LITTLE ROCK, AR (A-STATE) – A 10-point halftime deficit proved to be too much as Little Rock downed the Arkansas State men’s basketball team 89-80 on Tuesday in front of a sellout crowd at the Jack Stephens Center.
The loss drops A-State to 11-19 on the season and 7-12 in Sun Belt play. Little Rock improved to 27-3 on the season and 17-2 in conference play. Roger Woods finished with a game-high 30 points to lead all scorers and three others finished in double figures for the Trojans.
Nouhoum Bocoum posted a career high of 21 points while Anthony Livingston had a career high 22 rebounds. The 22 rebounds were the most in single-game history since Jeff Clifton had 25 against Little Rock on Jan. 29, 1994. Devin Carter finished with 22 points, his 15th game this season with 20 or more points. Sean Gardner added 11 points and Livingston finished with 18 points for his 29th career double-double and 14th this season.
“I don’t have a lot of complaints after this game,” said A-State head coach John Brady. “We had a couple of defensive breakdowns, but Little Rock shoots the ball so well and made timely baskets. We made some good plays as well and that’s a team that was holding teams to 58 or 59 points a game. Defensively, we struggled with them and we got a little fatigued down the stretch. Nouhoum Bocoum played more minutes than he ever has and had a great game and Anthony Livingston pulled down 22 rebounds which are great things for us.”
The 10-point halftime deficit, 48-38, proved to be too much as the Red Wolves failed to trim the Little Rock lead below seven points in the second half. A-State trimmed the shortfall to seven points three times, but 3-point shooting by the Trojans hampered any chance of a comeback by the Red Wolves.
Carter scored 12 second-half points in the first 12 minutes of the second half, but Trojans forward Lis Shoshi scored 12 points in a four minute stretch to help Little Rock maintain a double-digit advantage.
Little Rock drained seven three-pointers in the second half to keep the advantage over A-State. The top two free throw shooting teams in the Sun Belt Conference struggled in the second half at the charity stripe with A-State shooting 4-of-8 (50 percent) and Little Rock going 2-of-6 (33.3 percent).
A-State held a one-point lead, 34-33, with 6:04 remaining in the first half as Bocoum drained a pair of free throws. The Red Wolves built the one-point advantage with 65 percent (13-20) shooting, but missed their final six shots of the half.
With the Red Wolves missing their last six shots of the half, Little Rock used a 15-4 run to hold a 10-point advantage at halftime. A-State had a chance to keep the deficit under 10 going into halftime, but went 4-for-7 at the charity stripe in the final six minutes of the half while in the double-bonus.
Little Rock shot a blistering 59.4 percent (19-32) in the first half while the Red Wolves were 50 percent (13-26). The Trojans forced eight turnovers that led to 14 points while not committing a turnover of their own. The Red Wolves did own a 19-9 edge on the glass in the first half, getting eight second chance points on seven offensive rebounds.
The Trojans ended the night with one turnovers, committed midway through the second half, compared to 11 for the Red Wolves. Little Rock finished with a 22-2 edge in points off turnovers and outscored A-State 36-22 in the paint.
Little Rock ended the night 54.7 percent (35-64) from the field and 10-for-21 (47.6 percent) from 3-point range. A-State shot 50 percent or better for the first time since the last meeting with Little Rock (Jan. 18), finishing 50.8 percent (30-59) from the floor. The Red Wolves were 33.3 percent (6-18) from 3-point range and finishes with two of the top-three scoring outputs this year against Little Rock which is ranked first nationally in scoring defense (58.8 PPG).
The Red Wolves close the regular season at Appalachian State on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. (CT). The game will air on ESPN3.