JONESBORO, Ark. (ASU) – The Arkansas State University men's basketball won its fourth in a row by coming out in the second half with one of its best shooting performances this season to hand Western Kentucky a 75-61 Sun Belt Conference (SBC) loss this Saturday (Jan. 5) night at the ASU Convocation Center.
Arkansas State runs its season record to 10-5 overall and 4-2 in the SBC's West Division as the Red Wolves won for the seventh time in eight home contests this season.
In the second half, ASU put up a season second-most 52 points on the scoreboard as the Red Wolves overcame a 27-23 halftime deficit. ASU would make 17-of-29 shots from the field in the second stanza and went eight-of-10 for 50% in three-pointers.
"The second half was as good as we can play," said ASU head coach John Brady. "We not only defended and rebounded the ball really well, but had a wonderful second half shooting the ball.
"When we make some baskets, we have a team which can do some things pretty well," added Brady.
Down by four 27-23 at the half, A-State would come out of the locker room by going on a 16-5 run in the second half's first four minutes to go up by nine (41-32) with 15:54 left to be played. The Red Wolves, which forced 10 Hilltopper turnovers in the stanza, had their lead trimmed to five points at 41-36 with 15 minutes remaining. However, WKU would get no closer as A-State would bump its lead to double digits three minutes later and would claim its largest lead of 15 points (57-42) at the 9:42 mark on a bucket from junior forward Kendrick Washington. The remaining time in the frame saw the Red Wolves maintain a double-figure lead as 10 points (68-58) would be the narrowest margin WKU managed. Senior guard Trey Finn drained a triple from well beyond the three-point line to beat the shot clock with just over two minutes left which stopped any momentum the Hilltoppers had built up at that point.
ASU started by claiming a 12-point lead at 14-2 just five-plus minutes into the game as the Red Wolves netted 12 consecutive points over a four-minute span. A-State would maintain its advantage until 3:45 remaining as the Hilltoppers knotted things up at 20-apiece by going on an 18-6 run. WKU would go on to produce seven of the last 10 points to take a 27-23 lead at the break. Senior forward Brandon Peterson and junior guard Ed Townsel, who totaled eight and seven points, respectively in the opening half, generated a combined 15 points in the stanza.
Ed Townsel scored a game-high 25 points, including five three-pointers to lead the way for ASU,which finished the game shooting 47.4% (27-57) to Western Kentucky's 43.1% (22-51) from the floor. Brandon Peterson netted 14 points and grabbed a game-leading eight rebounds while Trey Finn tossed in 13 points, which included a 3-6 shooting performance from beyond the arc.
Aleksejs Rostov led the Hilltoppers with 17 points, including five three-pointers of his own, off the bench. He was joined in double figures by T.J Price, who had 11 and BrandonHarris added 10 points for WKU which falls to 10-7 overall and 4-2 in the SBC's East Division.
"This victory is a good accomplishment for our team and Western Kentucky is a good team," said Brady. "Success is fragile and things can quickly change so I told our guys we need to be ready to keep getting better and show who we are."
Arkansas State will seek to continue its winning ways next week as the Red Wolves conclude their current three-game Sun Belt Conference home stand on Thursday, Jan. 10, versus the FIU Panthers at the ASU Convocation Center. The game tips off at 7:05 p.m. (CT).
A-State home basketball tickets can be purchased in advance through the ASU Ticket Office by calling (870) 972-27891 or 1-888-ASU-FANS. For more information, fans can visit www.astateredwolves.com<http://www.astateredwolves.com>.