GAME PREVIEW
LOUISIANA
RAGIN' CAJUNS
14-7 (4-4 SBC)
JAN 30 | 7:00 PM
Lafayete, La.
Arkansas State
RED WOLVES
14-6 (5-2 SBC)
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107.9 KFIN
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► STORYLINES
 
Arkansas State concludes an important two-game road swing through Louisiana with a 7 p.m. matchup against the Ragin' Cajuns Monday. Matt Stolz brings the action on the EAB Red Wolves Sports Network flagship 107.9 KFIN. Fans catch watch the action live via Ragin' Cajuns All-Access (paid).    

The 2016-17 campaign marks the program's 89th season with the Red Wolves amassing a 1,178-1121 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 15-6 start this season.  McCasland has a record of 214-49 (.814) in stops at Midland College (2004-09) and Midwestern State (2009-11).  His NCAA record is 71-18 (.798) with his 56-12 mark at Midwestern State and 15-6 ledger at A-State. 

A-State has won 15 of its first 21 games in a season for the first time since the 1997-98 season. 

The Red Wolves have 15 wins before February for only the second time in the Division I era (1970-71), joining the 1988-89 team (16-4).   

Donte Thomas is one of 10 active NCAA DI players with 250-plus assists (276) and 225-plus rebounds (239) since start of 2015-16 season.           

Devin Carter ranks 19th nationally with 3.25 3-point baskets per game. A-State is 9-1 this season when he makes three or more 3-point baskets.  

Deven Simms averages 12.7 points per game off the bench, seventh most nationally among players with no starts this year. 

With the Red Wolves at 15-6, Grant McCasland ranks third for most wins among 29 first time NCAA Division I head coaches this season. 

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).

Notching six road wins so far this season, A-State is tied for the third-most in single-season program history.  

A-State is 6-0 in games decided by six or fewer points this season. The Red Wolves entered this season with a 120-137 record in such games dating back to the 1991-92 season, the first year in the Sun Belt.

The Red Wolves are 12-0 when reaching 55 points first. A-State is 3-6 when opponents reach 55 points first, with the wins coming against Central Arkansas, Little Rock and Troy.

A-State has climbed 173 spots in the KenPom rankings this season, most of any program this year. The Red Wolves opened the season at No. 281 and are No. 108 as of Jan. 26. 

 

► TRENDING UP
A-State is shooting 47.5 percent (555-1169) from the field, up from 42.5 percent (544-1280) at this point last season. From 3-point range, A-State is up from 31.6 percent (119-377) to 39.6 percent (153-386) this year.

With 153 3-point baskets so far this year, A-State is on pace for 226 this season, which would be the fourth-most in school history and most since the 2013-14 team had 282. From 3-point range, A-State has hit 43 percent or better in nine games already, a total reached just five times last season.      

The Red Wolves have shot 50 percent or better in 10 games (Central Baptist, Georgetown, Chattanooga, SIUE, Lehigh, Cleveland State, Minnesota, Louisiana, Troy, South Alabama) this year. Last season, A-State reached 50 percent or better in a total of six games. At 47.6 percent from the field, the Red Wolves would have the highest field goal percentage by an A-State team since the 1990-91 team finished at 51.1 percent. 

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 13 more victories, including wins over SoCon preseason favorite Chattanooga (73-67) and Patriot League preseason favorite Lehigh (97-89).      

The Red Wolves are off to an 8-0 start at home for the first time since the 2010-11 season. This marks the 11th time since 1970-71 that an A-State team has started 8-0 on the home floor. 

With six road wins this year, A-State has already tied for the third-most in single-season program history. The 1986-87 and 1973-74 teams hold the record with eight road wins while the 2013-14 and 1997-98 teams had seven. 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 had 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.

A-State is 6-2 or better in league play for the first time since 2009-10 and fifth time in 26 seasons of play in the Sun Belt Conference. 

 

► TREY-RIFFIC
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 ranked 19th in 3-point field goals made (65) and 19th in 3-point field goals per game (3.25) among all NCAA Division I players this season entering play this weekend (Jan. 26).  

 

► SCOUTING REPORT: LOUISIANA
The Ragin' Cajuns enter Monday's game with a 14-7 record and a 4-4 ledger in league play. Louisiana held off a furious rally by Little Rock on Saturday, coming away with an 88-82 win to run the home record to 9-2.      

