Monroe, LA (A-State) – Tristin Walley scored a career high 23 points and three other players scored in double figures as Arkansas State men’s basketball closed the regular season with an 83-79 victory at ULM Saturday afternoon.
A-State (11-20, 6-12 SBC) will be the No. 11 seed in the Sun Belt Conference Tournament next week and play Wednesday night at 7:30 p.m. The six seed will be decided once all league games are complete on Saturday. ULM falls to 15-14 overall and 9-9 in league play with the loss.
Walley poured in his career high 23 points behind 4-of-7 (57.1 percent) shooting beyond the arc and 7-of-8 (87.5 percent) at the charity stripe. Rashad Lindsey was a perfect 8-for-8 from the field for 17 points while Ty Cockfield added 16 points and Grantham Gillard had 11 points. Sam McDaniel led the Warhawks with a game-high 24 points.
ULM erased an 18-point halftime deficit with splendid 3-point shooting in the second half. The Warhawks were 8-of-11 (72.7 percent) in the half and 43.5 percent (10-23) on the afternoon. ULM was 50.9 percent (29-57) overall from the field, but A-State out-shot the Warhawks on the afternoon by going 29-of-55 (52.7 percent). The Red Wolves hit 8-of-12 (66.7 percent) from 3-point range in the first half before finishing 11-for-20 (55 percent) on the night. A-State out-rebounded the Warhawks 28-27 and outscored ULM in the paint 30-24.
How It Happened (First Half):
Arkansas State came out firing as the first three attempts beyond the arc went down to force a ULM timeout. The Warhawks used a 7-0 run to make it 11-8, but A-State answered with a 10-2 run to hold an 11-point advantage, 21-10, with 12:29 to go in the half. ULM responded again with a 9-2 spurt to trim the deficit to four, but the Red Wolves pulled away to lead 50-32 at the break.
The Red Wolves hit 8-of-12 (66.7 percent) from 3-point range in the period and 17-of-28 (60.7 percent) from the field. A-State held ULM to 40.7 percent (11-27) from the field and 2-of-12 (16.7 percent) beyond the arc.
How It Happened (Second Half):
ULM was 7-of-8 (87.5 percent) from 3-point range the first 12 minutes of the half to erase the Red Wolves 18 point lead and see the Warhawks lead 64-63 with 8:13 to play. Behind the 3-point barrage, ULM outscored A-State 32-13 in that span.
The final eight minutes saw eight lead changes and three ties, but two free throws by Walley with 2:21 to go gave A-State a 75-74 lead it did not relinquish. After the free throws, ULM was called for an illegal screen and Lindsey hit a running jumper with the shot clock expiring to make it a three point advantage, 77-74, with 1:39 remaining.
A-State drained 4-of-5 free throws in the final minute to seal the win and finished the frame 6-of-7 (85.7 percent) at the charity stripe. ULM was 8-of-11 (72.7 percent) beyond the arc in the half and 60 percent (18-30) from the field while holding A-State to 44.4 percent (12-27) overall and 37.5 percent (3-8) from 3-point range.
Quoting Coach Balado:
“That was an excellent first half, probably our best outside of at Wichita State and at Appalachian State this year. We shot the ball well and we stopped them from shooting the 3-pointer. Obviously, Coach Richard does a great job with his team and they always play so hard. They made shots in the second half, which gave us problems. We executed the game plan well today. They hit shots in the second half, but we weathered the storm and got a good win.”
Arkansas State will be the No. 11 seed at the 2018 Sun Belt Conference Championship and play the No. 6 seed on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. at Lakefront Arena in New Orleans, La. The six seed and full bracket will be announced later Saturday night.