JONESBORO (1/28/10) – Freshman guard Brandon Reed scored a game-high 19 points to help the Arkansas State men's basketball team maintain its position atop the Sun Belt Conference standings with a 62-60 victory over Louisiana-Lafayette Thursday night at the Convocation Center.
The Red Wolves improved to 12-8 overall and 7-2 in league play, winning for the fifth time over their last six games. ASU also improved to 7-3 at home and 4-1 against SBC West Division opponents. Arkansas State holds its best conference record through nine game since the 2000-01 season when it held a 7-2 league record as well. The Red Wolves snapped Louisiana-Lafayette's two-game winning streak, dropping the Ragin' Cajuns overall record to 8-12 and conference mark to 5-4.
"The main thing out of the game tonight regardless of how it unfolded – the Red Wolves won the game," said ASU head coach John Brady. "There are some things we can learn from it, but I thought we had some good looks, we went to the free throw line but we did the things we needed to do the ball just didn't go in. On the other end we made them miss enough to hang on and win the game and I was proud of our team for that."
Reed, who has now scored at least 18 points four of the last five games, was joined in double figures by freshman guard Trey Finn with 13 points, just one shy of his career high. Sophomore forward Martavius Adams added nine points for ASU and pulled down a team-high 10 rebounds, narrowly missing his second double-double of the season.
ASU, which never trailed, raced out to a 16-2 lead less than five minutes into the game and held its largest lead of the game at 17 points, 31-14, with 6:11 left in the first half. The Red Wolves held a double-figure lead for much of the second half before the Ragin' Cajuns made a late run to put the outcome in question.
ASU held a 56-42 advantage with 9:10 remaining in the game, but UL Lafayette outscored the Red Wolves 18-6 the rest of the way and, after ASU missed the front end of three consecutive 1-and-1 opportunities, had a chance to win on a well-defended three pointer from the left wing by Raymone Andrews that sailed long.
ASU finished the game just 10-of-21 at the charity stripe, but shot 45 percent from the field and and 36 percent from beyond the arc. The Red Wolves held the Ragin' Cajuns to a .368 field goal percentage and 3-of-17 shooting from three-point range. ASU also blocked nine shots, led by Adams, Brandon Peterson and Jeremy Thomas with two rejections each.
UL Lafayette finished with a 44-38 advantage on the boards and took advantage of 17 offensive rebounds it turned in to 13 second-chance points.
ASU took a 35-26 lead into the break and led by as much as 15 points, 43-28, early in the second half. The Ragin' Cajuns were led by Tyren Johnson with 19 points and a game-high 15 rebounds. Chris Gradnigo added 15 points and and Travis Bureau 12 for UL Lafayette.
ASU remains at the Convocation Center for its next game, hosting Denver Saturday at 7:05 p.m.