GAME PREVIEW
Central Baptist College
MUSTANGS
3-2 (1-0 AMC)
NOV 14 | 7:00 PM
Convocation Center
Jonesboro, Ark.
Arkansas State
RED WOLVES
0-1 (0-0 SBC)
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107.9 KFIN
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► STORYLINES
 
The Arkansas State men's basketball team will play four games over the next week with the home opener on Monday against Central Baptist College. Tip off is set for 7 p.m. at the Convocation Center. Fans can watch the game via the Red Wolves Digital Network and the play-by-play will be available on the EAB Red Wolves Sports Network and flagship station 107.9 KFIN.  

The 2016-17 campaign marks the program's 89th season with the Red Wolves amassing a 1,163-1,116 all-time record (.511) dating back to the inaugural 1926-27 season.

Entering the 30th season at the Convocation Center, the Red Wolves have compiled a 284-115 (.712).

Head Coach Grant McCasland, who is in his first season at Arkansas State, is one win shy of 200 wins in his seven year head coaching career. McCasland has a record of 199-45 (.816) in stops at Midland College (2004-09) and Midwestern State (2009-11).  

A-State is 45-10 all-time in home openers dating back to the 1961-62 season. (Home/Away not available prior to 1961).

In 29 seasons of play at the Convocation Center, A-State sports a 23-6 record in the home opener. The Red Wolves have won 13 of the last 15 home openers and 20 of the last 24.  

A-State opened the season on the road for the seventh time in the last nine seasons and have now lost six of the last seven season openers that have been on the road.

Devin Carter had a team-high 15 points at North Dakota State, his 22nd-straight game to reach double figures. He has scored in double figures in 28 of his 32 games.  

Donte Thomas logged 10 assists at North Dakota State, his fourth career game with 10 or more helpers. 

A-State begins a stretch of five games in nine days with the home opener Monday against Central Baptist. The five games in nine days is a first for A-State since 2006. 

► RED WOLVES DROP OPENER
Despite a late rally to cut an 18-point deficit to five points, A-State dropped its season opener 76-66 at North Dakota State Friday night.

A-State limited the Bison to 1-for-11 from 3-point range, the first opponent with just one 3-pointer since   Georgia State was 1-for-8 (12.5 percent) on Jan. 31, 2015.  

North Dakota State turned 35 fouls whistled against the Red Wolves into a 42-15 edge in free throw attempts. The Bison converted 29-of-42 (69 percent) to outscore A-State 29-11 at the charity stripe. The 42 free throw attempts marked the second-straight season opener that the opponent had 40 or more free throw attempts. Last season, SIU-Edwardsville was 30-for-40 (75 percent) in a 79-70 win over A-State. Last season, three opponents (SIUE, Oregon and Troy) had 40 or more free throw attempts against the Red Wolves. 

A total of 53 fouls were called, most in an A-State game since 60 whistles on Feb. 27, 2016 against UT Arlington. The Mavericks had 35 fouls against 25 for the Red Wolves. A-State set a new single-game record with the 35 fouls. The previous record was 34 in games versus Western Kentucky (1992-93) and Louisiana (1972-73). 

The season opening loss dropped A-State to 43-46 all-time in season openers and 4-14 in season opening games on the road (since 1962).  

 

► EXHIBITION TAKEAWAYS
A-State came away with a pair of exhibition game victories to prep for the season opener. The Red Wolves defeated Arkansas-Monticello 76-59 and followed that effort with a 71-49 victory over Henderson State.

Defense stood out for A-State in both games as the Red Wolves 49 points allowed to Henderson State were the fewest in an exhibition game since 2008 (46 vs Henderson State).  

The Red Wolves had seven players average seven or more points over the pair of exhibition games with Devin Carter leading the way at 12.5 points per game.  

Jahmiah Simmons paced A-State on the boards, averaging 10.0 per game and he is among four players to have posted at least 5.0 rebounds per game. A-State finished plus-20 per game on the glass and averaged 19 offensive rebounds. 

A-State collected 38 offensive rebounds in the two games to post a combined 42 second-chance points. The Red Wolves had 19 second chance points against Henderson State and 23 against Arkansas-Monticello. The last time A-State had more than 23 second chance points was the four-overtime victory against Little Rock (24) on March 14, 2014. The last time A-State combined for 40 or more second chance points in back-to-back games was the 2012-13 season against Lamar (20) and at FIU (20). 

► WHAT'S BACK
A-State will open the season with five returning letter winners, including two starters, and nine newcomers. Of the nine newcomers, five are junior college transfers and four are true freshmen. 

Although the Red Wolves are forced to replace three starters, A-State returns a majority of it's three-point field goals (99/180 - 55%), points (1,195/2,282 - 52%) and assists (209/381 - 55%). 

