JONESBORO, Ark. (AStateRedWolves.com) – Melvin Johnson III of Arkansas State University recorded a game-leading 17 points as the Red Wolves handed ULM a 64-58 defeat this Thursday (March 6) night in a physically-contested Sun Belt Conference (SBC) encounter at the Convocation Center in Jonesboro, Ark.
A-State upped its overall record to 18-11 while improving to 10-7 in the SBC with the win as the Red Wolves have now prevailed in seven of their last 11 appearances.
Johnson III, who posted five points in the first half, would go on to tally 12 in the second frame as the senior guard compiled double-digit points for the second consecutive game. Senior guard Ed Townsel finished with 13 points and senior forward Kendrick Washington added 12 points while pulling down a team-leading nine rebounds. Junior guard Rakeem Dickerson had eight points, all coming in the second half.
Tylor Ongwae scored 14 points for ULM, which falls to 9-16 overall and 6-11 in league play. Marvin Williams notched a double-double with 11 points and game-most 13 rebounds in a losing cause.
"We were fortunate to win," said A-State head coach John Brady. "We didn't play particularly well, but we played with a lot of effort and not a lot of execution. There was physical adversity throughout the game in a lot of ways, but we found a way to win the game despite not playing our best."
A-State took a 33-20 lead into halftime and maintained a double-figure advantage the first three minutes of the second half. Over the next three-plus minutes, ULM managed to cut the Red Wolves' lead all the way down to two points, 37-35 with 13:46 to go in the game as a result of an 11-2 scoring spurt. A pair of Melvin Johnson III triples moved the lead back up to eight (43-35) near the 12-minute mark only to see the Warhawks mount another comeback and tie the game up at 47-all on a Nick Coppola three.
The Red Wolves regained their lead by scoring the next seven points to take a 54-47 lead following junior guard Rakeem Dickerson's layup with 2:11 to be played. A-State led for the remainder although ULM narrowed its margin to four points on three occasions in the last 46 seconds before time expired.
A-State would end up shooting 37.7 percent from the floor on the heels of 20-of-53 performance from the floor. The Red Wolves made 17-of-25 free throws (68%) and went seven-for-21 in three-point territory for 33.3 percent. ULM was 21-of-53 for 39.6 percent shooting on the night and put up 19 shots from long range with five going in. The Warhawks would tally 11-of-19 free throws for 57.9 percent.
On the boards, ULM would post a 39-35 rebounding edge but had 16 turnovers to the Red Wolves' 11 miscues. A-State was outscored 26-24 in the paint while the bench points for both teams was 15 apiece. A total of 40 fouls were whistled in the conference contest with ULM being assessed 23 of them.
The Red Wolves, who have now won eight of the last nine meetings with ULM, upped their home ledger to 11-3 this season and are 47-10 inside the Convocation Center dating back to the 2010-11 campaign. The A-State victory also avenged a 72-65 loss to ULM on the Warhawks' home floor earlier this season (1/30).
A-State concludes its regular season this Saturday (March 8) versus the UL Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns at the Convocation Center in Jonesboro. Game time is set for 7:05 p.m. (CT). Prior to the regular-season finale, the 2013-14 A-State men's basketball team will honors its five seniors – Melvin Johnson III, Brandon Reed, Ed Townsel, Kirk Van Slyke, and Kendrick Washington. Tickets are on sale through the A-State Central Box Office by calling 870-972-2781 or 888-ASU-FANS.