Entering the weekend, Louisiana ranked top-25 nationally and tops in the league averaging over 80 points per game. Scoring 82.7 per game, the Ragin' Cajuns are led by Frank Bartley IV (15.3), Jay Wright (14.5) and Bryce Washington (14.1).

Washington averages a double-double with his team-leading 11.7 rebounds per game as Louisiana pulls in 38.7 rebounds per game. 

 

► SERIES HISTORY
A-State and Louisiana meet for the 75th time Monday with the Ragin' Cajuns owning a 50-24 edge in the series..      

The Red Wolves earned a 74-71 victory over Louisiana back on Dec. 31, just the second for A-State in the last eight games of the series.   

A-State has struggled in the Cajundome, having lost nine-straight in Lafayette going back to a 73-63 win on Dec. 17, 2006. The Ragin' Cajuns have an average margin of victory of 11 points in those nine games, but five of those games were decided by five or fewer points, including two overtime games.  

The Red Wolves are in their 26th season of play in the Sun Belt Conference with a record of 211-218.  A-State is 141-74 (.656) at home and 70-144 (.327) on the road in Sun Belt Conference action.  

  

► 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 28 games against Sun Belt foes, Carter has averaged 17.3 points on 45.2 percent (163-361) shooting, including 42.2 percent (84-199) beyond the arc. With 23 points versus Troy, Carter has 13 games with 20 or more points in league play and 24 overall in 51 games played. Carter's 24 games with 20-plus points since start of the 2015-16 season rank as the seventh-most in NCAA Division I action. 

 

► CLAWING BACK
The Red Wolves faced a 14-point deficit, 41-27, with 1:51 remaining at Little Rock, but came back to win 77-72. The comeback win marked the first time A-State has rallied from at least a 14-point deficit to win since December 1, 2001 at St. Bonaventure.   

Saturday's win marked the third time in the last four games that A-State has rallied to win after trailing at halftime. The win at Little Rock, down 43-31 at halftime, marked the first win for A-State this season when trailing at halftime or in the final five minutes. A-State trailed Troy 39-34 at the break and ULM 33-32 before coming from behind to win. Prior to the last three wins, A-State's last win when trailing at halftime came on Jan. 28, 2016 with a 75-69 overtime win over Georgia State.    

 

► SIXTH MAN
Deven Simms ranks second on the team, averaging 12.7 points per game. That total ranks as the seventh-most among players who have yet to start a game this year. Simms has embraced his role as the sixth man, scoring 70 points (17.5 ppg) in the four-game win streak for the Red Wolves. A-State is 9-3 this season when Simms reaches double figures. 

The Red Wolves bench production has been a key this year as A-State has more bench points in 17 of the 21 games. On the season, A-State has outscored opponents benches 586-407, a difference of 8.5 points per game.

 

► TREY-RIFFIC PART TWO
Devin Carter hasn't just been setting single game records this year. He's among the top 3-point shooters in NCAA Division I action over the last two seasons.     

With 153 made 3-point baskets in his time at A-State, Carter ranks 11th for the most since the start of the 2015-16 season.   

His 3.00 3-pointers per game (51 games) ranked seventh among all active Division I players entering the weekend.  The Red Wolves are 9-1 this season, the lone loss at TCU, when Carter makes three or more 3-pointers.  

 

► 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 456-108 (.809) with 17 seasons of head coaching positions at various levels. 

► HOME COURT ADVANTAGE
A-State is off to a 8-0 start at home for the 11th time in program history. The last time A-State started 8-0 at home was the 2010-11 season in which the team finished 13-0. 

 This season, A-State has outscored opponents an average of 18.0 points per game, 82.0 to 64.0, while shooting 53.3 percent from the field and 40.6 percent beyond the arc. The Red Wolves have held opponents to 41.1 percent shooting and 31.1 percent behind the 3-point line.

 

► SUCCESS IN CLOSE GAMES
Head Coach Grant McCasland and the Red Wolves are off to a great start in games decided by six or fewer points. The win over Troy improved A-State to 6-0 this year in such situations. 

Prior to this season, A-State was 120-137 dating back to the first year as a Sun Belt member (1991-92). The Red Wolves had 15 games decided by six or fewer points last season and went 7-8 in those games.

