Atlanta, GA (A-State) – The Arkansas State men’s basketball led 71-67 with 2:58 to play, but Georgia State rallied to top the Red Wolves 79-75 Saturday afternoon at the GSU Sports Arena.
A-State falls to 6-11 on the year and 1-3 in league play while Georgia State improved to 11-6 overall and 2-2 in league play. Deven Simms led A-State with 24 points while Ty Cockfield added 14 points. Grantham Gillard nearly had a double-double as he finished with 13 points and nine rebounds while Salif Boudie had eight points and eight rebounds. D’Marcus Simonds had a game-high 33 points along with nine rebounds to lead Georgia State.
The contest featured 10 ties and 22 lead changes with neither team leading by more than six points. Georgia State knocked in a 3-pointer with 32 seconds remaining to break a 72-72 tie. After a turnover and two free throw makes, Cockfield banked in a 3-pointer to make it a two-point deficit with 11 seconds left. The Panthers knocked down to more free throws and A-State was unable to come back in the final nine seconds.
The Red Wolves shot 45 percent (26-58) from the floor and 9-of-25 (36 percent) from 3-point range. Georgia State also went 45 percent (26-58) from the field, but hit 10-of-26 (39 percent) from 3-point range. A-State converted 78 percent (14-18) at the charity stripe while the Panthers hit 65 percent (17-26).
A-State held a 35-33 advantage on the glass and the Red Wolves owned a 30-24 advantage in paint points. The Red Wolves outscored the Panthers 12-2 on the fast break, but Georgia State forced 14 A-State turnovers.
How It Happened (First Half):
A-State jumped out to a 7-3 advantage, but a three minute scoring drought saw the Panthers gain a 21-15 lead with 10:32 to play in the half. The Red Wolves refused to go away as A-State used an 11-2 spurt to take a 26-23 lead at 7:05 on the clock. The two teams traded buckets the remainder of the half and Georgia State carried a 37-36 lead to the break.
The Red Wolves shot 47 percent (14-30) from the floor, including 4-of-12 (33 percent) from 3-point range. Georgia State hit 50 percent (7-14) from 3-point range and shot 43 percent (13-30) overall. Helped by seven boards from Gillard and five from Boudie, A-State owned an 18-14 advantage on the glass in the first 20 minutes. The Red Wolves held a 7-0 advantage on the fast break and outscored the Panthers 16-10 in the paint.
How It Happened (Second Half):
Neither team grabbed a lead larger than three points in the first 10 minutes of the final frame. With the score tied at 53, Simms scored six-straight points to give A-State a 59-54 lead with 9:18 to play. Georgia State chipped away at the lead and a 6-0 run by the Panthers a 63-62 advantage with 5:24 to play.
Simms knocked in a 3-pointer with 2:58 to go giving the Red Wolves a 71-67 advantage, but the Panthers outscored A-State 10-1 over the next 2:45 to build a 77-72 lead with 13 seconds to play. Cockfield banked in a 3-pointer with 11 seconds to play, but free throws by the Panthers iced the game.
A-State shot 43 percent in the final frame, including 5-of-13 (39 percent) beyond the arc. The Panthers hit only 3-of-12 (25 percent) from long range, but converted 46 percent (13-28) from the field. Georgia State sank 13-of-21 (62 percent) at the charity stripe while the Red Wolves were 10-of-13 (77 percent).
Quoting Coach Balado:
“I’m really proud of our guys and the effort with which they played tonight. That effort was night and day difference than Georgia Southern, but the reason for that is they practiced like I expected them to practice yesterday. When you are missing your starting power forward and your starting center, you know it’s tough to get a win, but I thought we gave the effort and did all the right things to get a win. Georgia State hit a 3-pointer with two seconds on the shot clock with 40 seconds left. They have good players too, but I thought we needed to do a better job on Simonds. He’s an exceptional player, the best guard in the league by far, but I thought that effort we gave tonight was excellent.”
A-State returns home to face Texas State at 7:30 p.m. on January 11 inside First National Bank Arena.