MOBILE, Ala. (ASU) – The Arkansas State University men's basketball team closed out 2012 on a high note as the Red Wolves led from start to finish en route to a 63-54 victory over South Alabama this Saturday (Dec. 29) evening in a Sun Belt Conference (SBC) matchup at USA's Mitchell Center in Mobile, Ala.
The win improves ASU to 8-5 overall and 2-2 in the SBC while South Alabama suffers its first conference loss and is 3-1 in league play to go with a 6-6 overall ledger.
"We showed a tremendous amount of toughness and heart," said ASU head coach John Brady. "We played a good game and were solid defensively. The effort our guys displayed tonight was really good.
"What a good win for us. I wasn't sure if we could get one at their (South Alabama) place so we kind of stoled one," added Brady.
ASU started out strong, scoring the first six points and would never trail the first 20 minutes as the Red Wolves went on to take a 28-23 lead at intermission. The Jaguars were able to force a tie at 19-apiece wit 2:46 remaining before A-State proceeded to outscore the hosts 9-2 just before the end of the opening frame. Eight different Red Wolves scored in the stanza as ASU forced 12 USA turnovers.
The Red Wolves led throughout the second half and went up by 13 points at 50-37 on a three-point play from senior forward Brandon Peterson before the Jaguars narrowed the gap to four (52-48) with an 11-2 run in a four-minute span.
However, ASU would tally six of the next 10 points to bump its lead to 58-50 at the three-minute mark and then would go on a 9-2 run to lead 61-52 with 19 seconds left in the game. A-State was able to clinch the win at the free throw stripe where the Red Wolves connected on 18-of-27 (67%) for the night.
Brandon Peterson and sophomore guard Rakeem Dickerson led ASU 15 points apiece and junior guard Ed Townsel posted nine points while senior guard Marcus Hooten netted eight points off the bench. Senior guard Trey Finn and Townsel hauled down nine rebounds while Peterson grabbed seven boards.
The Jaguars had two players in double-figures as Augustine Aubit totaled a game-high 20 points and had 17 rebounds. Antonie Allen supplied 11 points for USA in the setback.
ASU shot 38% for the game from the field and nailed only 3-of-12 three pointers for 25%. South Alabama shot 27% (17-62), but was held to only four-of-27 (15%) from beyond the arc. The Jaguars were 69% (16-23) at the free throw line.