ROCKET CITY CLASSIC
Alabama
CRIMSON TIDE
5-5 (0-0 SEC)
DEC 21 | 8:00 PM (CT)
Von Braun Center
Huntsville, Ala.
Arkansas State
RED WOLVES
9-2 (0-0 SBC)
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107.9 KFIN
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► STORYLINES
 
Arkansas State is scheduled to close out the non-conference schedule with two games in a three day span beginning Wednesday at the Rocket City Classic against Alabama. Tip off is set for 8 p.m. (CT) from the Von Braun Center in Huntsville, Ala. Doug Bell (PBP) and Tony Delk (Analyst) will have the call on SEC Network while Matt Stolz brings the action on the EAB Red Wolves Sports Network flagship 107.9 KFIN.       

The 2016-17 campaign marks the program's 89th season with the Red Wolves amassing a 1,172-1,117 all-time record (.512) dating back to the inaugural 1926-27 season.

Head Coach Grant McCasland, who is in his first season at Arkansas State, is off to a 9-2 start this season, the best start by an A-State head coach. McCasland has a record of 208-46 (.819) in stops at Midland College (2004-09) and Midwestern State (2009-11).  His NCAA record is 65-14 (.823) with his 56-12 mark at Midwestern State and 9-2 ledger at A-State. 

Devin Carter converted 10 3-pointers at UT Martin (Dec. 14) for a single-game school record. The 10 3-point makes are tied for the most in an NCAA Division I game this season. 

As of NCAA Stat rankings on Dec. 19, the Red Wolves rank second nationally in 3-point field goal percentage defense (.263). Additionally, A-State ranks 24th in 3-point field goal percentage (.406) and 32nd in field-goal percentage (.489). 

Donte Thomas dished out a career high 13 assists at Central Arkansas (Dec. 16), the third-most in a NCAA Division I game this season. He is one of five active NCAA DI players with 200-plus assists (224) and 200-plus rebounds (200) since start of 2015-16 season.   

Guards are responsible for 231 of the 391 team rebounds (59.1 percent) thus far.   

A-State carries a +9.9 (857-748) scoring margin through 11 games, the best scoring margin since the 2008-09 squad was +10.2 (731-619). 

The Red Wolves are off to a 9-2 start for the first time since the 2003-04 season and have won 9 out of the last 10 games for the first time since the 1997-98 season.  

A-State is 9-2 on the season and two areas stick out when comparing the nine wins and two losses. The Red Wolves are 8-0 when tied or winning the rebounding total and 7-0 win winning points in the paint.

The win at Central Arkansas (Dec. 16) gave A-State four non-conference road wins, most by an A-State teams since the 1986-87 season (4). The most in any season came in 1973-74 (5). 

 

► TRENDING UP
A-State is shooting 48.9 percent (304-622) from the field, up from 42.5 percent (294-691) at this point last season. From 3-point range, A-State is up from 32.6 percent (60-184) to 40.6 percent (86-212) this year. 

The Red Wolves have shot 50 percent or better in six of 11 games (Central Baptist, Georgetown, Chattanooga, SIUE, Lehigh, Cleveland State) this year and  Last season, A-State reached 50 percent or better in a total of six games. From 3-point range, A-State has hit 43 percent or better in five games (Central Baptist, Georgetown, Chattanooga, Lehigh, UT Martin) already, a total reached five times last season.   

A-State carries a +9.9 (857-748) scoring margin through 11 games, the best scoring margin since the first 11 games of the 2008-09 season when A-State was +10.2 (731-619).     

 

► ALWAYS RISING
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 Red Wolves have since added seven more victories, including wins over SoCon preseason favorite Chattanooga (73-67) and Patriot League preseason favorite Lehigh (97-89).        

The non-conference road win at Georgetown was 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).  

With the win at Central Arkansas (Dec. 16), A-State earned its fourth non-conference road win of the season, most since the 1986-87 season. The Red Wolves have a chance at a fifth on Friday in Minnesota which would tie the 1973-74 squad with the most in program history.  

A-State has five wins this year away from home in non-conference play, most since the 1988-89 team had three road wins and a pair of neutral site victories in the preseason.   

 

► TREY-RIFFIC
Devin Carter drained 10 3-pointers Wedneday at UT Martin to set a single-game school record. He becomes the fourth player in NCAA Division I action to hit 10 3-pointers, the most this season. 

Carter bests the previous school record of nine 3-pointers held by Adrian Banks (vs Troy |Jan. 13, 2007), Dewarick Spencer (vs UAPB | Dec. 17, 2003) and Tevoris Thompson (vs Lyon | Dec. 7, 2002).

A-State hit 14-of-32 (43.8 percent) from 3-point range at UT Martin the most 3-pointers in a game since Feb. 20, 2014 against UT Arlington when the Red Wolves were 16-of-30 (53.3 percent) against UT Arlington. 

 

► SCOUTING REPORT: ALABAMA
Alabama enters Wednesday's game with a 5-5 ledger on the year. The Crimson Tide played a neutral site game in Birmingham on Sunday falling to Clemson 67--54.

Offensively, Alabama is led by Braxton Key who averages 9.5 points per game. The Crimson Tide has eight players averaging six or more points. 

On the glass, Donta Hall leads with 6.2 boards per game. Alabama has a plus-2.9 rebound margin this year. 

Alabama is shooting 42.8 percent from the field and 31.7 percent beyond the arc. The Crimson Tide rank 31st nationally in scoring defense, allowing 63.0 points per game.

 

► SERIES HISTORY
Alabama and Arkansas State meet for just the second time on Wednesday.       

