6-9 (1-1 SBC)
|JAN 7 | 3:30 PM (CT)
11-4 (2-0 SBC)
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Arkansas State men's basketball plays five of its next seven conference games on the road, including a three-game road swing that begins Saturday afternoon at Coastal Carolina. Tipoff is slated for 3:30 p.m. (CT) as the Chanticleers host their first Sun Belt Conference men's basketball game. The game will stream live on the Chanticleer Sports Network (paid) and 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 1,174-1,119 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 11-4 start this season, the best start by an A-State head coach. McCasland has a record of 210-47 (.817) in stops at Midland College (2004-09) and Midwestern State (2009-11). His NCAA record is 67-16 (.807) with his 56-12 mark at Midwestern State and 11-4 ledger at A-State.
Rashad Lindsey scored 27 points in the conference opener against Louisiana, the most by any A-State player in his conference debut (1936-2017 in Southland, American South or Sun Belt game).
As of NCAA Stat rankings on Jan. 5, the Red Wolves rank 8th nationally in 3-point field goal percentage defense (.283). Additionally, the Red Wolves are 37th in field goal percentage (.481) and 48th in 3-point field goal percentage (.389).
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 11 active NCAA DI players with 200-plus assists (243) and 200-plus rebounds (215) since start of 2015-16 season.
Guards are responsible for 314 of the 543 team rebounds (57.8 percent) thus far.
A-State is 11-4 or better after 15 games for the 10th time in 88 seasons of play. The Red Wolves are 2-0 in Sun Belt Conference play for the 10th time.
The Red Wolves won nine non-conference games for the first time since the 2003-04 season (9) and had eight non-conference wins against Division I opponents for the first time since 1990-91 (11).
The win at Central Arkansas (Dec. 16) gave A-State four non-conference road wins, most by an A-State team since the 1986-87 season (4). The most in any season came in 1973-74 (5).
A-State is ranked No. 101 in the KenPom rankings as of Jan. 5. A-State opened the season at No. 281 in these rankings and has made the biggest improvement (+180) of any program this season.
► TRENDING UP
A-State is shooting 48.1 percent (407-846) from the field, up from 43.5 percent (405-932) at this point last season. From 3-point range, A-State is up from 31.5 percent (80-254) to 38.9 percent (109-280) this year.
With 109 3-point baskets so far this year, A-State is on pace for 225 this season, which would be the fourth-most in school history and most since the 2013-14 team had 282.
The Red Wolves have shot 50 percent or better in eight of 15 games (Central Baptist, Georgetown, Chattanooga, SIUE, Lehigh, Cleveland State, Minnesota, Louisiana) 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 six games (Central Baptist, Georgetown, Chattanooga, Lehigh, UT Martin, Louisiana) already, a total reached just 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 at UT Martin (Dec. 14) to set a single-game school record. He becomes the fourth player in NCAA Division I action to hit 10 3-pointers, second-most in any game this season (13 - Darius Dawkins of Jacksonville).
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).
Carter ranks 11th in 3-point field goals made (51) and 15th in 3-point field goals per game (3.4) among all NCAA Division I players this season.
► SCOUTING REPORT: COASTAL CAROLINA
Coastal Carolina earned a road win at Texas State (60-53) on Monday to carry a 1-1 record in Sun Belt play into Saturday's game. The Chanticleers are 6-9 on the season.
Elijah Wilson (14.5) and Jaylen Shaw (13.1) lead the Chanticleers in scoring and two others are averaging at least 8.5 points. On the glass, Demario Beck leads with 7.6 rebounds per game while Colton Ray-St Cyr is second at 5.4.
Coastal Carolina ranks 9th nationally with 42.1 rebounds per game and their +6.5 rebound margin ranks 30th.
► SERIES HISTORY
Arkansas State visits Coastal Carolina for the first Sun Belt Conference game hosted by the Chanticleers. This marks the fourth time as a member of the Sun Belt Conference that A-State will be the road team for the first SBC game hosted by a new member of the league. (at Louisiana 1992, at Middle Tennessee 2001, at UT Arlington 2014).
A-State and Coastal Carolina have met once with the Red Wolves earning a 65-52 victory in Little Rock in the first game at the 1987 TCBY Classic.
The Red Wolves are in their 26th season of play in the Sun Belt Conference with a record of 208-216. A-State is 139-74 (.653) at home and 69-142 (.327) on the road in Sun Belt Conference action.
► GUARDS CRASHING THE BOARDS
Guards are responsible for 314 of the 543 team rebounds (57.8 percent) thus far.
Forward Tamas Bruce now leads the team in rebounding (5.0), but Deven Simms (4.5) and Donte Thomas (4.3) are second and third, respectively.
► THAT'S A START
A-State opened its 26th season of play in the Sun Belt Conference with a 74-71 victory over Louisiana.
The Red Wolves improved to 17-9 in Sun Belt Conference openers and 33-21 in league openers dating back to the 1963 season when A-State debuted in the Southland Conference.
A-State hits the road for the first road game in conference play, sporting a record of 12-13 in the first road game as a member of the Sun Belt Conference. The Red Wolves have won three-straight and four of the last five.
