JONESBORO (ASU) - The Arkansas State men's and women's basketball teams created Convocation Center history twice as they swept Denver Saturday in a doubleheader.
ASU Men 60, Denver 35
The Arkansas State men's basketball team used a balanced attack and strong defense to beat Sun Belt Conference opponent Denver 60-35 at the Convocation Center Saturday night. The Red Wolves set two Convocation Center records holding Denver to 13 first half points and 35 total in the game.
The Red Wolves moved back to .500 at 13-13 with a 7-4 record in league play. Denver fell to 11-12 with a 7-3 league mark.
"We put ourselves in a position now to be back in the middle of the race, particularly on the west side and I was proud of the way our team responded," said ASU head coach John Brady. "It was as good a defensive effort as I have had a team give in the three years I have been here. For us to defend us the way we did I was just really proud of our guys. On the other end of the floor we didn't shoot it very well but we got fouled. One of our goals tonight was to drive the ball and get fouled and get to the free throw line and we were able to do that."
Senior Donald Boone was the only ASU player to score in double-digits pouring in 10 points. Every other Red Wolves player to log significant minutes scored four or more points and seven had five or more points.
Sophomores Brandon Peterson and Trey Finn each had nine points, while junior Malcoln Kirkland led the Red Wolves on the boards with seven. Kirkland also kicked in six points and had five blocks which was a career-high.
ASU took advantage of 36 trips to the charity stripe (23-36) while sending the Pioneers to the line just 13 times (10-13).
ASU also held the hot-shooting Pioneers to just 11 field goals (11-44, 25%) and just three from beyond the three-point arc (3-17, 17.6%). Denver entered the game ranked fifth in the nation in three-point shooting.
The Red Wolves wee 17-14 from the field (40.5%) while going 3-9 from three-point range (33.3%)
The Red Wolves held Denver scoreless for the first five-minutes of the game and stretched their lead to 20, a team-best against Division I competition this year, to take a 33-13 lead into the locker room at the half.
Senior guard Rashad Allison sparked a 25-1 run when he hit a jumper with 7:59 left in the first half. ASU then completed the run going 8-0 through the first four minutes of the second half.
An old-fashioned three-point play with 9:06 left in the game by freshman guard Edward Townsel gave the Red Wolves their largest lead of the game, 53-20.
ASU won the battle down low outrebounding Denver 39-32 and outscoring them in the paint 24-16. The Red Wolves also scored 14 second-half points while Denver just had two. A-State also scored 19 points off 14 Pioneers miscues.
Chris Udofia came off the bench for Denver to score 11 points and was the only Pioneer in double-figures.
The Red Wolves continue action in the league when they travel to Louisiana-Monroe on Thursday.
ASU Women 62, Denver 53
Three players scored in double figures to lead the Arkansas State Red Wolves (12-12, 5-6) to a 62-53 victory over the Denver Pioneers (13-10, 5-5) Saturday afternoon in Sun Belt Conference women's basketball action at the ASU Convocation Center.
Senior forward Shay Scott recorded her 30th career double-double to lead the Red Wolves, pulling down 11 rebounds to go with 15 points. Junior guard NeNe Hurst added 16 points, and sophomore guard Quinishia McDowell finished with 15 points.
Arkansas State also set an arena record by holding the Pioneers to just 10 points in the first half. The 10 first-half points were the fewest scored in a half by any team at the Convocation Center and erased the record of 11 points scored by ASU against Louisiana Tech during the 1996 season.
Denver went into the game shooting a Sun Belt Conference-best 45.6 percent from the field, but ASU held the Pioneers to 12.5 percent shooting and forced 16 turnovers in the opening half as the Red Wolves took a 27-10 lead into the locker room at the break.
"The first half was great defensively," said ASU head coach Brian Boyer. "We had great pressure like we had hoped to try and disrupt them. We anticipated that they would come in and try to come in and attack us with back door cuts, and our players did a great job with that."
The Red Wolves used the scoring of Scott, who tossed in all 15 of her points in the second half, and solid free throw shooting to keep the Pioneers just out of reach in the final 20 minutes. Denver scored the first eight points of the second half to cut the Red Wolves' advantage to nine at 27-18 with less than three minutes to go in the final period, but layups from Scott and Hurst pushed the ASU lead back to 13 with 16:53 to play.
The Pioneers managed to cut the A-State lead to six when junior Kaetlyn Murdoch scored to make it 50-44 with 2:35 to go, but from there, Arkansas State knocked down 10 consecutive free throws to secure the win, including eight from McDowell.
Arkansas State held the Pioneers to 33.9 percent shooting for the game, while ASU shot 38.7 percent. Arkansas State forced 21 Denver turnovers on the afternoon, while the Pioneers out-rebounded ASU 47-36. Murdoch led Denver with 23 points, and freshman Quincy Noonan finished with 12.
The contest was ASU's annual PinkZone game. The Women's Basketball Coaches Association "PinkZone" initiative is a global, unified effort for coaches and players to assist in raising cancer awareness on the court, across campuses and in the community. The Red Wolves played in pink jerseys with cancer survivors' names replacing their own and also sponsored a "4Kay Run/Walk" Saturday morning outside the Convocation Center, with over 100 runners participating in sub-freezing temperatures.
The Red Wolves will now travel to Monroe, La. Feb. 10 to take on the Warhawks of ULM in a 5:30 p.m. SBC contest.