Jonesboro, AR (A-State) – The Arkansas State men’s basketball team finished 55 percent beyond the arc and earned a 73-63 road win at ULM Saturday afternoon.
The win improves the Red Wolves to 15-6 overall and 6-2 in league play. The Warhawks drop to 6-15 on the year and 0-8 in league play.
Rashad Lindsey led A-State with 15 points, hitting 3-of-5 beyond the arc and a perfect 4-for-4 at the charity stripe. Connor Kern had 12 points, all in the second half, on 4-of-5 shooting from 3-point range and Donte Thomas finished with 10 points, eight assists and five rebounds. Nick Coppola led the Warhawks with 19 points.
A-State finished with its second-most 3-pointers on the season going 12-for-22 (54.5 percent) beyond the arc. Overall, the Red Wolves were 44.4 percent (24-54) from the field and 13-of-19 (68.4 percent) at the charity stripe. ULM opened the game 10-of-14 (71.4 percent), but finished 41.5 percent (22-53) from the field. The Red Wolves held ULM to 27.3 percent (6-22) beyond the arc, the 11th opponent to shoot below 28 percent this season.
How It Happened (First Half):
A-State raced out to a 7-0 lead with Donte Thomas finding Tamas Bruce for layups on each of the first two possessions. Rashad Lindsey followed with a 3-pointer to make it 7-0 just 1:30 into the game. The Warhawks responded later as an 8-0 run gave the hosts a 19-15 lead with 11:22 remaining in the half.
The two teams traded buckets the next three minutes, but the defenses for both teams clamped down. Salif Boudie broke up a combined scoring drought of 4:22 with the hoop and the harm and the free throw gave A-State a 28-27 lead with 3:45 left in the half.
The Warhawks took a 33-30 lead with 22 seconds left, but out of a timeout, Thomas hit C.J. Foster on the alley-oop to make it 33-32 at the break. Thomas finished the first half with six assists and four rebounds along with three points.
A-State finished the first period shooting 42.8 percent (12-28) from the floor and 50 percent (4-8) beyond the arc. The Warhawks hovered around 70 percent for much of the first half, but finished the period shooting 48 percent (12-25) overall and 22.9 percent (2-9) from long range.
How It Happened (Second Half):
As was the case in the first half, A-State opened with a run to grab a lead. The Red Wolves started the second half on an 8-0 run and held the Warhawks without a field goal the first 6:56 of the half to build as large as an 11-point lead.
ULM refused to go away though, cutting the deficit to as few as few as four, 60-56, in the second half. A-State closed the game outscoring the Warhawks 13-7, hitting 7-of-9 (77.8 percent) at the charity stripe in the final 1:17.
Connor Kern was 4-for-5 beyond the arc in the second half accounting for all 12 of his points on the night. The Red Wolves hit 8-of-14 (57.1 percent) from 3-point range in the second half and were 46.2 percent (12-26) overall from the field. A-State limited the Warhawks to 35.7 percent (10-28) from the field and 4-for-13 (30.8 percent) beyond the arc.
Donte Thomas had eight assists to move to 10th in program history with 276 for his career. He passed Tommy Tapley (1976-78) who had 275 assists to break into the top-10 marks.
Deven Simms logged a career best five assists.
A-State finished with a season best 20 to eight assists to turnover ratio. The Red Wolves had 20 assists on 24 made field goals good for 83.3 percent.
The win marks the sixth true road win this season, tied for the third-most in single season program history.
Quoting Coach MacCasland:
“This ULM team is competitive and I don’t think their effort is in any way indicative of them being an 0-7 team going into the game. They are going to beat some people down the stretch so you have to give them some credit. Nick Coppola just competed down the stretch and played his tail off. His motor runs, and you could see him just competing like crazy in the last minute of the game. I have to give a lot of credit to them and how hard they played.
Defensively, we held them below 42 percent from the field and 27 percent from the three. We out-rebounded them on the glass 34-31 and our assists to turnover ratio was 20 to eight. The fact we didn’t turn the ball over and kept getting good looks while being patient was big areas for us.
Huge plays by Deven Simms and Donte Thomas tonight to just keep their composure. They had some open looks, but they turned down good ones to get great ones to get a guy like Connor Kern to go 4-for-5. Connor played great and had a huge game, but his five defensive rebounds were just as important as those four 3-pointers. We got stops and his effort defensively was great tonight. Rashad, he’s just so solid for us and you almost take it for granted.”
Arkansas State travels to Lafayette to take on the Ragin’ Cajuns at 7 p.m. Monday inside the Cajundome.