The Arkansas State University men's basketball team hoped to start off its 2012-13 season on a winning note, but it wasn't meant to be as the Red Wolves dropped a hard-fought 74-61 non-conference decision this Saturday (Nov. 10) afternoon before an energized crowd of 12,265 fans at the UD Arena in Dayton, Ohio.
The host Flyers, who had won their last seven consecutive openers coming into the contest, led 34-27 at the half. Freshman guard Cameron Golden tallied ASU's first points of the season on a three-point field goal to put the visitors up first as the two teams battled back and forth drawing into a 15-all tie with 10:24 left in the half on a three from junior guard Ed Townsel. From there Dayton went on a 14-4 run to go up by 10 points (29-19) with 6:19 left in the stanza. The Red Wolves rallied in the remaining time to close within seven points just before the end of the half on a put back by junior forward Kendrick Washington, who posted a team-high eight points in the opening frame.
In the second half, Dayton was able to build its lead back to double digits as the Flyers maintained a two-figure margin for a 13-plus minutes span before ASU cut the deficit to nine at 58-49 on a Washington jumper during a 10-2 Red Wolves' scoring spurt. But, the Flyers came back by outscoring ASU 7-2 to take a 65-51 lead just under five minutes to go. A-State was able to narrow the gap below double digits at nine (67-58) on a pair of Golden free throws with 1:50 remaining before the Flyers closed out the contest scoring seven of the outing's last 11 points.
Kendrick Washington paced A-State with 15 points in his Red Wolves' debut and Ed Townsel chipped in 14 points as the only two Red Wolves' players to attain double-figure scoring. Senior forward Brandon Peterson and Cameron Golden tossed in eight points apiece.
Vee Sanford led three Flyer starters in double-figure scoring with 18 points while Josh Benson compiled 14 points and Kevin Dillard had 12.
Dayton held a 33-30 edge in rebounding over A-State, which was led by Kendrick Washington's game-high nine boards. Peterson also was productive on the glass with eight caroms.
The Red Wolves finished with 14 offensive rebounds for the contest. ASU struggled from the floor in shooting at 39.3% (22-56) while Dayton registered a 52.8% (28-53) efficiency mark, which featured 50.0% (8-16)from beyond the three-point arc. A-State was 11-of-16 (68.8%) at the free throw stripe and the Flyers hit 10-of-14 (71.4%) of their free throws.
"I thought we played o.k. but not good enough," said fifth-year ASU head coach John Brady. "We didn't stop them consistently enough to make it a closer game. I was disappointed our three seniors didn't step up to the plate today and we just need to get better overall. We had some players who executed well but need to do some things better."
The Red Wolves return to the court Tuesday, Nov. 13, for their season home opener against the Arkansas-Monticello Boll Weevils in Jonesboro. Game time is 7:05 p.m. (CT) at the ASU Convocation Center. Tickets for the 2012-13 home opener are can be purchased by contacting the ASU Ticket Office at 1-888-ASU-FANS or by visiting the ASU Athletics' official web site at AStateRedWolves.com.