JONESBORO, Ark. (12/5/17) – Deven Simms scored a career high 33 points, but the Arkansas State men’s basketball team lost it’s fourth-straight game with a 92-78 loss to UT Martin inside First National Bank Arena Tuesday.
A-State (2-6) trailed 52-50 with 14:03 to play, but UT Martin (2-7) went on a 19-4 run over a seven minute stretch to pull away. The Skyhawks shot 62 percent (32-52) from the field and scored 50 of their 92 points in the paint. After not shooting a free throw in the first half, UT Martin went 22-of-24 (92 percent) in the second half, outscoring the Red Wolves 22-8 at the charity stripe over the final 20 minutes. The Red Wolves shot 42 percent (25-60) overall and 12-of-33 (36 percent) from 3-point range.
Simms scored 26 of his 33 points in the second half to lead all scorers. Rashad Lindsey added 16 points and Tristin Walley also had double figures with 11 points. Fatodd Lewis led UT Martin with 23 points and 14 rebounds while Matthew Butler had 20 points.
How It Happened (First Half):
Both teams had a bit of a slow start with neither team finding the score column in the first minute plus. Simms opened the scoring and the two teams would trade baskets before a 6-0 run saw the Skyhawks build a 15-10 lead with 11:50 to play.
The five point lead for UT Martin was the largest for either team in the first 20 minutes. A-State answered to tie the score at 15, but didn’t take the lead until Walley drained a 3-pointer and followed with a steal and a fast break dunk to make it 20-19 at 8:01.
The Red Wolves led 26-24 at 6:33, but UT Martin held a lead the remainder of the half. A-State kept the Skyhawks with 3-point shooting, hitting 7-of-22 (32 percent). The Skyhawks shot 66 percent (19-29) from the field to stay in front.
How It Happened (Second Half):
The two squads traded buckets to open the second half, but UT Martin pulled away with a 19-4 run over a seven minute stretch. The run saw A-State fall behind by 17 points, 71-54, with 7:30 to play, and the deficit was too large to overcome.
A-State was able to cut the deficit to as few as nine, but UT Martin never allowed the Red Wolves to get closer. Simms scored 26 of his 33 points in the second half, but A-State saw 13 points from other players in the half.
UT Martin outscored A-State 51-39 in the half, with 22 of the 51 points coming at the charity stripe. The Skyhawks shot 57 percent (13-23) over the final 20 minutes and 3-of-7 (43 percent) beyond the arc. A-State was 13-for-30 (43 percent) and connected on 5-of-11 (46 percent) from 3-point range.
Quoting Coach Balado:
“We can’t allow a team to shoot 62 percent on our home floor. They shot 24 free throws in the second half after not shooting one in the first half, so they were obviously the more aggressive team and we obviously fouled too much. We try to work on turnovers, but again we had 18. We can’t seem to get over the hump with turnovers, but I’ll do a better job as a coach. I’ll get them in practice, but I’ll take the loss. Losses are always on me, I’ll never blame the guys. The guys win games, but coaches lose them. We’ll get back and watch film and I’ll find a rotation that wants to play and wants to win. Whatever the rotation may be, that is who is going to play. There might be some people unhappy about their playing time, but it’s all about winning at Arkansas State. Tonight was not the outcome we wanted, but we will get back to work and get better.”
A-State hosts Henderson State on Saturday at 7:00 p.m. inside First National Bank Arena.