JONESBORO, AR (ASU) – Four Arkansas State University men's basketball players reached double figures in scoring as the Red Wolves handed Henderson State an 83-72 exhibition loss in their first action of the 2013-14 season this Saturday (Nov. 2) evening at the A-State Convocation Center in Jonesboro, Ark.
Senior forward Kirk Van Slyke scored a team-high 18 points, all in the first half, and pulled down a game-best tying eight rebounds in 23 minutes to lead the way in his A-State debut. Senior guard Brandon Reed, a preseason All-Sun Belt Conference Third-Team selection, and sophomore forward Raeford Worsham tossed in 13 points. Reed connected on three treys while Worsham made 7-of-9 from the free throw line and grabbed eight boards. Senior guard Ed Townsel ended the game with 12 points as A-State improved to 18-1 in exhibitions since 2004-05. For Henderson State, Melvin Haynes' 25 led all scorers as the Reddies had three players crack the double-figure scoring column.
"We didn't defend it as well as we need to and our execution was ok," said sixth-year A-State head coach John Brady. "The best thing we did was play unselfish. We didn't shoot it real well either and stumbled around to score 83 points. When a team averages 80 points a night you're going to win 20 or more games.
"Give them (Henderson State) some credit. They made some big shots and they're a better team than they were a year ago. We're going to be playing against better teams so we need to get better," added Brady.
Arkansas State would hold the upper hand the entire second half although the Reddies managed to chip away at the Red Wolves' double-digit margin and cut the home team's lead to six points (54-48) with 12:45 remaining in the contest. But, A-State would gradually build its margin back up in double figures to an 18-points advantage at 72-54 on an Ed Townsel layup with 6:13 to go en route to the win.
The Red Wolves jumped out to a 14-5 lead with just under 13 minutes to go in the first half behind Kirk Van Slyke's 10 points , but Henderson State trimmed the deficit to seven points at 20-13 with 8:31 left on the clock. The Reddies were able to keep A-State's lead to no more than 10 points in the next five minutes before the Red Wolves went on a 7-0 run to claim a 17-point advantage at 41-24 on a three-pointer by Sean Gardner with 55 seconds remaining in the half. The teams would exchange baskets in the first half's final 20 seconds as a Gardner jumper with six seconds gave Arkansas State a 43-27 lead at halftime.
A-State is back on the court this Tuesday, Nov. 5, hosting Arkansas-Monticello at the Convocation Center in its exhibition finale. Game time is at 7:05 p.m. (CT) and tickets may be purchased by calling the A-State Central Box Office at 1-888-ASU-FANS or ordering online at www.astate.edu/tickets.
Arkansas State men's basketball is on Twitter. Follow head coach John Brady (@JohnBrady_Coach) and the program's official Twitter account (@RedWolvesHoops) to get insider news, information, and team updates. The Red Wolves are also on Facebook at www.facebook.com/RedWolvesMBB.
Red Wolves Howl: A-State is undefeated in exhibition play under Coach John Brady with a 6-0 record ... The Red Wolves improved to 18-1 in exhibitions with tonight's win dating back to 2004-05 with the lone setback being a 71-66 home loss to Arkansas-Monticello in 2004-05 (11/7) ... A-State has compiled double-digit victories now in 16 of its last 17 exhibition contests, which includes the last eight encounters.