GAME PREVIEW
Army
BLACK KNIGHTS
1-1 (0-0 Patriott)
NOV 19 | 5:00 PM (CT)
Christl Arena
West Point, N.Y.
Arkansas State
RED WOLVES
2-1 (0-0 SBC)
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107.9 KFIN
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► STORYLINES
 
Coming off a 78-72 win at Georgetown on Thursday night, A-State continues the three-game road swing with two games in West Point, N.Y. as part of the Maui Jim Maui Invitational regional games. The Red Wolves take on host Army at 5:00 p.m. (CT) on Saturday before taking on Chattanooga or Central Arkansas on Sunday at 11:00 a.m. Keith Merritt will have the play-by-play on 107.9 KFIN and the EAB Red Wolves Sports Network.    

The 2016-17 campaign marks the program's 89th season with the Red Wolves amassing a 1,165-1,116 all-time record (.511) dating back to the inaugural 1926-27 season. 

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).

With the 78-72 win at Georgetown, A-State earned the sixth non-conference road win in program history against a team from the ACC, Big East, Big 12, Big 10, Pac-12, or SEC. 

A-State has held all three opponents below 22 percent shooting from 3-point range.  

Guards are responsible for 71 of the 117 team rebounds (60.7 percent) thus far.  

The Red Wolves have shot at least 63 percent in the first half the last two games.   

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).  

► REGIONAL GAMES OF THE MAUI JIM MAUI INVITATIONAL
What is the Maui Jim Maui Invitational doing in West Point, N.Y.?

The four teams in the field for the regional games are Arkansas State, Army, Central Arkansas and Chattanooga. Each of the four regional teams participated in opening games against schools that will compete in the Maui Invitational next week. A-State faced Georgetown, Central Arkansas traveled to Wisconsin and Oklahoma State, Army faced Oregon and Chattanooga played at Tennessee and North Carolina. 

The Red Wolves had 13 steals in the game, only the second time since the 2012-13 The winners of Saturday's games -- Arkansas State vs Army and Central Arkansas vs Chattanooga -- will face off Saturday for the regional title. The teams that fall in the opening games on Saturday will square off on Sunday as well, but A-State will play at 11:00 a.m. (CT) win or lose on Saturday. .      

 

► SCOUTING REPORT: ARMY
Army enters the weekend with a 1-1 record. Oregon topped the Black Knights 91-77 in the season opener, but Army came back and won their home opener in a commanding 91-53 win against Mount Saint Mary (NY).      

The Black Knights have a plus-12 scoring margin thus far, scoring 84 points a game on 43.7 percent shooting. Army is 38.1 percent from 3-point range and also carries a plus-12 maring on the glass.      

Kennedy Edwards (12.0 ppg) is one of three players averaging double figures for Army thus far. He's joined by Jordan Fox (10.5) and Luke Morrison (10.5).  

Mac Hoffman leads the Black Knights on the glass, pulling in 8.0 rebounds per game. He has a team-high seven offensive rebounds as well.   

 

► SERIES HISTORY
Arkansas State and Army meet for the first time on Saturday.    

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

A-State is 17-16 in meetings with first time opponents dating back to the 1999-2000 season. 

The Red Wolves have played just one game against the current membership of the Patriot League. A-State played Navy back in the Evansville Invitational on December 30, 1978 suffering a 77-75 overtime setback.  

► STATEMENT WIN
A-State earned a 78-72 win at Georgetown on Nov. 17, a statement win for the program in just the third game under head coach Grant McCasland. 

The non-conference road win is the sixth in program history against a team from the higher resource conferences (ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC).  

A-State last picked up a non-conference road win against a higher resource team on Dec. 17, 2014 at Mississippi State (69-55).  

The other four non-conference road wins against higher resource conference foes are: at Ole Miss (2013  | 74-69), at Stanford in the NIT (1988 | 60-59), at Iowa (66-62 | 1985) and at Ole Miss (1947 | 40-29). 

