ASU occupies first place in SBC West after win over UALR
Photo Courtesy: ASU Athletics
JONESBORO, Ark. (ASU) - Sophomore Rakeem Dickerson and senior Trey Finn both scored a game-high tying 18 points to lead the Arkansas State University men's basketball team to a 74-62 triumph over South Alabama this Thursday (Jan. 31) night in a Sun Belt Conference (SBC) tilt at the ASU Convocation Center in Jonesboro, Ark.
The two ASU backcourt players were joined in the double-figure scoring column by two others guards in junior Ed Townsel with 11 points and senior Marcus Hooten, who tossed in 10 for the Red Wolves. ASU, which outscored the Jaguars 39-33 in the second half, improves to 13-8 overall and 7-5 in the SBC's West Division with its second win in a row.
"This was a good win for our team, especially against a South Alabama team which is playing as well as anybody," said ASU head coach John Brady. "It was a hard-played game by both teams and we were able to grind it out. We did a really good job on defense and rebounded the ball quite well."
The contest was a physical one as a combined 51 personal fouls were assessed to both teams with the Red Wolves receiving 25 and South Alabama 26, including three technicals. For ASU, Rakeem Dickersonscored 14 of his career-high 18 points at the free throw line while Trey Finn went 8-10 at the charity stripe.
Arkansas State, which led 35-29 at intermission, led throughout the second half despite South Alabama getting within a deucefrom tying the contest on two occasions. ASU's lead went down to two points at 55-53 with 4:30 left in the game before the Red Wolves scored eight straight to bump their lead to 63-53 at the 2:50 mark on a Trey Finn tip-in off a missed layup. South Alabama would come back to account for the next four points scored and get to within 63-57 with 1:36 remaining. ASU countered with a 6-1 scoring spurt capped off by Rakeem Dickerson's two free throws as the Red Wolves increased their margin to 11 points at 69-58 as 42 seconds was on the clock and would hold onto the lead for the remainder.
ASU jumped out to a 13-4 lead in the first five minutes of the game and then built its margin up to double digits three minutes later. The Red Wolves would grab a 16-point advantage at 29-13 on a pair of Trey Finn free throws at the seven-minute mark. The Jaguars would bounce back to not only cut their deficit down to single digits, but closed to within five points (34-29) with 50 seconds left in the stanza. Kelvin Downs hit the back end of a two-shot free throw opportunity with three-tenths of a second remaining as the Red Wolves concluded the half with a 35-29 lead. Ed Townsel had 10 points at the break while Finn and Downs each tallied seven points.
A-State, which ran its home mark to 10-2, finished the night shooting 36.4% (20-55) from the floor. The Red Wolves went to the free throw line a season-high 43 times, converting on 30 for a 69.8% success rate. South Alabama, which had its three-game winning streak snapped, was 19-of-50 in shooting (38%) and made 22-of-31 at the line (71%). Arkansas State would claim a 43-34 rebounding advantage as Trey Finn's eight boards paved the way for the Red Wolves. Senior forward Brandon Peterson and junior forward Kendrick Washington, who returned from a three-game absence due to an injury, pulled down six rebounds apiece.
South Alabama, which lost at home to ASU earlier this season (Dec. 29) by a 63-54 count, falls to 11-9 overall and 8-4 in conference play. Augustine Rubit's 18 points and nine rebounds led the Jaguars while Javier Carter contributed 11 points.
The Red Wolves will wrap up their current home stand this Saturday (Feb. 2) versus the North Texas Green Mean at the ASU Convocation Center in Jonesboro, Ark. Tickets for the Sun Belt Conference tilt, which is slated to commence at 7:05 p.m. (CT), are on sale and can be purchased by calling the ASU Ticket Office at (870) 972-2781 or 1-888-ASU-FANS.