TROY, AL (A-STATE) – Arkansas State erased a 12-point second half deficit to rally past Troy 84-81 in the Sun Belt Conference opener Wednesday at Trojans Arena.
The Red Wolves (5-7, 1-0 SBC) were led by double-doubles from Donte Thomas and Anthony Livingston. Thomas poured in 20 points while going 7-for-12 from the charity stripe and added a career-high 10 assists and seven rebounds. Livingston had 15 points and a game-high 12 rebounds. Devin Carter added 15 points and Charles Waters posted a career-high 10 points to round out the A-State scorers in double figures. Wesley Person led Troy (5-7, 0-1 SBC) with 20 points and four other Trojans reached double figures.
“We fought back and took the game on the road and I am really proud of our players,” said A-State head coach John Brady. “I was hoping we could split this road trip and now we have a chance to go to South Alabama and win this road trip. Troy played about as good as you could, but the key was our defensive effort in the second half.”
A-State trailed 62-50 with 12:27 remaining, but the Red Wolves rallied to tie the game at 73-all with 4:09 left. Troy regained a four-point advantage to lead 77-73, but the Red Wolves roared back with a 11-3 run to lead 84-80 with five seconds on the clock. The Red Wolves fouled Person with one second left, but Person only hit the final of three free throws to set the final score at 84-81.
Josh Pierre logged the final 12 minutes off the bench and A-State out-scored Troy 34-19 with him in the game. Pierre drained a 3-pointer to make the deficit 68-63 with 7:00 left and he stepped to the charity stripe with eight seconds left and A-State leading 81-80. Pierre didn’t hit rim on either of the two free throws, scoring the eventual game-winning point as the Red Wolves earned an 83-80 lead.
A-State faced a 10-point deficit much of the second half as the first bucket of the second period gave Troy a 47-37 lead. The Red Wolves went on 10-2 run to cut the deficit to 49-47, but a controversial player control foul on Thomas resulted in a turnover and a technical foul on the Red Wolves bench as the Trojans went on to build the 62-50 advantage.
Troy and A-State traded buckets over the first 13 minutes as neither team led by more than four. The Trojans broke a 25-25 tie with a 13-4 run to lead 38-29 with 3:37 left in the first frame. Troy expanded the lead to 10, 43-33, with 1:42 remaining, but the Red Wolves scored the next four points to get within six. The two sides traded buckets and Troy held a 45-37 lead at the half.
Troy shot 53.8 percent (14-26) in the first half while the Red Wolves were 47.1 percent (16-34). The Trojans entered the game shooting 66.8 percent at the charity stripe on the season, but was 10-for-13 (76.9 percent) in the first period while A-State was 4-for-7 (57.1 percent).
The Red Wolves held Troy to 34.6 percent (9-26) in the second half from the field and the Trojans ended the night shooting 44.2 percent (23-52). A-State shot a blistering 55.6 percent (15-27) in the second half to end the game shooting 50.8 percent (31-61) from the field. Troy ended the night with 40 trips to the charity stripe, but was 16-for-27 (59.3 percent) in the second half to finish 26-of-40 (65.0 percent). A-State was 12-for-18 in the second half to shoot 64 percent (16-for-25) on the night.
A-State returns to action Saturday (Jan. 2) with a 4:05 p.m. tipoff at South Alabama.
Single-game tickets for all remaining 2015-16 A-State home contests, including the Sun Belt Conference home opener against ULM (Jan. 7) can be purchased through the A-State Central Box Office by calling 870-972-2781 or 1-888-ASU-FANS. Tickets are also available for online purchase at AStateRedWolves.com/tickets.