A-State and the Crimson Tide first met on December 11, 1969 with Alabama earning a 93-79 victory.  

The Red Wolves face an SEC opponent for the third-straight season, all away from home. A-State is 14-42 all-time against SEC opponents with a record of 2-25 in neutral site/road games. The last win for A-State came at Mississippi State (69-55) back in the 2014-15 season. 

  

► GUARDS CRASHING THE BOARDS
Guards are responsible for 231 of the 391 team rebounds (59.1 percent) thus far. 

Deven Simms leads the team averaging 5.0 rebounds per game with Donte Thomas second at 4.5 boards per game. Overall, five of the top six rebounders this season are guards for A-State. 

 

► BEYOND THE BOX SCORE
C.J. Foster redshirted last season and has returned this year as a starter in each game and key contributor. 

Foster established career highs in points in back-to-back games - 13 at TCU (Dec. 3) and 14 at UT Martin (Dec. 14). Not only did he set a career high in points, but Foster dished out a career best five assists at UT Martin. His career best in rebounding came in the big non-conference road win at Georgetown (Nov. 17) when he pulled down six rebounds.    

His biggest impact does not always appear on the box score, but Foster has been large on the defensive end. The win against Cleveland State stands out the most as Foster was guarding the Vikings leading scorer Rob Edwards and held him scoreless. Edwards came in averaging 18.8 points. 

A comparison of Foster's stats from the 2014-15 season against stats from this season is available by clicking on the game notes and scrolling to page five.    

 

► RISING TO THE OCCASION
The Dec. 3 game at TCU marked the fifth over the last two seasons against a higher resources conference foe on the road.  

Devin Carter has risen to the occasion in each game, scoring 20 or more points while shooting at least 45 percent from the field. 

In the five games (at Oregon, at Baylor, at Missouri, at Georgetown and at TCU), Carter has hit 42-of-79 (53.2 percent) of his field goal attempts while going 19-for-39 (48.7 percent) from 3-point range. 

For the five games, he's averaged 22.6 points (113 pts) and 3.7 rebounds (22 rebs). His 25 points at Georgetown are the most among the five outings while 20 at Baylor are the fewest. 

 

► ALL HANDS ON DECK
The Red Wolves bench production has stood out in all 10 games this year as A-State has more bench points in 10 of the 11 games.  

On the season, A-State has outscored opponents benches 345-194, a difference of 13.7 points per game.

Deven Simms is the Red Wolves second-leading scorer with 13.0 points per game and has come off the bench in each game. Tamas Bruce (7.3) and Connor Kern (5.7) have also come off the bench in each game and rank sixth and seventh, respectively, in scoring.  

 

► DEFENDING THE TREY
Eight of the 11 opponents thus far have shot 28 percent or less from 3-point range against the Red Wolves. SIUE (Nov. 22), TCU (Dec. 3) and Central Arkansas (Dec. 16) are the only exceptions. SIUE finished 5-for-13 (38.5 percent) while TCU and Central Arkansas were both 7-for-19 (36.8 percent).  

A-State held UT Martin (Dec. 14) to 20 percent (1-for-5) from 3-point range in the first half marking the seventh time in 10 games an opponent had shot 20 percent or less.  

After 11 games, opponents are shooting 26.3 percent (54-205) from long range, ranking A-State second nationally in 3-point field goal percentage defense. The full top-10 list is included on page six of the notes linked at the top of the page. 

A-State's 2009-10 team held opponents to 29.3 percent (161-550 beyond the arc, the lowest percentage a Red Wolves team was responsible for a full season. 

 

► 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 450-104 (.812) 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. 

Off to a 9-2 start, McCasland has the best start of any A-State head coach in program history. 

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. 

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. 

Among those 29 coaches, A-State ranks second at 9-2 overall tied with Little Rock (9-2) and just behind New Mexico State (10-2). Among all 50 first year coaches, A-State ranks tied for fourth. A statistical look at the rankings is available on page six of the notes linked above. 

 

 RACKING UP THE MILES
A-State has traveled over 6,000 miles already this season with road games at North Dakota State (2,958 miles), Georgetown and the pair of games at Army (2,554) in addition to road games at UT Martin (28) and Central Arkansas (264).  

Although the North Dakota State game was not part of the Maui Mainland Tournament, A-State traveled more this year than a one way ticket to Lahaina, Hawaii for the Maui Invitational (4,102) prior to Thanksgiving.  

The Red Wolves close the non-conference schedule with a trip to Huntsville (280) to face Alabama before going to play Minnesota (1,566). 

The last time A-State played five or more games in a row away from home was the first seven games of the 2010-11 season. 

 

 RECORD WATCH
With four assists against Cleveland State (Nov. 30), Donte Thomas passed 200 career assists in just 34 games played becoming the 13th player in program history with 200 or more assists. He has 78 assists in 11 games this year, an average of 7.1 per game. He is on pace for 220 assists this year which would rank as the fifth-most in single season history.  He needs 32 more assists to break into the top-10 among career leaders at A-State. .  

Devin Carter has converted 43 treys this season and has made 131 3-pointers in his 42 games with A-State. With eight more 3-pointers, Carter would rank eighth in program history for made 3-pointers. He currently ranks sixth shooting 42.5 percent (127-295) from 3-point range. Carter posted his 20th career game with 20 or more points at Central Arkansas (Dec. 16) and averages 17.4 points for his career, eighth most in program history.

More on each player and where each ranks nationally over the last two seasons combined is on page seven of the game notes linked above.