GAME PREVIEW
Georgetown
HOYAS
1-1 (0-0 Big East)
NOV 17 | 5:30 PM (CT)
McDonough Arena
Washington, D.C.
Arkansas State
RED WOLVES
1-1 (0-0 SBC)
Website | Game Notes Fox Sports 1
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Flipcard | Game Notes
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► STORYLINES
 
The Arkansas State men's basketball hits the road for a three-game road swing over four days beginning Thursday night at Georgetown. A-State and the Hoyas meet at 5:30 p.m. (CT) in a game televised nationally on Fox Sports 1. Brandon Gaudin will have the play-by-play with Ron Thompson as analyst. Fans can also tune in on 95.3 The Ticket with Keith Merritt bringing the play-by-play.   

The 2016-17 campaign marks the program's 89th season with the Red Wolves amassing a 1,164-1,116 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, claimed his 200th victory as a collegiate coach on Monday. McCasland has a record of 200-45 (.816) in stops at Midland College (2004-09) and Midwestern State (2009-11).  

A-State improved to 46-10 all-time in home openers dating back to the 1961-62 season and 24-6 at the Convocation Center. 

The Red Wolves held a 56-20 lead at halftime, the largest in box scores available back to the 2004-05 season. In that span, A-State has held a 30-point halftime lead five other times, the most recent coming against Central Baptist on Dec. 28, 2010 (55-22).  

The 100 points scored are the most in a home opener since 2001 when A-State defeated Central Methodist 101-75.

Guards are responsible for 45 of the 80 team rebounds (56.3 percent) thus far.  

With games played on Nov. 14 included, A-State ranks 16th nationally in 3-point field-goal percentage defense with opponents shooting 18.4 percent (7-38).  

► RED WOLVES BOUNCE BACK
A-State bounced back from a season opening loss at North Dakota State (76-66) with an impressive 100-57 win in the home opener Monday night against Central Baptist.

The 100 points scored are the most in a home opener since 2001 when A-State defeated Central Methodist 101-75. 

The Red Wolves had 13 steals in the game, only the second time since the 2012-13 season that an A-State squad had 13 or more.  

A-State shot 63.6 percent (21-33) in the first half Monday, the highest percentage in a half since shooting 70.4 percent (19-27) in the second half at South Alabama on Jan. 2, 2016. 

The Red Wolves held a 56-20 lead at halftime, the largest in box scores available back to the 2004-05 season. In that span, A-State has held a 30-point halftime lead five other times, the most recent coming against Central Baptist on Dec. 28, 2010 (55-22).  A-State had not scored 50 or more points in a half since scoring 54 in the second half at South Alabama on Jan. 18, 2016 and it was the most in a half since scoring 57 against Belhaven on Dec. 6, 2014.      

 

► SCOUTING REPORT: GEORGETOWN
Georgetown enters Thursday's game after a tough 76-75 loss to Maryland on Tuesday night. The Hoyas held a seven point lead with one minute remaining but dropped to 1-1 on the season with the loss.     

The Hoyas opened the season with an impressive  105-60 win over USC Upstate Saturday afternoon. Robert Morris graduate transfer Rodney Pryor put up 26 points in the first half before ending the day with 30 points. Georgetown held a 68-35 lead at the break, most points in the first half since December of 2000.     

Pryor leads the team averaging 23.0 ppg on 60.7 percent (17-28) shooting. Overall, the Hoyas have four players averaging double figures. Isaac Copeland leads the team on the glass, averaging 8.0 rpg.  

Georgetown shoots 50.0 percent (52-104) from the floor and 46.9 percent (15-32) from 3-point range while holding opponents to 40.9 percent (47-115) from the field and 25 percent (13-52) beyond the arc. 

The Hoyas went to the free throw line 42 times against Maryland and are averaging 37 free throw attempts over the first two games. 

Georgetown plays host to A-State in McDonough Arena in the first regular season game at the site since the Hoyas defeated Old Dominion on Dec. 19, 2009. The Hoyas hosted West Virginia in the 2014 National Invitation Tournament.  
 

► SERIES HISTORY
Arkansas State and Georgetown meet for the first time on Thursday.    

Georgetown is one of five first time opponents on the schedule this year along with Army, Cleveland State, Lehigh and Minnesota. 

A-State is 16-16 in meetings with first time opponents dating back to the 1999-2000 season, losing the last four. 

The Red Wolves carry a 2-4 record against the current membership of the Big East. A-State is 2-0 against Creighton and 0-4 against DePaul.   

► GUARDS CRASHING THE BOARDS
It's nothing new to A-State fans to see Donte Thomas among the team leaders in rebounding, but he's joined by guard Rashad Lindsey as team leaders in rebounds after the first two games.

Thomas led or tied for the team lead in rebounding six times last season and has led or tied for the lead in both games this season. Lindsey and Thomas each had six rebounds at North Dakota State and Thomas had a game-high seven Monday against Central Baptist.  

Guards are responsible for 45 of the 80 team rebounds (56.3 percent) thus far. 

Among Sun Belt Conference athletes, Thomas and Lindsey are in the top-15 rebounders. Thomas ranks tied for 12th with 6.5 per game while Lindsey is tied for 15th averaging 6.0.   

► LOOKING UP
It's early, but A-State has seen an uptick in shooting percentages over the two games compared to last season.

A-State is shooting 49.2 percent (61-124) from the field, up from 39.8 percent (53-133) at this point last season. From 3-point range, A-State is up from 34.3 percent (12-35) to 38.9 percent (14-36) this year. 

 

► 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. So far this season, he's near those numbers averaging 10 points, 6.5 rebounds and 8.5 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 442-103 (.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.