A-State set to host WKU Saturday - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

A-State set to host WKU Saturday

Game 15: Western Kentucky Hilltoppers (10-6, 4-1 Sun Belt) at
 Arkansas State Red Wolves (9-5, 3-2 Sun Belt)
January 5, 2013  l  ASU Convocation Center
Jonesboro, Ark. l  7:05 p.m. (CT)
Radio: EAB Sports Radio Network (107.9 KFIN-FM, flagship) – Brad Bobo (Play-By-Play)
TV: ESPN 3 and ESPN Full Court
LIVE STATS & VIDEO WEBCAST: www.AStateRedWolves.com<http://www.AStateRedWolves.com>

Tip Off: The Arkansas State University men's basketball team will go for their fourth win in a row thisSaturday (Jan. 5) evening as the Red Wolves continue action on their home floor taking on the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers in a Sun Belt Confererence (SBC)contest in Jonesboro, Ark.  The game, which will be televised live on ESPN 3<http://espn.go.com/watchespn/index/_/id/744502/western-kentucky-vs-arkansas-state?SPSID=35066&SPID=2746&DB_OEM_ID=7200> and ESPN Full Court<http://espn.go.com/ncb/fullcourt/?SPSID=35066&SPID=2746&DB_OEM_ID=7200>, is slated for a 7:05 p.m. (CT) start at the ASU Convocation Center.

2012-13 A-StAte MBB Ticket Info: Tickets for the 2012-13 ASU men's basketball season are now on sale.  Individual single-game prices are $12 for the upper center area, $10 for the upper side, $8 for the upper wings, $6 for children and senior citizens (age 55+), and $5 group rate purchase of 12 tickets or more.  Tickets may bepurchased through the ASU Box Office by calling 870-972-2781 or 888-ASU-FANS.  2012-13 ticket information is available on ASU Athletics official website – www.AStateRedWolves.com.

The Records: Arkansas State (9-5, 3-2 Sun Belt).  The Red Wolves extended their current win streak to three with a 66-60 overtime conference home win over previous league unbeaten Middle Tennessee this Thursday (Jan. 3) in Jonesboro.  ASU is currently 6-1 at home, 3-4 on the road, and 0-0 at neutral sites this season.  Western Kentucky (10-6, 4-1 Sun Belt).  The Hilltoppers had their two-game winning string snapped with a 75-67 league road setback to UALR Thursday (Jan. 3) in Little Rock, Ark.  WKU is 2-4 on the road, 7-0 athome, and 1-2 in neutral site encounters this campaign.  Last season, the Hilltoppers compiled a 16-19 overall ledger with a third-place tying 7-9 SBC East Division mark.

The Coaches: Arkansas State – John Brady (Bellhaven, 1976), 5th season, 70-71 (.493); Career - 351-287 (.549) – (1-5 vs. WKU).  Brady was named the 2009-10 SBC Coach of the Year and the District VII Coach of the Year by the United States BasketballWriters Association (USBWA).  He served six seasons (1991-97) as head coach at Samford and then spent 10-plus seasons (1997-08) in a head coaching capacity at LSU.  Brady guided LSU to two SEC Championship titles along with four NCAATournament appearances, which included a Final Four appearance in the 2005-06 season.
 Western Kentucky – Ray Harper (Kentucky Wesleyan, 1985), 2nd season, 21-14 (.600); Career – 14th season, 363-77 (.825) – (1-0 vs. ASU).  Harper was named WKU's 14th full-time head coach in February 2012 after leading the Hilltoppers on an interim basis since January 6.  He guided WKU to the 2012 SBC Tournament title and a win in the NCAA Tournament.  Harper spent four seasons (2008-12) as an assistant coach at WKU after previously serving as head coach at Oklahoma City University for three seasons (2005-08) where he posted back-to-back national runner-up finishes (2006-08) and a NAIA Division I national title (2005-06).  He directed the NCAA Division II Kentucky Wesleyan program for nine seasons (1996-05) and won two national titles (1998-99 and 2000-01) to go with four national runner-up showings (1997-98, 1999-00, 2001-02, and 2002-03).

About Western Kentucky: WKU's top points leaders this season are sophomore guard T.J. Price (14.6 ppg.), senior guard Jamal Crook (14.5 ppg.) and sophomore forward George Fant (11.8 ppg.).  Junior guard Brandon Harris (6.6 rpg.) and Fant (6.3 rpg.) lead the Hilltoppers in rebounding.  WKU is 179th nationally in scoring offense (67.9 ppg.) through games of Jan. 3 while the Hilltoppers rank 153rd in scoring defense (65.1 ppg.), 165th in scoring margin (2.8), 45th in rebound margin (6.3), 176th in field-goal percentage (43.3%), 191st in three-point field goals (6.0 avg.), and 266th in three-point field goal percentage (29.3%).  T.J. Price ranks 98th in three-point field goals per game (2.46) while redshirt senior forward-center Teeng Akol is listed 185th in blocked shots (1.31 bpg.).
 • A season ago, WKU was crowned 2012 SBC Tournament Champions and made a NCAA Tournament appearance en route to compiling a 16-19 overall record with a third-place tying 7-9 mark in the SBC's East Division.  The Hilltoppers were 3-8 on the road, 8-7 at home, and 5-4 in neutral site encounters.