The win marked the first against a team from the Big East Conference as well.  

► 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 three games. 

Thomas led or tied for the team lead in rebounding six times last season and has led or tied for the lead in all three games this season. Lindsey and Thomas each had six rebounds at North Dakota State and Thomas had seven boards against Central Baptist and at Georgetown. 

Guards are responsible for 71 of the 117 team rebounds (60.7 percent) thus far.  

Among Sun Belt Conference athletes, Thomas, Lindsey and C.J. Foster are in the top-20 rebounders. Thomas ranks tied for 11th with 6.7 per game while Lindsey and Foster are tied for 19th with 5.0 per game. 

 

► THOMAS ENJOYS DC HOMECOMING
When the schedule for the 2016-17 season came out, it was easy for Donte Thomas to cricle the game at Georgetown on a calendar. 

Thomas, a Washington native, returned to his roots and played in front of many family and friends helping A-State to a 78-72 win.   

Logging 22 minutes, Thomas scored 12 points, had a team high seven rebounds and five assists. Going up against the Hoyas full court press much of the night, Thomas committed just two turnovers and was 3-for-5 from the floor.  

 

► RISING TO THE OCCASION
The Nov. 17 game at Georgetown marked the fourth over the last two seasons against a higher resources conference foe on the road. 

Devin Carter has risen to the occasion in all four games, scoring 20 or more points while shooting at least 50 percent from the field.

In the four games (at Oregon, at Baylor, at Missouri and at Georgetown), Carter has hit 35-of-64 (54.7 percent) of his field goal attempts while going 14-for-28 (50 percent) from 3-point range. 

For the four games, he's averaged 22.8 points (91 pts) and 5 rebounds (20 rebs). His 25 points at Georgetown are the most among the four outings while 20 at Baylor are the fewest. 

 

► WELCOME BACK
C.J. Foster elected to redshirt last season and the move has paid off so far this season. 

Foster tied his career high with nine points in the season opener at North Dakota State and ranks sixth on the team averaging 7.0 points per game. 

In the statement win at Georgetown, Foster set a career high with six rebounds. He had a key offensive rebound in the final minute that helped A-State clinch the victory. On the year, Foster has a team-high seven offensive rebounds. 

 

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

A-State is shooting 50.9 percent (89-1175) from the field, up from 43.4 percent (86-198) at this point last season. From 3-point range, A-State is up from 31.8 percent (14-44) to 41.7 percent (20-48) this year.  

 

► DEFENDING THE TREY
All three opponents thus far have shot 22 percent or less from 3-point range against the Red Wolves.  

North Dakota State was just 1-for-11 (9.1 percent) in the season opener and Central Baptist was 6-for-27 (22.2 percent) beyond the arc. A-State held Georgetown without a 3-point field goal in the first half (0-6) on Nov. 17 before the Hoyas finished 3-for-20 (15 percent). '

After three games, opponents are shooting 17.2 percent (10-58) from long range. A-State ranks seventh in the most recent NCAA Division I statistical rankings and is second among Sun Belt peers (South Alabama - 3rd | 13.9 percent). 

 

► QUICK STARTS
The Red Wolves have held large halftime leads in each of the last two games and shot 60 percent or better in the first half of each game.

A-State built a 56-20 advantage against Central Baptist back on Nov. 14 and shot 63.6 percent (21-33) from the field. The Red Wolves followed with a 48-29 lead at Georgetown and shot 65.4 percent (17-26) from the floor. 

In the three games this year, A-State has outscored opponents 138-89 in the first half, an average of 16.3 points per game. In the first half alone, the Red Wolves are shooting 59.5 percent (50-84) overall and 56 percent (14-25) beyond the arc. 

 

► 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 10.7 points, 6.7 rebounds and 7.3 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). 

The staff has produced a record of 443-103 (.811) with 17 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.