JONESBORO, Ark. (11/5/16) – The Arkansas State men’s basketball team shot 48 percent from the field and saw four players score in double figures as it wrapped up its preseason schedule with a 71-49 exhibition victory over Henderson State Saturday afternoon at the Convocation Center.
Not only did the Red Wolves’ offense put together its best shooting performance in the first half (53.1 pct.) of an exhibition game since 2012, they also held Reddies to the lowest point total by an opponent in a preseason contest since 2008. Arkansas State improved to 22-1 in exhibition outings since the 2005-06 season and, including tonight, have won 21 of those games by a double-digit margin.
Sophomore guard Connor Kern produced a game-high 15 points to lead the Red Wolves, while freshman forward Jahmiah Simmons, senior guard Devin Carter and junior forward Tamas Bruce all added 10. Bruce narrowly missed a double-double with a game-high nine rebounds as A-State dominated the boards for the second straight time out, 49-27.
“I was excited about our effort,” said A-State head coach Grant McCasland. “Ball pressure was a big key for us because I felt like we had not been doing that great, but I thought we did a good job in that area with the way we took them out of what they wanted to do and how they liked to play motion.
“Offensively, I thought we had stretches where we shared the basketball and other stretches where I didn’t do a very good job keeping us moving and maybe tried a few too many sets with different personnel. Overall, though, I loved our effort and seeing our team compete because I thought we got better.”
The Red Wolves opened up an 18-8 advantage seven minutes into the game and led by double figures the rest of the game. They achieved their largest first-half lead with 1:15 left before the break when Kern, who score 13 of his 15 points in the opening 20 minutes, hit a jumper to make the score 41-22.
A-State took a 44-27 advantage into halftime and began the second half with a 10-0 run to go up by 27 points. The Red Wolves didn’t allow the Reddies to get closer than 18 points the rest of the way, actually achieving their largest lead at 71-43 with 2:30 left in the contest.
Thirteen different Arkansas State players saw action and 10 of them scored as it got 37 points from its bench. The Red Wolves also limited HSU to a .321 shooting percentage, and the Reddies had only one player, Toney Foster, score in double digits (14 points). The Red Wolves collected 19 offensive boards to score 19 second-chance points and also outscored Henderson State 36-16 in the paint.
Arkansas State is set to open its regular season Friday, Nov. 11, with a 7:00 p.m. (CT) game at North Dakota State. The Red Wolves will play their home opener three days later on Monday, Nov. 14, against Central Baptist at 7:00 p.m.