ASU occupies first place in SBC West after win over UALR
Photo Courtesy: ASU Athletics
BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (ASU) - A season-high 23 points from senior guard Trey Finn helped the Arkansas State University men's basketball pull out a 67-49 victory over Western Kentucky this Saturday (Feb. 9) night in a Sun Belt Conference (SBC) contest at WKU's E.A. Diddle Arena in Bowling Green, Ky.
The ASU win not only moved the Red Wolves back into a tie for first place in the SBC West Division standings, but also ended an 11-game losing streak on WKU's home floor as A-State is now 2-18 all-time at WKU. ASU improved to 15-9 overall and 9-6 in the SBC West Division with the triumph and as a result, moved a half game back of first place in the SBC West Division with rival UALR as the Trojans were idle tonight.
Finn, who eclipsed his previous best 18-point effort against South Alabama a week ago (1/31), went 6-11 from three-point territory and 5-6 at the free throw line. He finished shooting 6-14 from the floor and totaled seven rebounds in 38 minutes of action. Junior guard Ed Townsel posted 11 points while senior forward Brandon Peterson and junior forward Kendrick Washington contributed nine points apiece. Peterson grabbed a game-high 10 rebounds and Washington hauled down eight boards as A-State held a 40-30 advantage.
"This is as close to a complete game as we've played all season," said ASU head coach John Brady. "It was a great road win for us and I'm so proud of my team. We shot the ball well, made timely baskets, and our defense was really good.
"If our team plays like this (tonight's game), we can win them all," added Brady.
The Red Wolves led from wire to wire and in the second half, taking a three-point lead to start at 30-27 and building it up to 13 points at 42-29 with 14:12 remaining. Western Kentucky would get no closer than eight points twice, including 55-47 with 6:40 left on the clock. ASU then tallied eight consecutive points in a two-minute plus stretch to put the game away.
Arkansas State started out strong as the Red Wolves scored 10 of the game's first 12 points in the four minutes. ASU would go on to claim its largest lead of 13 points in the first half on two occasions - 22-9 at the nine-minute mark and 25-12 with 5:28 remaining on an Ed Townsel three-pointer. Western Kentucky managed to trim an 11-point deficit within less than one minute down to five at 30-25 with 1:21 to go as neither team scored the rest of the half. Ed Townsel (11 pts.) and Trey Finn (10 pts.) paced the Red Wolves' scoring leaders in the opening stanza. Brandon Peterson totaled eight rebounds in the opening 20 minutes for ASU, which connected on 39.3% (11-28) in the first frame while WKU was held to 30.8% (8-26) shooting from the floor.
Western Kentucky, which is 13-12 and 7-7 in the SBC East Division, had only one player in the double-figure scoring column as T.J. Price's 21 points paced the Hilltoppers.
ASU wrapped up the win with a 42.3% (22-52) field goal percentage compared to WKU's 32% (16-50). The Red Wolves also chalked up 20 points on turnovers to the Hilltoppers' three points.
Arkansas State is back in action Thursday, Feb. 14, as the Red Wolves host rival UALR Trojans at the ASU Convocation Center in Jonesboro, Ark. Opening tipoff for the Sun Belt Conference contest is set for 7:05 p.m. (CT) in what represents the first of two 2012-13 regular-season meetings between the two instate schools. Tickets for Valentine Day's matchup are on sale and can be purchased by calling the ASU Ticket Office at (870) 972-2781 or 1-888-ASU-FANS.