Photo Courtesy: ASU Athletics
JONESBORO, Ark. (ASU) - Freshman forward Jalen O'Bannon paced Arkansas State with 18 points, while junior Jane Morrill added 13 to lead the Red Wolves to a 71-49 victory over Troy Saturday afternoon at the Convocation Center.
The Red Wolves improved their record to 15-12 overall and 12-6 in the Sun Belt Conference. With the win, A-State remains tied for first-place in the SBC West Division with Arkansas-Little Rock. Troy fell to 6-21 overall and 3-15 in league play.
A-State never trailed in the game and quickly jumped out a 13-0 lead, knocking down six of its first nine shots, including a 3-pointer from Andi Watson to help set the tone early in the game.
"The start to the game early on was really good," Arkansas State head coach Brian Boyer said. "I thought we came out early on and made some good decisions, forced some turnovers and we were able to build the lead."
Watson, who made her first start since Dec. 15, finished the game with eight points, while fellow senior Ashley Olvera tied a career high with nine rebounds in her final home game. Quinishia McDowell scored six points, grabbed six rebounds and recorded a steal in her final game at the Convocation Center.
ASU outscored the Trojans 26-10 over the game's first 10 minutes and was dominant on the boards. The Red Wolves finished the afternoon with a 45-37 rebounding edge, including a 33-24 advantage on the defensive glass.
"This was maybe one of the best games we have had at rebounding the basketball," Boyer said. "There were a lot of misses out there and we were able to grab a lot of those."
O'Bannon finished the first half with 10 points, including a jumper in the paint with 21 seconds to go in the half to give the Red Wolves a 40-27 halftime advantage. The freshman was dominant in the post and scored in double-figures for the fourth straight game.
Troy entered the game as the Sun Belt Conference leader in scoring average, scoring nearly 72.3 points per game, but was held to just 49 points by the ASU defense. The Trojans committed 14 turnovers on the afternoon and shot just 27.9 percent (17-of-61) from the field.
The Red Wolves will travel to North Texas on Wednesday, Feb. 27 for a 7:05 p.m. matchup at North Texas and will wrap-up the its regular season on Saturday, March 2 at Arkansas-Little Rock.