KENT, Ohio (ASU) – The road once again proved to be rough for the Arkansas State University men's basketball team on Saturday (Dec. 22) night as the Red Wolves failed to capitialize on their opportunities and were subsequently dealt a 73-69 non-conference loss by Kent State at KSU's M.A.C. Center in Kent, Ohio.
The setback was the third straight on the road for the Red Wolves, who slip to 6-5 overall on the season. ASU falls to 6-3 in non-league encounters and 2-4 in road play as a result of the defeat.
"I like what we're trying to do but we need to get consistent production and results," said ASU head coach John Brady. "We didn't execute when we needed to and we failed once again to knock down the big shot.
"The effort is there and we did some good things, but we have guys who need to play better than they are. They (Kent State) were beatable and unfortunately we didn't do all that was needed to come out with a win," added Brady.
Kent State, which runs its record to 7-5 overall to date, managed to overcome a 14-4 deficit to start the contest and went to claim a 40-34 advantage at the break as a result of knocking down 53.8% (14-26) of its shots from the field and utilizing ASU's 13 turnovers in the first 20 minutes of play. A-State also hit on at least 50% (13-26) in shooting for the opening stanza.
KSU would never trail in the second half although A-State was able to get within a deuce at 44-42 on a Brandon Peterson layup with 15:28 remaining in the game. The Golden Flashes would outscore the visitors 15-8 in the next six minutes to build a nine-point (59-50) lead at the 8:35 mark. From there, the Red Wolves went on a 10-2 spurt covering in just over a two-minute span to trim the Kent State lead to just one at 61-60 as 5:25 remained on the clock. Unfortunately, A-State was unsuccessful in tying or taking the lead as the hosts eight of the next 10 points to go up 69-62 with 3:44 left. The Red Wolves mounted another late surge by getting the Golden Flashes' lead down to only two at 71-69 on a pair of Peterson free throws with 38 seconds to go, but was forced to foul in order to stop the clock and Chris Evans calmly sank both shots at the stripe to secure the win.
The Red Wolves connected on 42.3% (22-52) from the floor and were 7-of-18 (38.9%) from the three-point arc while recording a 72.0% (18-25) at the free throw line. The Golden Flashes made good on 25-of-49 (51.0%) field goal attempts, which included 41.2% (7-17) in triples tries, to go with 16-of-22 (72.7%) from the charity stripe.
ASU's road loss came despite a game-high 24 points on eight-of-13 shooting from junior guard Ed Townsel, who went four-of-seven in three-pointers and went four-of-four in free throws. Freshman guard Cameron Golden totaled a season-best 15 points, highlighted by 13 in the opening half, to join Townsel as the only Red Wolves to claim double-figure point totals. Senior forward Brandon Peterson was a point shy of producing his sixth double-double of this campaign with nine points and a game-leading 11 rebounds.
The Golden Flashes, who were paced by Randal Holt's 19 points, had three individuals in the double-figure scoring column. Chris Evans chipped in with 16 points while Kellon Thomas had 14-points as a reserve. Bryson Pope and Mark Henniger both pulled down seven rebounds to lead Kent State.
Kent State held a 28-24 scoring edge in the paint, but also netted 10 fast-break points and outscored A-State's bench by a 23-15 points margin. Each team accumulated 19 turnovers and eight steals apiece.
"Mentally we need to understand every possession counts and we must be more focused," said Brady. "It's frustrating and discouraging but we will get there."
A-State returns from Christmas break on Thursday, Dec. 27, as the Red Wolves resume Sun Belt Conference (SBC) play hosting the Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns in Jonesboro, Ark. The contest is scheduled for a 7:05 p.m. (CT) start at the ASU Convocation Center. Tickets for all Red Wolves home basketball contests can be purchased by contacting the ASU Ticket Office at(870) 972-27891 or 1-888-ASU-FANS. ASU fans may also log onto the A-State Athletics website at www.RedWolves.com<http://www.redwolves.com/?&&SPSID=35066&SPID=2746&DB_OEM_ID=7200> to purchase tickets and/or for more information.