The Red Wolves look to start 3-0 in Sun Belt Conference play for the fourth time in 26 seasons. Last year, A-State started 4-0 in league play. Dating back to 1963-64 season as a member of the Southland Conference, A-State has started 3-0 or better in league play a total of seven times.
► 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 against ULM as he reached double figures with 10 rebounds, five of which came on the offensive glass.
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 non-conference finale at Minnesota (Dec. 23) marked the seventh game over the last two years against a higher resources conference foe on the road.
In the seven games (at Oregon, at Baylor, at Missouri, at Georgetown, at TCU, vs Alabama and at Minnesota), Devin Carter hit 53-of-114 (46.5 percent) of his field goal attempts while going 21-for-57 (36.8 percent) from 3-point range.
For the seven games, he averaged 21.4 points (150 pts) and 4.1 rebounds (29 rebs). His 25 points at Georgetown are the most among the five outings while 14 versus Alabama are the fewest. The 14 points at Alabama marked the only time in the seven games he didn't reach 20 or more points.
In 22 games against Sun Belt foes, Carter has averaged 18.3 points on 46 percent (134-291) shooting, including 42.5 percent (68-160) beyond the arc.
► ALL HANDS ON DECK
The Red Wolves bench production has been a key this year as A-State has more bench points in 12 of the 15 games. On the season, A-State has outscored opponents benches 420-277, a difference of 9.5 points per game. Deven Simms is the Red Wolves second-leading scorer with 11.9 points per game and has come off the bench in each game.
Over the last four games, A-State has had three different leading scorers and nearly made it all four on Monday. Simms led the way with 15 points against Alabama and Rashad Lindsey had a career best 27 to lead the team against Louisiana. Devin Carter led the team at Minnesota with 23 points and had game-high 20 points against ULM, one more than Tamas Bruce's 19 points.
► DEFENDING THE TREY
Nine of the 15 opponents thus far have shot 28 percent or less from 3-point range against the Red Wolves.
A-State held ULM (Jan. 2) to 16.7 percent (2-for-12) from 3-point range in the second half marking the eighth time an opponent had shot 20 percent or less in a half this season.
After 15 games, opponents are shooting 28.3 percent (78-276) from long range, ranking A-State 8th nationally in 3-point field goal percentage defense.
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 Midland College (NJCAA). 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 452-106 (.810) 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 11-4 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 tied for second with 11 wins. Of the 50 coaches in their first season at respective school, 16 have 10 or more wins thus far.
► 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 TCU (970), UT Martin (280) and Central Arkansas (264). The trip to Huntsville for the 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.
A-State hits the road this week for games at Coastal Carolina and Appalachian State. That trip will cover 1,700 miles.
► WELCOME TO THE #FUNBELT
Junior guard Rashad Lindsey had quite the Sun Belt Conference debut, pouring in 27 points as A-State opened league play with a 74-71 victory over Louisiana (Dec. 31).
The 27 points are the most scored by an A-State player in a conference opener since Ryan Wedel had 30 points at FAU on Dec. 20, 2007. As a junior college transfer, Lindsey now holds an A-State record for the most points scored in a conference debut. His 27 points rank as the fourth-most by any A-State player in a Sun Belt Conference opener.
► BRUCE ALMIGHTY
Tamas Bruce, starting in his third-straight game, had a career night against ULM (Jan. 2). Bruce had career highs of 19 points and 15 minutes while playing 24 minutes.
Bruce is one of six players this season to have at least 15 points and 15 rebounds while playing 25 or fewer minutes. The six players to do so are; Wyatt Walker (Samford | Nov. 26 vs Bethune-Cookman) with 19 points and 15 rebounds in 20 minutes, John Collins (Wake Forest | Dec. 6 vs Charlotte) with 22 points and 15 rebounds in 21 minutes, Tamas Bruce (Arkansas State | Jan. 2 vs ULM) with 19 points and 15 rebounds in 24 minutes, Michael Buchanan (USC Upstate | Dec. 4 vs Colgate) with 24 points and 15 rebounds in 24 minutes, Tacko Fall (UCF | Nov. 14 vs Nicholls) with 16 points and 16 rebounds in 25 minutes and Jerome Frink (Long Island University | Nov. 11 vs John Jay) with 17 points and 16 rebounds in 25 minutes.
As a starter, Bruce is averaging 10.3 points (31), 9.0 rebounds (27) on 70.6 percent shooting (12-17) while hitting 63.6 percent (7-11) at the charity stripe in an average of 19.3 minutes (58).
► 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 97 assists in 15 games this year, an average of 6.6 per game. He needs 32 more assists to break into the top-10 among career leaders at A-State. Thomas ranks 7th among all Division I players in total assists (97) and 12th with 6.6 assists per game.
Devin Carter has converted 51 treys this season and has made 139 3-pointers in his 46 games with A-State. With 10 more 3-pointers, Carter would rank seventh in program history for made 3-pointers. He currently ranks ninth shooting 41.0 percent (139-339) from 3-point range. Carter posted his 22nd career game with 20 or more points versus ULM (Jan. 2) 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.