JONESBORO, Ark. (2/1/18) – Senior guard Deven Simms scored 28 points to lead the Arkansas State men’s basketball team against Georgia State Thursday night at First National Bank Arena, but the Red Wolves suffered a 77-66 setback in a game that featured six ties and 13 lead changes.
A-State, which trailed just 32-29 at halftime, saw its record move to 8-15 overall and 3-7 in Sun Belt play. Georgia State won its eighth consecutive game, improving to 17-6 overall and 8-2 in league action.
While Simms’ 28 points were five shy of his career high, they were his most against a Sun Belt Conference opponent. He was joined in double figures by freshman guard Marquis Eaton, who finished with 14 points.
The Red Wolves held a 38-34 advantage on the boards, posted two more steals and had three fewer turnovers, but shot 36.1 percent from the field in comparison to Georgia State’s .558 percentage.
How It Happened (First Half):
Neither team led by more than five points in a tightly-contested first half that saw the Panthers take a three-point advantage into the break. The two squads exchanged the lead 11 times, but Georgia State closed the half with a 6-2 run.
Simms scored 15 of his 28 points over the game’s first 20 minutes, while D’Marcus Simmonds accounted for a team-best 15 for the Panthers as well. A-State made 6-of-7 free throws in the half, but saw its percentage drop in the second to .600.
How It Happened (Second Half):
Georgia State built its lead to seven points, 45-38, seven minutes into the second half before A-State responded with a 12-3 run to retake the lead at 50-48 with 10:49 remaining. The Panthers responded with a 13-2 run over the next four minutes to take its largest advantage at the time, 61-52.
After Georgia State’s lead reached 11 points, A-State pulled back within 66-60 at the 4:14 mark, but couldn’t get any closer.
Quoting Coach Balado:
“We didn’t play defense like I wanted to. They usually take about 66 shots per game and we held them under that, but the problem was that they shot 56 percent. A lot of those were with under six seconds to go on the shot clock or an open 3-pointer right at eight or seven seconds. When you play good defense for 25 seconds, but then let them shoot a 3-poitner, there is nothing you can do and we just have to get better in that area. I can’t explain the missed shots. I really can’t. We shoot more than any other team in the country and have individuals three times a week so guys get shots and have confidence, but when you let a team shoot 56 percent and you shoot 36 percent you are not going to win. We just have to watch the film, fix our mistakes and get ready for Saturday.”
Arkansas State remains at home for its next game, set for Saturday, Feb. 3, against Georgia Southern at 7:00 p.m.