All-Time Series: WKU has a 29-12 lead in the all-time series which dates back to the 1947-48 campaign in which ASU suffered a 76-37 setback in the first-ever meeting (1/29/48).
• The Red Wolves are 9-10 at home, 1-18 on the road, and 2-1 at neutral sites.
• ASU is averaging 73.0 points per game (365 pts.) to WKU's 74.8 points an outing (374 pts.) in the last five meetings between the two teams.  Eight of the last nine games have been decided by 10 points or less,        including the last four by eight points or less. The Red Wolves are 4-6 in the last 10 matchups, which
includes a 2-3 home ledger.  
• In last season's tilt at WKU, Darion Griswold (15 pts.) and Trey Finn (14 pts.) were among three ASU players with double-digit point totals.  Brandon Peterson contributed on the defensive end with a game-high 13 rebounds.  Finn also chipped in with three assists and steals apiece.

Steady Ed:  Junior guard Ed Townsel continues to be the Red Wolves' top scorer this season with a current 15.6 points per game average (219 pts.) in 14 appearances.  He's also ASU's leading points producer in SBC contests at 13.4 ppg. (67 pts.) and in home outings with a 171.1 ppg. (120 pts.) average.

During The Streak: The Red Wolves are averaging 72.0 points a game (216 pts.) during their current three-game winning streak while holding their opponent to 61.3 points per contest (184pts.) in that span for a +10.7 ppg. differential.  ASU is shooting 41.2% (68-165) from the floor and has limited its opponent to 34.8% (65-187) in those last three games.

The Big Three: ASU's top three league scorers – Ed Townsel (13.4 ppg.), senior forward Brandon Peterson (10.4 ppg.), and senior guard MarcusHooten (10.0 ppg.) have combined for 49.4% (169-342) of the Red Wolves' points production in their five conference tilts.

Giving A Hoot: Marcus Hooten produced his fourth double-digit points total in a game this season with a 14-point night against Middle Tennessee (1/3).  He connected on 4-9 from the floor (44.4%) and went 5-9 at the charity stripe (55.6%) in the overtime win.  His season-best was 17 points versus Lamar earlier this season (11/25) in another ASU home triumph.

Getting Down: Freshman forward Kelvin Downs registered a personal season game-best three rebounds and totaled a season-high tying six points on 2-3 shooting from the field (66.7%) and went two-of-four at the line (50.0%) against Middle Tennessee.  Downs netted six points in a triple overtime non-conference decision at Tennessee-Martin(11/16).

Red Wolf Howl Alerts: Brandon Peterson has 11 double-figure scoring games this season following a team-high 15 points against Middle Tennessee (1/3) ... Sophomore guard Rakeem Dickerson is shooting 63.6% (7-11) from the floor and averaging 7.3 ppg. (29 pts.) in ASU's last four games ... Trey Finn is three triples shy of notching his 150th career three ball ... Rakeem Dickerson needs to four made free throws to match his output of 30 a season ago in 32 games ... Ed Townsel is eight three-pointers away from equalling his season-high of 46 treys set in 34 outings last season ... Ed Townsel is averaging 8.5 rpg. (17 rebs.) in ASU's last two contests, which consisted of nine rebounds at South Alabama (12/29) and eight boards versus Middle Tennessee (1/3).  He averaged 3.7 caroms a game (11 rebs.) in his three prior appearances.

In The Sun Belt Conference:  The Red Wolves are 174-175 (.499) since joining the Sun Belt Conference (SBC) in the 1991-92 season, which includes a season-best 14-4 (.778) mark in the 1997-98 campaign.
• A-State is 37-17 at home and 15-15 on the road since the 2006-07 season.
• ASU head coach John Brady has posted a 36-37 record (.493) in Sun Belt Conference contests since his arrival in the 2008-09 season, which consists of a 26-10 home ledger and a 10-27 away mark.
• The Red Wolves are 27-21 (.563) in January conference games dating back to 2006-07, which consists of a 20-6 home mark and a 7-15 road ledger.  ASU's best performance was a 7-1 record in the 2009-10 season as the Red Wolves went 4-0 at home and 3-1 on the road en route to a 17-14 overall mark.

Defense Tightening: ASU has held the opposition to an average of 63.6 points per contest (318 pts.) over its last five games after giving up 66.4 points an outing (332 pts.) in the previous five encounters, a difference of 2.8 points per contest.  The Red Wolves are 5-0 on the season when giving up 60 points or less and 4-5 when allowing their opponent to score at least 61 points in a contest.

