JONESBORO, AR (A-STATE) – The Arkansas State men’s basketball team concluded its non-conference schedule Tuesday night at the Convocation Center with a 77-67 victory over Central Arkansas.
The Red Wolves have won two of their last three games and now stand 4-7 on the season, while UCA saw its record fall to 1-9. Arkansas State, which has scored 68 or more points in its first 11 games for the first time since the 1974-75 season, also improved its home record to 4-1.
A-State was led by four players scoring in double figures, including junior forward Anthony Livingston with a game-high 22 points. Junior guard Donte Thomas recorded his second double-double this year with 14 points and a game-high 10 rebounds, and he recorded a career-high eight assists to narrowly miss a triple-double.
“I thought it was a good game for us,” said A-State head coach John Brady. “UCA is well coached and they played hard. Our free throw shooting was 77 percent coming in and top 20 in the country and we had a uncharacteristic first half, but made enough in the second half. If you can make about 26 or 27 from the liver every night, you’ve got a chance to win a lot of games.”
Trailing 31-30 at halftime, Arkansas State’s field goal, three-point and free throw percentage all improved dramatically in a second half that saw it outscore UCA 47-36. The Red Wolves saw their shooting percentage rise from .333 to .583, and they connected on 5-of-8 shots from beyond the arc after making just 2-of-10 during the game’s opening 20 minutes.
Devin Carter, who finished with 13 points, hit a three on A-State’s first possession of the second half to give the Red Wolves their first advantage since the 13:33 mark of the opening period. Still leading by only one point (39-38) with 16:46 remaining in the game, Arkansas State went on an 8-0 run over the next three minutes to go ahead 47-38.
UCA was able to pull back within 53-48 just over midway through the half, but A-State then outscored the Bears 8-2 over a 1:04 span to give it a 61-50 lead. The Red Wolves’ lead would reach as much as 16 points with 3:50 left as they went on to claim their third win this year by a double-figure margin.
A-State ended the game with a 44.4 field goal percentage while holding UCA to a .318 mark from the field. The Red Wolves also outrebounded the Bears 44-42, had six more assists, five more blocks and two more steals.
The first half’s opening 10 minutes was tightly contested with three ties, but UCA used a 9-1 run to go up 25-16 with 8:15 left before intermission. However, A-State responded with an 8-0 run, sparked by a Josh Pierre three pointer, to make it a one possession game again.
UCA was led by three players scoring in double digits, including Justin Foreman with a team-high 17 points.
Arkansas State will open Sun Belt Conference play with a two-game road swing at Troy on Dec. 30 and South Alabama on Jan. 2. The Red Wolves will return to the Convocation Center for a four-game home stretch beginning Jan. 7 against ULM.
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.
For all the latest on A-State Men’s Basketball, stay tuned to AStateRedWolves.com and follow the team on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @AStateMB.