Press Release from Arkansas State Athletics
A-State (1-4) led 71-62 with 3:45 to play, but Eastern Illinois (3-2) rallied to send the game to overtime. The Panthers grabbed the early advantage in the overtime stanza and pulled out the 90-86 decision.
“What can you say about this one, we led for most of the game and Eastern Illinois made some really tough shots over us,” said A-State head coach Mike Balado. “It was unfortunate because our team wants to win so badly. I thought we were prepared and had a great game plan today, but a guy just made shots and you credit them. Ty (Cockfield) came to play today and I knew that he would. Our bench gave us a great lift today and Malik Brevardwas excellent today with his double-double. Three or four of their shots came with under three seconds on the shot clock, so you tip your hat to them and put this to bed and come back tomorrow with more fight.”
Cockfield paced A-State with 24 points, 21 of which came after halftime, for his 11th career outing with 20-plus points. Malik Brevard secured his first double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds while Marquis Eaton added 10 points. Josiah Wallace led Eastern Illinois with 31 points, all of which came after halftime.
A-State shot 41 percent (27-66) for the afternoon while the Panthers finished 48 percent (29-61) from the field. Led by 5-of-8 shooting from 3-point range by Wallace, the Panthers were 9-of-21 (.429) beyond the arc while A-State hit 6-of-21 (.286). Despite hitting 15-of-16 free throws in the first half, the Red Wolves finished 26-of-38 (.684) for the game while EIU converted 23-of-37 (.622). Eastern Illinois won the battle on the boards 45-42, but A-State had a 40-28 advantage on points scored in the paint.
The Red Wolves built a 12 point lead, 42-30, early in the second half, but the Panthers chipped away to cut the A-State advantage to 56-54 with 6:52 remaining in regulation. Cockfield put life back into the Red Wolves with a 3-pointer as A-State regained a more comfortable advantage of five, 59-54. A 3-pointer by Canberk Kus gave the Red Wolves a 71-62 lead with 3:45 left.
Eastern Illinois responded with a 13-2 run to lead 75-73 with 1:10 to play. Cockfield tied the game with a drive to the rack, but his and-1 free throw rimmed out. A-State got a stop on the defensive end and Grantham Gillardgrabbed the rebound and was sent to the charity stripe after a foul. Gillard split the free throws to make it 76-75 with 33 seconds left and the Red Wolves again got a stop. EIU was forced to foul Tristin Walley with nine seconds remaining and Walley split his trip to the line. Wallace banked in a shot with 1.2 seconds left in regulation to send the game into overtime tied at 77.
Cockfield scored seven of nine points for A-State in the overtime period, but Wallace outscored the Red Wolves with 10 in the extra frame. With the shot clock expiring, Wallace connected on a jumper giving EIU an 85-80 lead with 1:47 to play. A-State pulled within 85-84, but the Panthers hit the free throws to clinch the decision.
A-State struggled shooting the ball in the first half, but stepped up and knocked down free throws to hold a halftime advantage. The Red Wolves hit three of their first four shots, but made 4-of-19 the remainder of the period to finish the first stanza shooting 28 percent (7-25) from the floor. A-State made the makes count as three of the seven made field goals were 3-pointers.
The Red Wolves knocked down 15-of-16 (.938) at the charity stripe. A-State went 7:10 without a field goal, but out-scored the Panthers 9-5 in that stretch by way of free throws. A-State held Eastern Illinois scoreless the final 2:52 of the first half and the Red Wolves defense stifled EIU to 35 percent (8-23) from the field and 1-of-7 (.143) from 3-point range.
A-State concludes play at the visitcurrituckOBX.com Battle in the Blue Ridge with Sunday’s contest against Gardner-Webb. Tip-off is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. (CT) from Asheville, N.C.
For the latest on A-State men’s basketball, follow the Red Wolves on Twitter @AStateMB, at Facebook.com/AStateMB and on Instagram at ‘AStateMB’.