JONESBORO, AR (ASU) – The Arkansas State men's basketball team, led by a career-high 28 points from junior guard Marcus Hooten, picked up its second straight Sun Belt Conference victory over FIU 77-67 at the Convocation Center Saturday.
Junior guard Trey Finn scored 20-points for the second straight game and was the only other Red Wolves player to eclipse double-digit scoring.
ASU improved to 12-17 on the season with a 6-8 Sun Belt record, while FIU fell to 7-19 with a 4-10 league mark.
Also for the second straight game, ASU connected on over half of their field goal attempts, recording a 53.2 shooting percentage (25-47) and shot the ball well from deep going 10-22 from 3-point range (45.4%).
"I was proud of our team to handle the adversity besides the game and the other team brought all the other things that happened throughout the course of the game and I was proud of our team for handling it and being consistent in their play," said ASU head coach John Brady. "Still the thing we need to do, as a team, is the opponent's field goal stat is too high. We got a few stops at the end and rebounded the ball okay at the end."
A 3-pointer by Finn with 3:45 left in the first half gave the Red Wolves a 30-20 lead; it's largest lead of the half.
Arkansas State shot a blistering 60-percent from the floor in the first half going 15-25. The Red Wolves were led by 17 first-half points from Hooten and led 36-27 at halftime. Peterson had four rebounds at the break to lead all players.
FIU was able to get within two when Phil Taylor hit a 3-pointer with 15:28 left in the game, 45-43, but Taylor was whistled for taunting and disqualified from the game. He had received his first technical foul earlier in the contest.
After his ejection, FIU tied the game on a 3-pointer from DeJuan Wright at 46-46. A '3 by Finn 1:15 later gave the Red Wolves back the lead which they would not relinquish the rest of the game.
A-State used a 9-0 run to stretch its lead back to double-digits on a pair of 3-pointers from Ed Townsel and Finn. ASU would not let the lead drift back to within two possessions the rest of the way.
FIU managed to out rebound ASU 30-28 led by Dominique Ferguson who had 10 boards. Taylor led FIU in scoring with 17 before his exit. Brandon Peterson had nine rebounds to lead the Red Wolves, followed by Malcoln Kirkland with six. Townsel and Finn had career-highs in assists with eight and six, respectively.
Prior to tip off, Arkansas State honored its graduating senior Malcoln Kirkland for his three-years of service to the Arkansas State men's basketball program. The Red Wolves wrap up regular season action on the road with games at Western Kentucky Thursday and UALR on Saturday.