JONESBORO, Ark. (11/20/17) – Three Arkansas State players scored in double figures, including junior guard Ty Cockfield with a season-high 25 points, and the Red Wolves shot 60 percent in the second half to pull away from Howard in a 92-78 victory Monday night at First National Bank Arena.
A-State remained perfect at home with a 2-0 record, while also evening its overall record to 2-2. Facing Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference member Howard for the first time in school history, the Red Wolves registered season-best totals for points, field goals made, rebounds and assists to hand the Bison their fifth consecutive loss to start the year.
Cockfield was joined in double figures by senior guard Rashad Lindsey with a season-high 17 points, while senior forward Tamas Bruce added 14. The A-State bench also outscored the Howard reserves 31-5, getting at least four points from four different players.
A-State improved its field goal percentage from .467 in the first half to .607 in the second, ending the game with their second best shooting performance of the season at 53 percent. Although the Bison took five more shots than the Red Wolves, they made three fewer field goals and finished with a .444 percentage.
Cockfield (3) and Lindsey (4) both dished out their most assists of the season, combining to account for seven of A-State’s 13 total. Led by junior forward Tristin Walley with a season-high 11 rebounds, the Red Wolves also held a 40-27 advantage on the boards.
How It Happened (First Half):
While both teams led by at least six at one point in the first half, the opening 20 minutes of action featured 10 ties and eight lead changes. Trailing 15-14 with 14:04 left before the break, the Red Wolves went on an 8-0 run over the next three minutes to take their largest lead of the half at 22-15.
However, the Bison responded with a 14-1 run to collect its biggest advantage of the night, 29-23, at the 8:37 mark. The Red Wolves chipped away at the lead to tie the game at 32-32, but eventually took the lead for good in the last minute of the half. Freshman guard Marquis Eaton hit a jumper with 39 seconds left and redshirt freshman Jake Scoggins hit a layup in the final seconds to send A-State into the locker room up 46-42.
How It Happened (Second Half):
The Red Wolves scored 10 of the first 12 points to start the second half and were able to open up the first double-digit lead of the game at 58-46. They would extend their lead to 66-50 with 14:03 remaining before the Bison went on a 9-0 run to pull back within seven at the 11:22 mark.
Howard continued to work its deficit down and actually pulled within four points, 76-72, with 5:11 left on the clock, but A-State took over at that point by scoring 16 of the last 22. The five-minute run to end the game included a pair of three-pointers from sophomore guard Connor Kern and junior guard Grantham Gillard.
Quoting Coach Balado:
“Howard was a team that came in thirsty for a road win. They’ve played a really tough schedule with this being their fifth game on the road so I knew they were going to be ready. I told our guys the last two days that C.J. Williams is a heck of a player and sometimes guys don’t believe you until you show them. C.J. Williams was exceptional tonight, but I thought we did an excellent job on him in the second half with C.J. Foster and Connor Kern forcing him to take tough shots. I thought we did a good job on R.J. Cole as well, even though he had 22 points. He was 7-for-19 shooting and I thought we wore him down a little bit.”
“Tonight was a great team win. Rashad Lindsey was excellent tonight making big shots for us. Tristin Walley played excellent tonight with 11 rebounds and even though he only had five points, he made a huge impact on the game rebounding the ball. Ty Cockfield obviously did a great job tonight scoring the ball and as a whole everybody gave something tonight. I was happy with the team win. Our strength is strength in numbers so I’m happy that we came out and played hard and were able to win a game.”