JONESBORO, Ark. — The Arkansas State men’s basketball team suffered its first home loss of the season Saturday afternoon, dropping a 90-85 overtime decision to Troy in Sun Belt Conference action at First National Bank Arena.
The Red Wolves now stand 6-1 at home this year, hold an 8-9 overall record and are .500 in league play with a 2-2 mark. Troy ran its overall record to 9-7 and holds an identical 2-2 SBC record to A-State.
“We didn’t play very well on both ends of the floor tonight, but you credit Troy because they came in and played hard,” said A-State head coach Mike Balado. “Even without Jordon Varnardo and Alex Hicks down the stretch, Troy did an excellent job of continuing to play. We didn’t deserve to win tonight. Our interior defense was not very good early and we let Varnardo get a bunch of points at the beginning.”
“We didn’t rebound the way we should have and even though we out-rebounded them by six, I thought we should’ve gotten way more. Up five, we gave up an offensive rebound and they hit a 3-pointer and that was the game. When a team shoots 49 percent against you on your home floor in this league, you’re not going to win. Our defense took a step back tonight, so we’ll get back to work Monday and go on the road and get better.”
Senior guard Ty Cockfield scored 31 points to lead four Arkansas State players scoring in double figures, while senior forward Tristin Walley posted his first career double-double with 14 points and a game-high 10 rebounds. Sophomore guard Marquis Eaton and senior guard Grantham Gillard added 16 and 11 points, respectively.
The Trojans hit 49 percent of their shots, including 3-of-7 in overtime, while the Red Wolves finished with a .424 mark from the field. A-State was able to connect on just 1-of-7 shots in the overtime period that saw it outscored 12-7.
While A-State finished with six more rebounds, 39-33, the two squads both pulled down 23 offensive rebounds and Troy finished with 16 second chance points for one more than the Red Wolves.
In a game that featured 13 ties and 21 lead changes, A-State held a 78-73 advantage with just 1:23 remaining in regulation after Cockfield connected on a shot in the paint. However, Javan Johnson was able to corral an offensive rebound on Troy’s next possession and hit a three to pull the visitors within 78-76.
The Red Wolves were called for an offensive foul the next time down the court, giving the Trojans the ball back with 29 seconds to go. With time ticking down, Darian Adams was able to find B.J. Miller slashing to the basket for a layup that tied the game with just two seconds remaining.
Cockfield scored the first overtime basket to put A-State back on top, and the Red Wolves still led 85-84 at the 2:03 mark after Eaton hit a pair of free throws. However, those were the last points A-State would put on the board as it was outscored 6-0 down the stretch.
Troy was able to build an 18-9 lead, its largest of the game, just over five minutes into the contest. The Red Wolves were able to rally, take a 38-35 advantage into the break and eventually build its lead to as much as six points with 10:28 left in the second half.
Both squads had two players foul out, including Salif Boudie and Malik Brevard for the Red Wolves. Disqualified on fouls for the Trojans were Jordon Varnado and Alex Hicks. Troy was led by three players scoring in double figures, including Varnado with 27.