WICHITA, Kan. (12/19/17) – Deven Simms had a game-high 30 points and the Arkansas State men’s basketball team battled No. 11 Wichita State wire-to-wire before falling 89-80 at the Koch Center Tuesday.
A-State (4-8) held a 50-44 lead at the half behind 10 first half 3-pointers, but a 15-2 run midway through the second half saw the Shockers (9-2) pull away. The Red Wolves pulled within five, 83-78, with 3:15 to play, but Wichita State set the final score at 89-80.
Simms finished with 30 points and 10 rebounds for his second consecutive double-double and third this season. Ty Cockfield also had double figures finishing with 16 points while Grantham Gillard chipped in with nine points. Landry Shamet led the Shockers with 18 points, one of three players in double figures for Wichita State.
The Red Wolves shot 62 percent (18-29) in the first half before finishing the game at 49 percent (28-57). After those 10 first half 3-pointers, Wichita State limited the Red Wolves to 1-of-11 (9 percent) in the second half and 41 percent (11-27) for the game. The Shockers shot 53 percent (34-64) from the field and 11-for-23 (48 percent) from 3-point range.
Wichita State, which entered the game ranked tops nationally in rebound margin, finished with a 33-30 edge on the glass. The Shockers outscored A-State 42-20 in the paint and 20-11 in points off turnovers despite just 13 A-State turnovers.
How It Happened (First Half):
Wichita State missed its first two shot attempts, but six-straight makes saw the Shockers build an 11-point advantage, 17-6, with 15:42 to play. A-State had five turnovers in the first four minutes, but went the final 16 minutes of the half with two miscues.
The Red Wolves refused to go away knocking down 62 percent (18-29) from the field, including 10-of-16 (63 percent) from 3-point range. A-State missed back-to-back shots only twice in the first 20 minutes while putting together a streak of four-straight makes on two different occasions.
Simms and Cockfield combined for 28 points on 10-of-15 (67 percent) shooting, including 4-of-6 (67 percent) from 3-point range in the half. The Red Wolves held a 15-13 edge on the glass, but the Shockers had seven offensive rebounds for seven second chance points.
How It Happened (Second Half):
A-State and Wichita State traded buckets to open the second half. After the Red Wolves grabbed a 63-62 lead, the Shockers pulled away with a 15-2 run to lead 77-65 with 7:21 to play. A-State refused to go away quietly, pulling within 83-78 with 3:15 on the clock.
Simms scored 15 of his 30 points in the second half and hit 7-of-7 at the charity stripe, including a stretch of four-straight pressure filled free throws. Simms drove to the rim and was fouled and a technical foul on the Wichita State bench resulted in four-straight free throw attempts for Simms. He knocked down all four of the free throws to make it 83-78.
The Red Wolves shot 36 percent (10-28) in the second half while the Shockers knocked down 57 percent (18-32) overall and 6-of-12 (50 percent) beyond the arc. Free throws kept the Red Wolves in the game as A-State hit 9-of-11 (82 percent).
Quoting Coach Balado:
“This is a game we can build on down the road. We always want to win the game and I talked to them at halftime about not getting complacent with shooting three’s. I knew as time went on we wouldn’t shoot the ball as well and we only made one 3-pointer in the second half. I thought we should’ve paint touched it more, but overall offensively in the first half we were great at 62 percent. They made some adjustments against the zone in the second half and that’s a credit to Gregg Marshall because he’s a heck of a coach.”
“I thought our guys played extremely hard. All I can ask of our guys is to play hard and play free in an environment like this and I thought we did that. They only out-rebounded us by three, so if you look at the numbers, you wouldn’t think that would be the case.”
“I told Deven Simms from day one that this system fits him perfectly. We put him on the ball tonight because he handles the ball well and makes good decisions. He played 38 minutes tonight and doesn’t get tired. I think our guys off the bench gave us something, but we still have a lot of improvement to make.”
“Losing four in a row earlier in the year was a low point for the program. We never want to do that and that is not our standard. We kept fighting back and had a close game at Omaha, came back and won at FAU on a big shot by Rashad Lindsey. Tonight, we played well enough to give them a game and we were only down four with four minutes to play. Like I said before, I want this team to peak in January or February. It takes understand going through trials and tribulations to get better. Our non-conference schedule has prepared us well for the conference season.”
A-State returns to First National Bank Arena to close non-conference play with a 7:00 p.m. matchup against Culver-Stockton on Friday. The Red Wolves open Sun Belt Conference play on Friday, December 29 at 7:30 p.m. against ULM inside First National Bank Arena.