Red Wolves trash Trojans in 28 point rout
The Red Wolves men’s basketball team crushed their bitter rival the University of Arkansas-Little Rock 77-49 Saturday night in the Convocation Center. A-State entered the game at 10-7 off of two close road losses in a row and looked to right the ship after going 3-3 in the first six Sun Belt Conference games.
A-State changed things around with their starting lineup, coming out with senior forwards Kirk Van Slyke and Kendrick Washington, junior guard Rakeem Dickerson, senior guard Ed Townsel, and senior guard Melvin Johnson III. Sophomore guard Cam Golden and senior guard Brandon Reed both came off the bench for the Red Wolves.
UALR came into the game at 10-9 and 5-2 in the Sun Belt. UALR had troubles with their starting lineup as well, with junior forward Gus Leeper playing for sophomore forward James White.
ASU wanted to come out of the gate with an increased effort and focus on the defensive end, which proved very effective as they racked up a quick 6-1 lead in the first four minutes of play. Things only got worse from there for UALR as A-State showed great poise on the defensive end, forcing tough shots from UALR and converting shots of their own. At the halfway point of the first half, the lead ballooned to 22-9, A-State.
The Red Wolves’ focus on the defensive end was prominent the entire first half as they held UALR to 32 percent shooting (8 of 25) from the field and 0-5 from three. They also held UALR’s highest scorer, senior forward Will Neighbour, to one point on 0-7 shooting (1-2 from the line). A-State did not shoot very well from the floor shooting 36.7 percent from the field (11-30) and 2-12 from 3 (16.7 percent), but went into halftime with a 14 point lead at 38-24.
The began the second half with the same intensity as in the first and ramped up their defense even more. They quickly increased their lead by 20 points with a minute and a half gone in the second half, forcing coach Steve Shields of UALR to take a quick timeout.
Eventually Arkansas State’s lead increased by as many as 31 points, and coach John Brady subbed out all the starters to finish the game.
UALR shot 6-33 from the floor in the second half (18.2 percent) and 2-8 from three (25 percent). They ended the game shooting 24.1 percent (14 of 58) from the floor, 2-13 (15.4 percent) from three, and 19-26 (73.1 percent) from the free throw line. ASU ended the second half shooting 41.4 percent (12-29) from the field, and 33.3 percent from three (3-9). They ended the game shooting 39 percent from the field (23-59), 23.8 percent from three (5-21) and 81.3 percent from the line (26-32).
The Red Wolves won the rebounding game by grabbing 52 total rebounds (15 offensive, 37 defensive) to 39 rebounds for UALR (13 offensive 26 defensive). The Red Wolves forced 12 turnovers from UALR, while turning the ball over 12 times themselves, but ASU scored eight more points from turnovers than UALR.
“I’m very proud of the defensive effort of our team. They played all 40 minutes on defense,” Brady said. “As for the shooting percentages, I wasn’t too worried because they took good shots and those will fall more times than not.”
The Red Wolves return to action Jan. 30 when the play at at ULM. T next home game is the Feb. 4th against Lyon College.
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