MOBILE, AL (astateredwolves.com) – The Arkansas State men's basketball team erased an 11-point second half deficit before forcing overtime and going away with a 63-60 overtime victory at South Alabama in the Sun Belt Conference opener on Tuesday.
PJ Hardwick banked in a jumper to give A-State (6-4, 1-0 SBC) a 55-53 lead in the overtime, but South Alabama (2-9, 0-1 SBC) answered on the other end. A three pointer by Cameron Golden with the shot clock expiring gave the Red Wolves a 58-55 lead. A put-back dunk by Charles Waters extended the lead to 60-55. Two free throws by Hardwick and another by Golden sealed the 63-60 victory after Taishaun Johnson hit one of his four three pointers on the night.
“We weren't very pretty offensively, but again we missed some shots we normally make," A-State head coach John Brady said. "We stole the win, but you have to give our team credit for having that toughness and the grit to keep fighting and keep coming back and making them miss and get some rebounds. We made enough big plays to win it."
Anthony Livingston led the Red Wolves with 16 points while Nouhoum Bocoum added a career high 14 points. Livingston added 13 rebounds for his third-straight double-double and fourth on the season. Golden finished with 14 points to give A-State at least three players in double figures for the ninth time in 10 games. Dionte Ferguson had a game-high 18 points to lead the Jaguars.
A-State finished the game shooting 36 percent (23-of-64) from the field. The Red Wolves were 5-of-19 (26 percent) from the arc and 12-of-16 (75 percent) at the charity stripe. South Alabama shot 45 percent (14-of-31) in the first half, but finished 25-of-64 (39 percent) from the field. The Jaguars were 4-of-20 (20 percent) from three, all four three point makes coming from Johnson. South Alabama shot 50 percent (6-of-12) at the free throw line.
“Cam's shot was incredible, but you need those to do something on the road," Brady added. "Sometimes you need to make a shot like that and we made it and then we stopped them. It wasn't pretty, but there was a great effort and our execution was good we just didn't shoot the ball very well. Overall, it was a game that we stole but you have to credit our players for having the toughness and the grit to grind it out in the end on the road.”
The Red Wolves trailed by as many as 11 in the second half, but held a three point lead with 1:49 remaining, 53-50. South Alabama guard Taishaun Johnson hit a trey to tie the game with 1:29 left, but neither team scored again forcing overtime.
Despite starting 0-of-8 from the field, A-State held a lead in the first half before South Alabama took a 33-28 edge at the break. The Red Wolves shot 27 percent (9-of-33) in the first half, but four of the nine field goals were three pointers. South Alabama poured in 22 of their 33 first half points from the painted area.
The Jaguars led by as many as eight in the first half, holding an 18-9 lead with 9:40 remaining. A-State used 10-0 run to take a 20-19 lead, but South Alabama closed the half by outscoring the Red Wolves 14-8.
Three pointers by Gardner and Golden plus a layup and pair of free throws by Bocoum helped A-State take the lead. Bocoum and Kelvin Downs were each hampered by foul trouble in the first half, Downs picking up a third personal with 4:59 left in the half.
A-State forced South Alabama into 16 turnovers and had seven steals, led by a career-high four by Hardwick. The Red Wolves had nine assists on the 23 made field goals, six of which were dished out by Hardwick.
Arkansas State returns to the Convocation Center to host Appalachian State on Saturday at 7:05 p.m. Fans can follow the action on live stats at