After the initial season opener was cancelled twice, the Arkansas State men’s basketball team dropped its season opener at Marshall 70-56 Friday afternoon.
Marquis Eaton led the Red Wolves with 13 points and eight rebounds, one shy of his career high of nine boards against Louisiana last season at First National Bank Arena. Caleb Fields added 12 points, six rebounds, five assists and three steals. Keyon Wesley, who started in his Red Wolves’ debut, added nine points, six rebounds, two steals and a block. Tim Holland Jr. totaled four points and tied Eaton for the team lead with eight boards. Taevion Kinsey led Marshall with 17 points while Darius George added 15 points off the bench.
A-State shot 38 percent for the game, hitting 21-55 from the floor. The Red Wolves were 3-for-12 (25 percent) from 3-point range, but struggled at the free throw line hitting just 11-of-23 (48 percent). The Thundering Herd shot 44 percent (29-66) on the afternoon, knocking down 5-of-25 (20 percent) beyond the arc. Marshall attempted only nine free throws, hitting 7-of-9 (78 percent).
Trailing 29-22 at the half, the Red Wolves got within one possession three different times in the second half. All three times, Marshall pulled away, with the Thundering Herd using a 13-2 run midway through the second half to build an 18-point lead, 62-44, with 5:13 to play.
Eaton scored the first bucket of the season for A-State, but the Red Wolves struggled to add to it early. Eaton’s bucket came at 19:12, but A-State did not score again until Avery Felts sank two free throws 5:35 later. The Red Wolves shot 34.6 percent (9-26) from the field in the first 20 minutes, hitting 1-of-5 (20 percent) beyond the arc. A-State made just 3-of-8 (38 percent) at the charity stripe in the first half.
Marshall hit 7-of-8 shots in a five-minute stretch midway through the first half to build their largest lead of the half, 23-12, with 7:20 remaining. The Thundering Herd were 13-of-31 (42 percent) for the first half, hitting 2-of-13 (15 percent) from 3-point range. Marshall split their two free throw attempts.
Marshall won the battle on the glass 39-38 and forced the Red Wolves to 18 turnovers, to their 14. The Thundering Herd outscored the Red Wolves 24-19 off the bench. With an 8-7 edge in offensive rebounds, A-State outscored the Thundering Herd 8-7 in second chance points.
A-State’s next scheduled game is Wednesday at Memphis with tip-off set for 7:00 p.m. from FedExForum. For the latest on A-State men’s basketball, follow the team on Twitter (@AStateMB), Facebook (/AStateMB) or Instagram (@astatemb).