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Red Wolves outlast Bobcats

Published: Monday, February 24, 2014

Updated: Monday, February 24, 2014 17:02

Basketball

Sean Fox, Staff Photographer

Ed Townsel, a senior of Starkville, Miss., goes up to score the lay up during Saturday’s game where the Red Wolves defeated Texas State. With the win, the Red Wolves move to 3rd place in the Sun Belt Conference, with only five games left to go in the regular season.

A-State defeated the Texas State Bobcats 73-68 to take its fifth win in six contests on Saturday at the Convocation Center. Saturday’s vital win moves the Red Wolves up to third in the Sun Belt Conference  with a 16-9, 9-5 Sun Belt record.

The game was tight from the start, as both teams were scoring constantly and efficiently. After a back and forth first half, A-State held a one point advantage at halftime 35-34.

In the second half A-State was leading through the first six minutes (45-44) until Texas State’s senior guard Phil Hawkins drained a three pointer to put the Bobcats up 47-45 with 13:46 left in regulation. Texas State extended their lead slightly to 56-51 and took control of the game.

Senior guard Melvin “MJ3” Johnson III knocked down a three to tie the game at 60 with five minutes left to go, and A-State Nation erupted like a volcano. The fans energized the team, and seemingly rattled the Bobcats. A-State began to clamp down defensively, and embraced the game’s very physical nature in the final minutes.

Sophomore guard Cameron Golden sank a mid range  jumper , drew the foul, missed the free throw, rebounded the ball, and made another jumper nine seconds later to put A-State up 64-62 with 4:35 left in regulation.

Texas State fought valiantly but came up short, as senior forward Kendrick Washington and senior guard Ed Townsel made clutch free throws, 5 of 6, in the final minute of the game to ensure the Red Wolves victory.

Five A-State players scored in double figures; Ed Townsel led the way with 20 points on 5-9 shooting, 3-5 from 3 point range. MJ3 scored 17 points, and senior forward Kirk Van Slyke poured on 14 points before fouling out. Washington and Golden scored 10 points apiece to balance the scoring load.

A-State struggled at the charity stripe shooting 72 percent for the game, 23-32, and fans were concerned that the game was in jeopardy due to the plethora of missed free throws.

Head Coach John Brady was relieved that his players gutted out the win. “I was proud of our team tonight the way they just grinded out a win.  We weren’t at our best in some areas but we got enough stops at the end and rebounded the ball.”

Melvin Johnson talked about the physical nature of the game stating “They’re kind like Lafayette, they’re a real physical team. It was kind of tough on us at first but we were the better team.”

When asked about his aggressiveness Ed Townsel stated “I just go with the flow of the game, whatever comes within the flow of the game whether its 2 or guarding the best player night and we win I’m fine with that.”

A-State concludes their home stand against the Lyon College Scots, at 7:05 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 25 at the Convocation Center.

 

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