Arkansas State men’s & women’s basketball have Power 5 tests Friday

Published: Nov. 11, 2021 at 10:37 PM CST|Updated: Nov. 11, 2021 at 10:51 PM CST
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Arkansas State men’s basketball (1-0) at #11 Illinois (1-0)

The first road game of the season sees Arkansas State visit No. 11 Illinois Friday at 8:00 p.m. The game will be televised on Big Ten Network + and can be heard on the EAB Red Wolves Sports Network. A-State is 2-32 dating back to 1949-50 against ranked opponents.

The Red Wolves moved to 45-49 all-time in season openers. A-State is 38-16 since the 2017-18 season began when scoring 75 or more points and have won 8-straight games when reaching 75 points. The Red Wolves are 17-3 in the last 20 games they have held an opponent to below 40 percent shooting.

A-State has two returning all-conference players for the first time since 2004-05 - J.J. Montgomery and Dewarick Spencer. Norchad Omier, named Sun Belt Conference Preseason Player of the Year, and Marquis Eaton were named to the Sun Belt Conference Preseason All-Sun Belt teams. The Red Wolves return 13 letterwinners, five starters, 97.1 percent of minutes, 97.9 percent of scoring and 96.6 percent of rebounds from last season. Marquis Eaton is 40 points away from Steve Brooks (1969-74) for ninth on the all-time scoring list in program history.

Head Coach Mike Balado is in his fifth season at A-State carrying a record of 52-69 (.425). Happy Birthday to Coach Balado! Friday’s game will mark the second time in head coach Mike Balado’s tenure he coaches the Red Wolves on his birthday. A-State defeated Missouri Baptist 89-54 on his birthday (Nov. 12) in 2018.

Arkansas State women’s basketball (1-0) at Oklahoma (1-0)

A-State looks to upend a Power-5 foe on Friday morning, facing (RV) Oklahoma at 10:30 a.m. in Norman. The game will be televised on Bally Sports Southwest and can be heard on the EAB Red Wolves Sports Network and flagship station 95.3 The Ticket.

The 2021-22 campaign marks the program’s 48th season with the Red Wolves amassing a 759-586 all-time record (.564) dating back to the inaugural 1974-75 season.

Oklahoma enters Friday’s contest coming off an exciting 73-71 road victory at (RV) South Dakota Tuesday night, winning the game on a go-ahead driving basket by Madi Williams with 5.1 seconds left to mark the first win under new head coach Jennie Baranczyk. Baranczyk was hired as the Sooners’ new leader after a successful nine-year stint at Drake (2012-21). Williams and Ana Llanusa scored 19 points apiece in OU’s season opener while Taylor Robertson hauled in 8 rebounds with 17 points. Both Williams and Robertson have received preseason hype, as Williams is on watch lists for both the Naismith Award and the Cheryl Miller Award. Both players received preseason All-Big 12 honors entering the 2021-22 campaign.

Arkansas State opened the season on a strong note Tuesday, trouncing Central Baptist College 83-52 to open the season with a win for the second time in three seasons. Lauryn Pendleton led four players in double-figures with 19 points and 9 assists, the most by an A-State player since Aundrea Gamble’s 11 at Georgia State on Feb. 20, 2016. Her 19 points was the most by a freshman since Jireh Washington’s 22 on March 9, 2019, at Louisiana. Five new players saw the floor in the opener, combining for 54 total points

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