Last Time Out: Arkansas State built upon its recent success in SBC play as the Red Wolves found a way to record their third straight victory with a 66-60 overtime nail-biter over highly-regarded Middle Tennessee Thursday (Jan. 3) night before 2,937 fans at the ASU Convocation Center in Jonesboro.
The Red Wolves outscored the Blue Raiders 14-8 in overtime and eliminated an early two-point deficit (54-52) at the start of the extra frame en route to snapping MTSU's four-game winning string.
ASU reeled off five straight points to pull out in front at 59-54two-plus minutes into overtime and never relinquished its lead.  Middle Tennessee, which drops to 11-4 overall and 3-1 in the conference, would close the gap to a deuce on two occasions – 59-57 with 1:37 remaining and then at 60-58 as 1:01 remained to be played.  However, the Red Wolves never wavered as free throw by Marcus Hooten proceeded by a dunk on their next possession courtesy of Brandon Peterson stretched ASU's lead to five (63-58) with 27 ticks left on the clock. MTSU would then hit a jumper to pull within 63-60 with 18 seconds remaining, but was forced to foul in order to stop the clock.  Rakeem Dickerson converted on both his free throws a little over a second later and then Hooten stoled the ball on the Blue Raiders' ensuing possession and was fouled as only nine seconds was all that remained in overtime.  Hooten made good on his second attempt from the charity stripe as the Red Wolves' margin increased by six as MTSU's final shot at the buzzer was off the mark.
The game went back and forth the entire 40 minutes of regulation as the lead exchanged hands 14 times and was tied on eight occasions.  The first half alone featured six ties and four lead changes as the Red Wolves shot 37% (10-27) to MTSU's 33% (9-27) in the opening 20 minutes to hold a slim 26-25 edge at the break.
The two teams came out in the second half battling one another asdefense controlled the play.  Neither squad was able to take a lead of more than three points through the first 17 minutes as MTSU held a 47-44advantage with 2:26 left.  However, a three-ball from the corner by Ed Townsel 12 seconds later pulled the Red Wolves into a 47-all tie at the 2:14 mark.  ASU would proceed to score four unanswered points to claim a 51-47 advantage with 1:22 to go as Marcus Hooten knocked down pair of free throws.  MTSU's Marcos Knight made a layup as the Blue Raiders got back to within a basket at 51-49 with 55 seconds remaining.  The Blue Raiders looked to regain the lead on their next ball possession, but Ed Townsel was fouled after rebounding Marcos Knight's triple try with four seconds to be played.  Townsel converted on his second free throw following a MTSU timeout to make it a three-point game at 52-49 with four ticks left, but Tweety Knight took the inbounds pass and sprinted past midcourt before launching at 28-footer well beyond the arc which drew nothing but net just before the clock reached all zeros as the regulation buzzer sounded.
Brandon Peterson led the Red Wolves with 15 points, which included a 5-7 effort at the free throw line.  He was joined in double figures by Marcus Hooten, who posted 14 points.  Ed Townsel chipped in with nine points before fouling out as nine individuals earned a place in the scoring column.  Peterson pulled down a game-high tying nine rebounds while Townsel picked up eight boards as ASU produced a 43-42 advantage on the glass.
Neither team shot the ball well, which could be attributed to the solid defensive effort put forth by both squads.  ASU went for 38.9% (21-54)from the floor and was at 18.8% (3-16) in three-point attempts while putting up 36 shots from the charity stripe and making good on 21 for a 58.3% success rate.  MTSU fared no better from the floor as the Blue Raiders were 19-59 for 32.2%, which included a 3-13 performance beyond the arc for 23.1%.  MTSU was 19-of-27 for 70.4% in free throws.  Both teams forced 16 turnovers while the Red Wolves bettered MTSU in both points in the paint (30-22) and off the bench (30-22).
2012-13 Reference Guide Now Online: The 2012-13 A-State men's basketball reference guide is now available to view online in a PDF format and contains information for all devoted Red Wolves fans.  The 110-page publicationfeatures such information as 2012-13 student-athlete rosters, season preview, student-athlete biographies, coaching staff bios, 2011-12 season statistics, and all-time series records along with career, season, and game statisticalrecords.  The annual publication is a production of the ASU Sports Information Office under the direction of director Jerry Scott alongwith assistant directors Chris Graddy and Joe Gorby.  To view the 2012-13 ASU men's basketball publication online, please visit the respective link - 2012-13 Arkansas State Men's Basketball Reference Guide<http://www.astateredwolves.com/ViewArticle.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=7200&ATCLID=205018659>.
A Season Ago: A-State concluded the 2011-12 campaign at 14-20 overall and posted a fifth-place 6-10 mark in the Sun Belt Conference's (SBC) West Division.  The Red Wolves were 10-5 at home, 2-14 on the road, and 2-1 at neutral sites a season ago.

Up Next: ASU finishes out its three-game conference home stand next Thursday, Jan. 10, as the Red Wolves tangle with the FIU Panthers<http://www.fiusports.com/Sports/MensSports/MBasketball.aspx> at the ASU Convocation Center in Jonesboro.  The contest, which commences at 7:05 p.m. (CT), will represent the second and final regular-season meeting between the two teams for the 2012-13 campaign.

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