ASU Men face Troy Saturday night - KAIT-Jonesboro, AR-News, weather, sports

ASU Men face Troy Saturday night

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GAME 20: Arkansas State (11-8, 4-4 Sun Belt) at Troy (7-13, 2-6 Sun Belt)
Saturday, Feb. 1, 2014
Trojan Arena - Troy, Ala.
7:35 p.m. (CT)
All-Time Series: A-State trails 7-5
Live Stats: statbroadcast.com
Live Video: Trojans All Access
Twitter Updates: @AStateGameDay, #AStateMB

FOR STARTERS

• The Arkansas State University men's basketball team hopes to turn the tables on Troy this Saturday (Feb. 1) night in a Sun Belt Conference (SBC) matchup in Troy, Ala., by avenging a 98-84 conference home loss to the Trojans earlier this season (Jan. 9).

Despite a season-high 27 points from senior guard Melvin Johnson III,  the Red Wolves suffered a disappointing 72-65 road loss to ULM this Thursday (Jan. 30) in Monroe, La.  Johnson III, who made six three-point field goals in the contest, also contributed a team-best eight rebounds in the setback.  Senior forward Kirk Van Slyke was the other A-State player to reach double figures with 15 points.

A-State, which sports a 5-6 road record this season, has three players currently averaging double figure points in Kirk Van Slyke (17.1 ppg.), Melvin Johnson III (14.6 ppg.), and senior guard Brandon Reed (10.2 ppg.). Senior forward Kendrick Washington (6.6 rpg.) along with Van Slyke (6.4 rpg.) lead the Red Wolves in the rebounding department.

A-STATE/TROY HISTORY

• Troy leads 7-5 in the all-time series. A-State is 1-3 on the road, 3-3 at home, and 1-1 at neutral sites.

• First Meeting – at A-State 91, Troy 68 - (2/1/06)

• Last Meeting – Troy 98, at A-State 84 - (1/9/14)

• Last A-State win – A-State 68, Troy 63 OT - (3/9/13) SBC Tournament Quarterfinals-Hot Springs, Ark.

• Last Troy win – Troy 98, at A-State 84 - (1/9/14)

• Last A-State win at Troy – A-State 71, Troy 63 - (2/19/11)

• Last Troy win at home – at Troy 74, A-State 67 OT - (1/24/13)

• Current Streak – Troy, Won 1

• Notes – The Red Wolves have won four of the last six meetings after dropping five of the first six series matchups ... Eight of the 12 meetings have been decided by 10 points or less with A-State going 1-3 on the road ... Eight of the past 10 contests have point margins of nine points or less ... A-State is averaging 73.5 ppg. (294 pts.) in its four road encounters while Troy is scoring 77.3 ppg. (309 pts.) ... Three of the four games at Troy have been decided by a margin of seven points per contest.

SCOUTING TROY

• Troy is midst a four-game losing skid. The Trojans are 5-3 at home, 2-8 on the road, and 0-2 at neutral sites

• Troy has two players averaging double figure points in senior guards Hunter Williams (12.0 ppg.) and Antoine Myers (11.6 ppg.) as the two have produced 35.3 percent (470-1332) of the team's points output. Junior forward Kevin Thomas (7.9 rpg) leads the Trojans in rebounds and blocked shots (16). Hunter Williams' has a team-high 62 assists while senior guard Jeff Mullahey's 31 steals is tops for Troy.

• Senior forward-center Wes Hinton led Troy in the 73-65 conference loss at Texas State last Saturday (1/25)  senior guard Hunter Williams (10.7 ppg.) with a game-high 24 points. Hunter Williams tossed in 18 and senior forward Tevin Calhoun added 11.

• Nationally, Troy ranks 57th in three-point field goal defense (31.1 ppg.), 127th in scoring defense (68.5 ppg.), 132nd in three-point field goal attempts (391), and 137th in three-point field goals per game (6.5) thru Jan. 30 contests. Hunter Williams is listed 32nd in three-point field goal attempts (149), 38th in minutes played (2,151), 63rd in three-point field goals per game (2.6), and 76th in three-point field goal percentage (34.9). Kevin Thomas ranks 102nd in rebounds per game (7.9 rpg.) and is 116th in total rebounds (157).

• Troy registered a 12-21 overall record for the 2012-13 season and a sixth-place 6-14 ledger in the Sun Belt Conference's East Division. The Trojans were 2-12 on the road, 8-7 at home, and 2-2 at neutral sites.

• Phil Cunningham was named to his current position in March 2013 and is the sixth head coach in the program's history. Cunningham, who served as an assistant coach at Western Kentucky in the 2012-13 season, was honored as one of the top 25 assistant coaches in the NCAA by Rivals.com and was recognized by The Hoop Scoop recruiting publication as one of the top NCAA Division I assistants. Cunningham spent 12 seasons (2000-12) as an assistant at Mississippi State after serving as associate head coach at Georgia State from 1998-00. He also was the head coach at Sue Bennett College (London, Ky.) from 1992-95 before going to James Madison (1995-97) and Georgia State (1997-98) in assistant coaching capacities.

SUN BELT CONFERENCE GAMES

• The Red Wolves are 187-185 (.503) since joining the Sun Belt Conference (SBC) in the 1991-92 season, which includes a season-best 14-4 (.778) mark in the 1997-98 campaign.

• A-State sports a 46-19 (.708) record at home and is 19-23 (.452) on the road since the 2006-07 season.

• A-State head coach John Brady has registered a 49-47 record (.510) in Sun Belt Conference contests since his arrival in the 2008-09 season, which consists of a 34-12 home ledger and a 15-35 away mark.

• A-State posted a first-place 12-8 SBC West Division mark in 2012-13 – 9-1 at home and 3-7 on theroad.

SCORING MACHINE

 • Kirk Van Slyke has scored double-digit points in 18 of A-State's 19 contests this season, which includes the last 12 outings to date. The 6-10 frontcourt player is averaging 18.5 ppg. (222 pts.) in his last 12 appearances with 10 15 or more single-game point contests. He has tallied 15 points apiece in the Red Wolves' last two contests – against UALR (1/25) and at ULM (1/30).

BIG NIGHT

 • Melvin Johnson III turned in a personal season-high 27 points at ULM Thursday (1/30), which featured a six-for-11 performance beyond the arc. Johnson III, who also grabbed a team-high eight rebounds in the game, tallied 26 points at Lamar (11/30) and drained 8-of-9 three pointers. He's averaging 24.0 ppg. (48 pts.) in his last two games compared to 5.0 ppg. (10 pts.) the previous two.

DRAINING THE THREE BALL

 • A-State's 11 three-point field goals made at ULM (1/30) represented the sixth time this campaign in which the Red Wolves have knocked down double figures in treys.  A-State drained a team-most 14 triples at Texas State (1/4) and connected on 13 at Lamar (11/30).  A-State made 12 three's at Marshall (12/21), 11 at Georgia State (1/16), and 10 at UT Arlington (1/2).  The Red Wolves need to make 74 more three-point field goals to tie the school's single-season record of 241 set by the 2002-03 and 2006-07 teams.

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