JONESBORO (1/1/11) – Behind the strength of a career-high 30 points from sophomore guard Trey Finn, the Arkansas State men's basketball team (7-8, 2-0) defeated Sun Belt Conference foe Western Kentucky (5-8, 0-1) 81-73 Saturday night at the Convocation Center to pick up its third straight win while remaining undefeated at home.
The Red Wolves improved to 2-0 in league play and 6-0 at the Convocation Center. A-State has now won seven of its last 10 games to pull back within one victory of .500 after starting the season 0-5.
"It was a great win for our team and just the program in particular. Everyone knows that Western Kentucky has been the team in the league forever or at least the last 8-10 years and they are picked to win it this year," said ASU head coach John Brady. "It was a good win for us, a timely win. I was proud of our team and the way they played, the way they executed."
Finn topped his previous career-high of 14 points within the game's first 10 minutes and ended the first half with 17 points, leading ASU to a 40-39 lead. In addition to his game-high scoring output, Finn also recorded a season-high 10 rebounds for his second career double-double.
"Trey Finn played like we know he can play," said Brady. "The way he played tonight really energized our team. Not only did he have 30 points and 10 rebounds but he defended the preseason player of the year and I think the second half got him out of rhythm."
Joining Finn in double figures for A-State were Martavius Adams and Donald Boone with 12 and 10 points, respectively. Both Adams and Boone also hauled in eight rebounds, narrowly missing a double-double.
Western Kentucky built a 17-7 lead just over five minutes into the game, but ASU went on a 10-2 run to pull back within 19-17 and eventually took its first lead, 33-32, at the 4:52 mark. WKU regained the lead, 39-38, with 1:01 left before the break, but Adams scored on a put-back on ASU's next possession to give ASU a one-point advantage at the break.
The Red Wolves never gave up the lead in the second half and led by as much as 11 points, 70-59, with 5:37 left in the game. WKU pulled within 72-68 at the 2:31 mark, but couldn't get any closer as ASU was able to hold off the Hilltoppers for the victory.
ASU finished the game with a .467 field goal percentage, while WKU hit 45 percent of its shots from the field. The Red Wolves made 10-of-17 shots from beyond the arc for a .588 mark and 15-of-20 free throws for a .750 percentage.
WKU connected on 6-of-19 three-point attempts, but was just 1-of-11 in the second half. The Red Wolves collected 41 rebounds to the Hilltoppers 34.
WKU was led by three players scoring in double figures as well, including Sergio Kerusch with a team-high 25 points. Juan Patillo and Steffphon Pettigrew added 16 and 14 points, respectively, for the Hilltoppers.
ASU returns to action Jan. 6 when they travel to Miami for a 6 p.m. (CST) game against Florida International.