HOT SPRINGS, AR (KAIT) - The Arkansas State men's basketball bowed out in the semifinal round of the Sun Belt Conference Tournament for the second straight year on Sunday night.
The Red Wolves fell 58-56 in a tight contest at the Summit Arena in Hot Springs. Western Kentucky commanded the lead for much of the game but in the closing minutes Trey Finn and Cameron Golden hit clutch three point shots to give the Red Wolves a one point lead. Western Kentucky would erase the lead but gave Arkansas State a chance to head to the line to tie or take the lead. Cameron Golden missed both shots and Western Kentucky held onto the lead.
Western Kentucky made 1 of 2 from the line with 16 seconds left on the clock to extend their lead to 2. Golden had a good look at a potential game-winning three pointer but the shot fell short. A scramble for the ball ran the rest of the clock out and Western Kentucky returned to the Sun Belt Conference Finals for the 2nd straight season.
The Red Wolves lost to North Texas in the finals last season after eliminating 1 seed Middle Tennessee. This season it was Florida International who eliminated the 1 seeded Blue Raiders to earn a date with destiny in the Sun Belt title game.
There is some hope of Arkansas State gaining access to a post-season tournament such as the NIT, who's results will be announced once the NCAA tournament makes their selections.
Western Kentucky and Florida International will play for the automatic bid for the NCAA Tournament tomorrow at 6:00 p.m. on ESPN.