A-State will be forced to replace 62 percent (477/770) of the field goals, 71 percent (913/1,243) of the rebounds, 62 percent (97/157) of the steals and 64 percent (4,044/6,300) of the minutes from last year's team.  

► SCOUTING REPORT: CENTRAL BAPTIST COLLEGE
Central Baptist College will play their sixth game of the season Monday night at the Convocation Center.    

The Mustangs sit at 3-2 on the season after a 97-65 loss at Little Rock Saturday afternoon. Nick Jones had a team-high 21 points and Jordan Ford also posted double-figures with 11 points. Mike Evans, who sat out the 2012-13 season as a redshirt at Little Rock, had eight points and seven rebounds.    

Central Baptist is averaging 83.8 points per game and shooting 43.9 percent from the floor. Led by Fred Albright (14.0 ppg), five Mustangs are averaging double figures. 

The Mustangs opened the season with a 104-94 loss at John Brown (Ark.), but reeled off three-straight wins before losing Saturday. 
 

► SERIES HISTORY
Monday's game is the first meeting between the Red Wolves and Mustangs since 2010 and the fifth all-time meeting.    

A-State leads the series 4-0 and has outscored Central Baptist 427-219, an average of 52.0 points per game. 

The most recent meeting featured A-State tying the single-game record for points while breaking the program record for scoring margin with the 120-39 win on December 28, 2010.  

► A-STATE IN HOME OPENERS
A-State is 45-10 all-time in home openers dating back to the 1961-62 season. (Home/Away not available prior to 1961).

In 29 seasons of play at the Convocation Center, A-State sports a 23-6 record in the home opener. The Red Wolves have won 13 of the last 15 home openers and 20 of the last 24. 

A-State defeated Lyon 81-37 in the home opener last season, but the result has been vacated due to NCAA sanctions.  

► ELITE COMPANY
Senior guard Donte Thomas was among elite company last season by averaging at least 11 points, 5.5 rebounds and 5.5 assists. 

Only four players last season averaged those numbers - Alex Hamilton (Louisiana Tech: 19.9 PPG, 5.7 RPG, 6.2 APG), Denzel Valentine (Michigan State: 19.2 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 7.8 APG), Kyle Collinsworth (BYU: 15.3 PPG, 8.2 RPG, 7.4 APG) and Donte Thomas (Arkansas State: 11.2 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 5.6 APG) - but only Thomas returns this year.

► PROVEN WINNERS
Head Coach Grant McCasland embarks on his first season as head coach of the Red Wolves with a proven coaching staff full of 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 Midwestern State (NCAA D2). 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). 

Combining the head coaching experience, the A-State coaching staff has produced a record of 441-103 (.811) with 16 seasons of head coaching positions at various levels. 

► A-STATE'S 15TH HEAD COACH
Head Coach Grant McCasland was named the 15th head coach in program history back in March. 

McCasland begins his first season with five returning letter winners on the squad, including two starters, with nine newcomers added to the roster. 

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.

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.

 NUMBER CHANGES
Donte Thomas, C.J. Foster and Connor Kern have each changed numbers since last season.

Donte Thomas has switched from No. 24 to No. 0 while C.J. Foster swapped No. 13 to No. 5. Connor Kern traded No. 2 for No. 12. 

► PRESEASON ACCOLADES
Senior guard Devin Carter was selected to the Sun Belt Conference First Team Preseason All-Conference by the league's 12 head coaches. 

Carter averaged 17.3 points per game last year, second-most among returning SBC players, while shooting 45.8 percent from the floor and 41.7 percent from three-point range.

A-State was picked by the coaches to finish 10th in the preseason poll. UT Arlington was chosen preaseason No. 1 followed by Little Rock, Georgia State, Georgia Southern, league newcomer Coastal Carolina, South Alabama, Louisiana, ULM and Troy while Appalachian State and Texas State round out the poll.  

► EARLY START
A-State played an October game for the first time since hosting Central Baptist on Oct. 29, 2011. Dating back to the 2005-06 season, the exhibition game against Arkansas-Monticello was the earliest game played by the Red Wolves. 

The 2016-17 season got underway Friday at North Dakota State and tied for the second-earliest start in program history. A-State opened the season on Nov. 10 back in the 2012-13 and 2006-07 seasons while opening on Nov. 11 in 2013-14 and 2011-12 seasons. 

November presents eight games for A-State, the most in the month since the 2006-07 squad had nine games. A-State played a total of eight November games in the previous two seasons combined and has not played more than six between 2006-07 and this season. 

A particularly tough stretch awaits the Red Wolves as they will play five games in a span of nine days from Nov. 14-22. This stretch will mark the first time A-State plays five games in a nine day span since the 2006-07 squad faced the same from Nov. 10-18.