11-1 (0-0 Big 10)
|DEC 21 | 6:00 PM (CT)
9-3 (0-0 SBC)
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Arkansas State closes out the non-conference schedule with a 6:00 p.m. (CT) game at Minnesota Friday inside Williams Arena. Cory Provus (PBP) and Shon Morris (Analyst) will have the call on the Big Ten 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 1,172-1,118 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 9-3 start this season, the best start by an A-State head coach. McCasland has a record of 208-47 (.816) in stops at Midland College (2004-09) and Midwestern State (2009-11). His NCAA record is 65-15 (.813) with his 56-12 mark at Midwestern State and 9-3 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 (.266). Additionally, A-State ranks 39th in 3-point field goal percentage (.395) and 59th in field-goal percentage (.476).
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 (225) and 200-plus rebounds (207) since start of 2015-16 season.
Guards are responsible for 253 of the 431 team rebounds (58.7 percent) thus far.
The Red Wolves are off to a 9-3 start for the first time since the 2008-09 season.
The Red Wolves are 8-0 when tied or winning the rebounding total and 7-0 win winning points in the paint. A-State is 1-3 when being out-rebounded and 2-3 when the opponent scores more 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).
A-State is ranked No. 135 in the KenPom rankings entering Friday's game. A-State opened the season at No. 281 in these rankings and has made the biggest improvement (+146) of any program this season.
► TRENDING UP
A-State is shooting 47.6 percent (324-681) from the field, up from 43.2 percent (325-752) at this point last season. From 3-point range, A-State is up from 32.5 percent (66-203) to 39.5 percent (90-228) this year.
The Red Wolves have shot 50 percent or better in six of 12 games (Central Baptist, Georgetown, Chattanooga, SIUE, Lehigh, Cleveland State) this year. 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.
More information on these numbers can be found on page four in the notes linked above.
► 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.
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: MINNESOTA
Minnesota hasn't played since a 76-66 victory over LIU-Brooklyn back on Dec. 14, but the Golden Gophers bring an 11-1 record into Friday's game.
Led by four players averaging double figures, the Golden Gophers have a +12.8 scoring margin on the year to rank 49th nationally. Nate Mason leads the club with 13.2 points per game with Amir Coffey second at 12.4 points per game.
On the glass, Jordan Murphy is averaging 7.7 rebounds to pace a team that is pulling in 41.7 per game. Minnesota ranks 13th nationally in rebounds per game, 10th in defensive rebounding (30.3).
Minnesota ranks seventh nationally with 80 blocks this year, 40 of which have come from Reggie Lynch. His 40 blocks are more than 180 teams, including Arkansas State (27).
► SERIES HISTORY
Arkansas State and Minnesota meet for the first time on Friday.
Minnesota is the fifth opponent on the 2016-17 schedule that A-State has met for the first time. The Red Wolves are 4-0 in the previous meetings, defeating Georgetown, Army, Lehigh and Cleveland State. A-State entered the year having lost each of the last four first time meetings, but now stands at 20-16 in a first time meeting dating back to the 1999-2000 season.
The Red Wolves are 1-4 against Big 10 foes, the lone win coming at Iowa back in 1985 (66-62). A-State played Big 10 opponents on the road in 2013 at 2014, falling at Nebraska (79-67) and at Purdue (87-46), respectively.
► GUARDS CRASHING THE BOARDS
Guards are responsible for 253 of the 431 team rebounds (58.7 percent) thus far.
Deven Simms leads the team averaging 4.9 rebounds per game with Donte Thomas second at 4.7 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 has established a career high in points over the last two 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.
More on C.J. Foster can be found on page five of the notes linked above.
► RISING TO THE OCCASION
The Dec. 21 game in Huntsville against Alabama marked the sixth over the last two seasons against a higher resources conference foe on the road.
On the season, A-State has outscored opponents benches 373-221, a difference of 12.7 points per game.
For the six games, he's averaged 21.2 points (127 pts) and 4.2 rebounds (25 rebs). His 25 points at Georgetown are the most among the five outings while 14 versus Alabama are the fewest. The Crimson Tide are the only opponent to hold Carter without a 3-pointer (0-for-6) in 43 games played.
► ALL HANDS ON DECK
The Red Wolves bench production has stood out in all 12 games this year as A-State has more bench points in 11 of the 12 games.
On the season, A-State has outscored opponents benches 301-160, a difference of 13.1 points per game.
Deven Simms is the Red Wolves second-leading scorer with 13.2 points per game and has come off the bench in each game. Tamas Bruce (7.0) and Connor Kern (5.5) have also come off the bench in each game and rank sixth and seventh, respectively, in scoring.
► DEFENDING THE TREY
Eight of the 12 opponents thus far have shot 28 percent or less from 3-point range against the Red Wolves. SIUE (Nov. 22), TCU (Dec. 3), Central Arkansas (Dec. 16) and Alabama (Dec. 21)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). Alabama was 4-for-13 (30.8 percent) from beyond the arc.
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 12 games, opponents are shooting 26.6 percent (58-218) from long range, ranking A-State second nationally in 3-point field goal percentage defense. Minnesota ranks just outside the top-10, holding opponents to 28.1 percent (73-260) beyond the arc.
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 450-105 (.813) 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 9-3 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 fourth at 9-3 overall. Among all 50 first year coaches, A-State ranks 10th.
► RACKING UP THE MILES
A-State has traveled over 6,200 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). The trip to Huntsville for Wednesday's game against Alabama added 280 miles to the odometer.
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 of more than 1,500 miles to face Minnesota (1,566).
A-State hasn't played at home since Nov. 30 against Cleveland State, but will return for the only home game of December on Dec. 31 at 5 p.m. against Louisiana.
► 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 79 assists in 12 games this year, an average of 6.6 per game. He needs 31 more assists to break into the top-10 among career leaders at A-State. Thomas ranks 8th among all Division I players in total assists (79) and 11th with 6.6 assists per game.
Devin Carter has converted 43 treys this season and has made 131 3-pointers in his 43 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 41.7 percent (131-314) from 3-point range. Carter posted his 20th career game with 20 or more points at Central Arkansas (Dec. 16) and averages 17.3 points for his career, eighth most in program history.
More on these records and the rankings in the last two years is available on page seven of the game notes linked above.