored the next five points on a layup by Tamas Bruce and three-pointer by Walley to lead 5-3. In a first half that featured five ties and six lead changes, neither team was able to lead by more than five points.

The Red Wolves build a 24-20 advantage with 6:36 to play in the half, but USF went on a 9-0 run to build its largest lead in the first 20 minutes. USF managed to take a 33-30 lead to the halftime break.

Marquis Eaton had nine points to lead all scorers in the half while Walley had eight points. A-State shot 42 percent (11-26) overall and 4-of-10 (40 percent) from 3-point range. The Bulls were 50 percent (13-26) from the floor, but 1-for-5 (20 percent) beyond the arc. Both teams were 80 percent at the charity stripe with A-State going 4-for-5 and USF hitting 6-of-8.

USF scored 18 of their 33 points in the paint, holding an 18-8 edge for the half. A-State had 17 points off its bench and held a 15-14 advantage on the glass.

How It Happened (Second Half):

USF scored the first four points of the half to grab a seven-point advantage. A-State used an 8-2 run to cut the deficit to 39-38, but the Bulls answered. The Red Wolves tied the game at 43-43 with 12:33 to play, but the Bulls would pull away.

With the game tied at 43, USF pulled in front 50-43 by way of a 7-0 spurt. Deven Simms finished a layup to make it 50-45, but A-State went cold from the field as the Bulls pulled away. The Red Wolves had a six minute stretch without a field goal while turning the ball over five times. In that span, USF went up 62-49 with Ty Cockfield ending the drought with a 3-pointer.

USF led by as many as 15 points late, but A-State was able to score two quick buckets in the final minutes to set the final score at 71-62.

A-State closed the final 20 minutes shooting 33 percent (11-33) from the field and 3-for-14 (21 percent) beyond the arc. USF hit 46 percent (12-26) in the second half, but did not make a 3-point shot (0-5). The Bulls took advantage at the free throw line, hitting 15-of-19 (79 percent) while A-State was 6-for-11 (55 percent).

The Bulls outscored A-State 24-8 in the paint for the second half and scored eight points on the fast break. USF had a 23-19 edge on the glass, including four offensive rebounds for four second chance points.

Notables:

  • A-State and USF met for the first time since 1975. USF now leads the series 2-1.
  • The Red Wolves did not have a player score 20 or more points for the first time this season.
  • Marquis Eaton tied his season best with nine points.
  • Deven Simms led the team in scoring for the fourth time this season and eighth time of his career.
  • Tristin Walley had a season high three 3-point makes and led team in rebounding for the second time this year.

Quoting Coach Balado:

“It was a tough game for us in the middle. They are a big team and we don’t have that kind of size and they score 42 points in the paint. We shot 24 three’s and that’s what happens when you play long teams contrary to driving in and making them foul us. That’s what got us in a hole in the second half. When we drove by them and got to the rim, we got fouled and went to the free throw line. Ty Cockfield got in foul trouble early, but I thought Marquis Eaton came in and gave us great minutes for a freshman. When you play a team with length, you have to be tougher. It has nothing to do with being smaller, we’ve got to be tougher. Credit to them as they out-toughed us for loose balls in the second half and go on a run there in the second half. We’ll watch film and get better from this.”

Up Next:

A-State closes out a three-game road trip with a matchup at Cleveland State on Wednesday at 6:00 p.m. (CT).  The Red Wolves return to First National Bank on Dec. 5 to take on UT Martin.