CONWAY, AR (astateredwolves.com) – The Arkansas State men's basketball team outscored Central Arkansas 38-21 in the second half to propel the team to its first win of the season, and give head coach John Brady his 100th win at A-State, by a score of 67-49 Monday night at the Farris Center in Conway, Ark.
The Red Wolves (1-2) opened the second half with a 17-6 run, fueled by six Nouhoum Bocoum points, to take a 12-point advantage at 46-34 with just over 11 minutes to go in the contest. The Bears (0-7) cut into the deficit to eight points with seven minutes left, but a Cameron Golden three-pointer on the next possession extended A-State's lead to double-figures again at 55-44.
Arkansas State continued the run to extend its lead to 61-44 on an Anthony Livingston layup before a UCA three-pointer ended A-State's 9-0 run. Golden struck back with a three-pointer, while a Sean Gardner layup gave A-State its final points and biggest advantage at 67-47. UCA made a jumper with 43 seconds left to set the final score of 67-49.
“I was proud of our team in some ways, but there are still a lot of things we need to get better at doing to beat some good teams,” Brady said. “This was a game we needed to win. I think PJ Hardwick gives us a little more stability out there and puts pressure on the other team's defense. I thought we took better shots and played better defense in the second half. That's a good sign for us.”
Livingston led all scorers with 20 points in the contest, while Golden (14) and Bocoum (12) also finished in double-figures. Bocoum finished one rebound shy of a double-double and Gardner grabbed eight of his own. Golden handed out four assists and Hardwick dished out three to pace the A-State offense.
The Red Wolves outshot UCA 44.8 percent to 34 percent and pulled away in the second half behind a 51.7 percent mark from the field compared to the Bears' 30 percent. A-State only committed 14 turnovers to 21 by Central Arkansas and the Red Wolves also had 11 steals, while UCA only managed four. The Arkansas State bench scored 21 points after only recording eight over its first two contests.
A-State opened the scoring with a layup by Livingston, but offense would prove to be scarce in the first half for both teams. Kelvin Downs hit a jumper to give A-State its biggest edge in the first half over the Bears 13-5, but a 10-2 run by UCA tied things up at 15-15 with 9:12 remaining. The Red Wolves regained control with a 7-0 run, but the Bears were able to get within two points at 22-20 with a 5-0 run of their own.
Hardwick extended Arkansas State's lead to 29-23 with just over a minute left, but UCA got a layup and three-pointer within the final 35 seconds to put the halftime score at 29-28 in favor of A-State.
A-State returns to the Convocation Center Saturday, Dec. 6, for a clash against Belhaven University. A 7:05 p.m. (CT) tipoff is scheduled for the game and fans can keep up with the action by following @AStateGameDay on Twitter and live stats at AStateStats.com. Tickets for the game may be purchased by calling the A-State Central Box Office at 1-888-ASU-FANS or ordering online at www.astate.edu/tickets.
For the latest news and updates on A-State men's basketball, follow the Red Wolves on Twitter (@AStateMB) and head coach John Brady (@JohnBrady_Coach).