SAVANNAH, GA (A-STATE) – Arkansas State held a three-point lead with two minutes left, but couldn’t hold off Savannah State in a 76-75 loss in a Global Sports Shootout game Wednesday.
A-State (1-2) held a 75-72 lead with 2:16 remaining, but missed key opportunities to close the win. Savannah State (3-0) made it a 75-74 lead for A-State after a layup with 1:04 remaining and a Red Wolves foul sent the Tigers to the line with a chance to tie or take the lead.
Savannah State was unable to complete the three-point play, but A-State couldn’t score on the other end leaving the score at 75-74 with less than a minute to play. Out of a timeout, the Tigers were fouled going to the rim and Brian Pearson drained two free throws to give Savannah State a 76-75 lead with 21 seconds to play.
Senior forward Charles Waters earned a good look at the basket with eight seconds left, but his shot banked off the backboard, spun around the rim and forced the Red Wolves to foul Lenjo Kilo after the rebound.
Kilo missed the first free throw and A-State took a timeout to set up a potential go-ahead play. The second free throw hit the back iron and landed in Waters’ hands, but his outlet pass was errant resulting in a turnover. Savannah State gained possession and the Red Wolves fouled Teslim Idris with two seconds left hoping for one more chance.
Idris missed both of his free throw opportunities, but the heave from half court by junior guard Donte Thomas was short of the rim ending the game with the score at 76-75.
“It’s just too bad. This had nothing to do with our effort tonight,” said A-State head coach John Brady. “Everybody played hard and the attitude was good. We tried to defend them and midway through the first half we let Martin get in a rhythm. He made a couple 25-footers and they played unconsciously for a bit of the half to tear into our lead. We shut him out in the second half, but they had guys step up for them.”
Junior forward Anthony Livingston led A-State behind his second double-double of the season with 24 points and 10 rebounds. Junior guard Devin Carter added 15 points and Thomas finished with nine.
Savannah State equaled their largest lead of the game with a six-point advantage of 66-60 with 7:49 remaining, but Livingston drained three-straight shots to send the Red Wolves on a 9-0 run to lead 69-66 with 5:36 left. Livingston hit a pair of jumpers and stepped back to hit a trey to cap the run.
A-State opened the game on a 12-4 run and built a 13-point advantage, 22-9, with 13:16 remaining in the first half. The Red Wolves built the lead with six players finding the score sheet and four of those six posting four or more points in the first seven minutes.
Savannah State gained control from there, outscoring the Red Wolves 34-17 over the remaining 13 minutes of the first half. The Tigers shot 8-of-17 (47.1 percent) from three in the first half, with eight of the treys accounting for 14 of 34 made field goals (41.2 percent).
Christopher Martin hit 5-of-6 attempts from beyond the arc in first half for 15 points, but the Red Wolves held the Tigers leading scorer without a point to his record in the second half. Manassa scored 17 points in the second half and finished the night as the Tigers leading scorer with 19 points. Kilo added 14 points and 10 rebounds for Savannah State.
“We played well enough and hard enough to win, but we just didn’t get it done,” said Brady. “They shot 28 free throws and we shot 13. There are a lot of little things that we have to do better, but we hung tough on the boards and shot 50 percent on the road. I don’t know what else we can do besides stop them a couple of times and make a layup at the end of the game. I hurt for our players after this one, it’s unfortunate, but I’m proud of our effort tonight.”
A-State finished the night shooting 51 percent (33-65) from the floor, but struggled beyond the arc by shooting 2-for-9 (22 percent). Savannah State finished the night 9-of-20 (45 percent) behind the three-point line and 25-for-61 from the field (41 percent).
Savannah State earned a 38-37 advantage on the glass, but A-State controlled the paint scoring 46 of their 75 points in the painted area. A-State committed 13 turnovers and logged seven steals while the Tigers had 14 turnovers and seven steals.
The Red Wolves return to the Convocation Center on Sunday, Nov. 22, to host Jackson State. Tipoff is set for 2:35 p.m.
“Jackson State won’t be easy and what’s after that won’t be easy either,” said Brady. “We have to keep our heads up, encourage one another and continue to compete hard. It was unfortunate we couldn’t make the shot at the end to win it.”
Season tickets for A-State’s 2015-16 season are on sale at the A-State Ticket Office, located at the Convocation Center’s lower red entrance. The ticket office can be contacted at 870-972-2781, and ticket information is also available by clicking on the Ticket Central Page on AStateRedWolves.com or by logging onto the site directly at AStateRedWolves.com/tickets.
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