 

► A-STATE'S 15TH HEAD COACH
Head Coach Grant McCasland was named the 15th head coach in program history back in March.  

With 15 wins thus far, McCasland ranks tied for the second-most wins in program history with Marvin Adams (1976-77). The most wins by a first year A-State coach is 16 by Marvin Speight, John Rauth and Jack Dale.  

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 have NBA head coaching experience: Terry Porter (Portland) and Mike Dunleavy Sr. (Tulane).

Northern Colorado head coach Jeff Linder was an assistant coach on McCasland's staff at Midland College for two seasons. 

At 15-6, A-State has the third-best record among teams with a first year Division I head coach. The Red Wolves win percentage (.714) has improved by 39.1 percent over last year (.323), the second-best improvement by any program this season behind Maryland-Baltimore County. 

 

 DEFEND THE TREY
Eleven of the 21 opponents thus far have shot 28 percent or less from 3-point range.

A-State held South Alabama (Jan. 23) to 16.7 percent (1-for-6) from 3-point range in the second half marking the 10th time an opponent had shot 20 percent or less in a half this season.

Coastal Carolina busted the Red Wolves 3-point defense for 14 makes, the most allowed this season and most since ULM hit 14 on Feb. 13 last year.  In conference play, A-State has allowed opponents to shoot  36.0 percent (59-164) from 3-point range compared to 27.9 percent (65-233) in non-conference action. 

Opponents are shooting 31.2 percent (124-397) from long range to rank A-State 47th nationally in 3-point field goal percentage defense entering the weekend. 

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. 

 

 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. He matched that career high with 19 points against Troy (Jan. 21). 

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 8.8 points (79), 6.6 rebounds (59) on 63 percent shooting (34-54) while hitting 64.7 percent (11-17) at the charity stripe in an average of 16.6 minutes (149).    

 

 MIAH OH MY
Jahmiah Simmons had a big road trip the last time the Red Wolves played away from home, scoring 30 points in the pair of road games at Coastal Carolina and Appalachian State. Simmons entered the weekend with 32 points for his career in eight games, but posted back-to-back career highs of 14 at Coastal Carolina and 16 at Appalachian State.  

The 6-4 freshman has also been a force on the glass, collecting seven rebounds against Appalachian State and South Alabama. Averaging 4.3 rebounds this year, Simmons is one of five freshmen at A-State since the 1992-93 season to average at least four rebounds per game.

Simmons has 11 blocks in league play, tied for the second-most entering play this weekend. He had a season-best three blocks last Monday against South Alabama. 

Simmons played for current A-State assistant coach Jareem Dowling on the U.S. Virgin Islands U-18 team in the FIFA Americas this past summer and led the tournament in rebounding (11.6 per game). 

 

 RECORD WATCH
Donte Thomas needs 11 more assists to move to ninth all-time in career assists by an A-State player. With 130 assists this season, Thomas is 15 shy of his total from last year and on pace to finish with 192 this season, a total that would rank fifth-most in single-season program history. Thomas ranked 13th among all Division I players in total assists (122) and 17th with 6.1 assists per game ahead of Saturday's game.  

Devin Carter has converted 67 treys this season and has made 155 3-pointers in his 52 games with A-State. With 15 more 3-pointers, Carter would rank sixth in program history for made 3-pointers. He currently ranks eighth shooting 41.1 percent (155-378) from 3-point range. Carter posted his 24th career game with 20 or more points versus Troy (Jan. 21) and averages 16.9 points for his career, ninth most in program history. Carter has 879 total points and is within reach of becoming the 27th player with  1,000 points. Of the 26 to score 1,000 points, only Adrian Banks (1081 - 54 games) and Dewarick Spencer (1073 - 57 games) did it in two seasons. 

More on these records and the rankings in the last two years is available on page seven of the game notes linked above.   

 

 A RARE SIGHT TO SEE
A-State and Troy each shot 58 percent from the floor and 50 percent from 3-point range, something that has happened in only three NCAA Division I games since the beginning of the 2010-11 season. IPFW and Denver on Feb. 13, 2016 along with Northern Iowa against Missouri State on Jan. 18, 2014 are the other two games to feature 58 percent shooting by both teams and 50 percent beyond the arc.