JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Here are Sports Anchor Blake Guinn's thought's on Arkansas State's game on Saturday against North Texas:
As I watched the players celebrate and John Brady shake the fans hands and thank them for their support on Saturday night, something dawned on me, just how well Brady's teams play through adversity and under pressure with the game on the line.
Saturday would have been a night for a team to get distracted. They played a potential NBA first rounder in Tony Mitchell on the North Texas team, the game was riddled with hard fouls, big shots, and most importantly a near brawl between Brady and North Texas first year head coach Tony Benford.
The Red Wolves had their back against the wall several times and at one point many fans headed toward the turnstiles because it looked as if Arkansas State would lose. But if there is one thing I have learned about a team coached by Brady it's this, no team coached by him will quit or accept the fact they are supposed to lose.
When I think about this fact I go back to last years Sun Belt Conference tournament when a big time favorite Middle Tennessee ran into an Arkansas State squad that refused to lose. I go back to the beginning of this season when the team seemed poised to lose a tough game Central Arkansas but Cameron Golden sank a game-winner in a newly formed in-state rivalry.
There are plenty of examples but Saturday was the confirmation they are able to channel energy from something negative and turn it positive. There was nothing good about both coaches going at each other and taking attention away from the game, and I think John Brady would tell you that. But North Texas is the kind of team with the kind of attitude that can distract a team and get them frustrated by poor sportsmanship and bad on the floor mannerisms. I applaud the Red Wolves for the effort they gave Saturday night and their ability to stay focused and win a game despite their opponents poor behavior.
I won't go into detail on what was said between Brady and Benford but I will say this, Benford started it, Benford was out of line, and I don't blame Brady for wanting to have a piece of him.
All in all, this was one of the best games I ever have had the chance to cover. I was proud of the crowd again, proud of the team again, and proud to have the chance to cover games like this.