JONESBORO, Ark. (ASU) – The Arkansas State University men's basketball team applied a lethal combination of lockdown defense and a potent offense to record a decisive 63-38 victory over Florida Atlantic this Saturday (Jan. 26) night in a Sun Belt Conference (SBC) contest at the ASU Convocation Center in Jonesboro, Ark.
A crowd of 5,631 fans in attendance were treated to one of the Red Wolves' top defensive performances of this season in the Sun Belt Network televised contest. Along with four ASU players scoring in double figures, another highlight in the game was seniorforward Brandon Peterson tallying his 1,000th career point and as a result becoming only the 25th A-State player to reach the lofty scoring milestone.
"Tonight was as good defensive performance as we've had this season," said fifth-year ASU head coach John Brady. "We bothered them (FAU) the whole time and our guys effort tonight was worth the price of admission."
Arkansas State, which is now 12-8 overall and 6-5 in the SBC's West Division this season, dominated Florida Atlantic from the opening tip to the final buzzer as the Red Wolves limited the Owls to a season-best 38 points along with a 31.7% shooting performance. The 38-point output by FAU eclipsed the 39 points scored by ULM approximately one week ago (1/19). Moreover, A-State allowed just three more points than the Convocation mark of 35 points tallied by Denver in a 60-35 Red Wolves' triumph in the 2010-11 season (2/5/11).
Brandon Peterson racked up his career-high eighth double-double of this season with a 15-point, 10-reboundperformance to lead ASU. Senior guard Marcus Hooten netted 14 points, which included 3-3 from long distance, while senior guard Trey Finn and freshman forward Kelvin Downs added 11 points apiece.
Florida Atlantic's senior guard Greg Gantt, the Sun Belt Conference's scoring leader, produced 13 points to lead FAU and was the lone Owls' player to register a double-digit points for the game.
The Red Wolves never trailed the entire opening half, leading by double digits the final 9:19 of the stanza. ASU's built its largest lead of the half up to 14 points on four occasions as the Red Wolves concluded the first 20 minutes shooting 41.7% (10-24) from the floor while holding the Owls to a 23.8% (5-21) field-goal percentage.
Brandon Peterson and Marcus Hooten each totaled seven points apiece in the half for A-State, which claimed a 25-15 halftime advantage.
Arkansas State continued to hold its double-digit lead in the second half. An ASU 13-3 scoring run over a seven-minute span helped the Red Wolves' build up their lead to 25 points at 50-25 with 9:46 left to be played.
A-State would allow the Owls to get no closer than 23 points the rest of the way as the Red Wolves avenged a 72-65 league loss at FAU earlier this season (12/1). With 1:47 remaining, a layup by Brandon Peterson represented his 1,000th career point at ASU and joined Trey Finn, who netted his last Saturday (1/19) against ULM, as the latest members of the exclusive A-State all-time scoring club.
ASU was 25-of-56 from the field for 44.6% and hit 60% at the free-throw line with a 9-of-15 effort. The Red Wolves dominated in the paint, outscoring FAU 38-18 as A-State's two big men in Peterson and Downs combined for 26 points. A-State also forced FAU into 21 turnovers and capitalized with a one-sided 27-2 points advantage going in the Red Wolves' favor.
"I'm proud of how our players responded from Thursday night's disappointing loss (at Troy)," said Brady. "I told our team losing doesn't need to make you play better, winning is what needs to motivate you. These next two home games are important for us and I hope our fans will continue to help make this a difficult place for our opponents to play."
With the win at home, A-State continue to enjoy the comforts of home as the Red Wolves are 9-2 overall with a 5-1 conference ledger in front of their home crowd.
ASU will seek to further its success at home and continue its current Sun Belt Conference homestand Thursday, Jan. 31, with a matchup versus the South Alabama Jaguars in Jonesboro.