JONESBORO, Ark. (1/30/20) – In a back-and-forth game that featured eight ties and 15 lead changes, Arkansas State dropped a tough 71-64 decision to Appalachian State Thursday night at First National Bank Arena.
Justin Forrest led the Mountaineers (12-10, 6-5 Sun Belt) with a game-high 26 points on 7-of-15 shooting (4-of-7 from three) and 8-of-10 at the free-throw line. A-State (15-8, 7-5) shot 40 percent from the floor (20-of-50) while going 16-of-19 at the charity stripe (84 percent). App State won the battle of the boards 33-to-27, led by Hunter Seacat’s 10 rebounds to go along with 13 points.
“Hats off to (Appalachian State),” head coach Mike Balado said. “(Justin) Forrest is an excellent player. They hit some tough shots – deep threes, late-clock and they went in. They deserved to win this game. We didn’t play as well as we have in the past and they played better than we did today.”
Three players scored in double figures for the Red Wolves, led Caleb Fields’ 14 points, nine of which came from deep and five at the free-throw line. Fields also led with a game-high seven assists. Malik Brevard and Jerry Johnson added 10 points apiece while Brevard hauled in seven boards to lead A-State.
After Melo Eggleston knocked down the game’s opening score with a deep jumper near the free-throw line, App State scored eight unanswered to force an A-State timeout. Johnson cut it to a one-score game with a trey at the 16:14 mark to make it 8-5, with the Mountaineers getting a point back on a free throw moments later after the media timeout.
Fields then scored five straight on two free throws and a three to push A-State ahead 10-9. A dunk by Kendall Lewis helped App State reclaim the lead with 13:41 to go in the half. Canberk Kus then handed the Red Wolves a 13-11 lead on a three-point play with 10:12 to go.
The Mountaineers then used an 11-2 run to take a seven-point lead at 22-15 with under eight minutes to go before A-State clawed back to reclaim a 27-26 lead with 3:37 remaining. A Lewis three-point play made it a two-point App State lead, with Brevard tying things at 29-all with under three minutes left with a putback off the offensive glass. D’Showen Williams drilled a three to give the Mountaineers a three-point lead of 32-29 at the break.
The back-and-forth continued for most of the second half with six lead changes through the first 11 minutes and neither team leading by more than five during that stretch. A 9-2 run with under 10 minutes to go was key for the Red Wolves, as Fields knocked down a deep trey to make 57-53 with 8:23 to go.
App State then scored 13 unanswered to stretch its lead out to nine with five minutes to go in the contest, leading 66-57, before Fields halted the run by hitting the front end of a one-and-one. During that stretch, A-State went without a field goal for over six minutes before Kus tipped-in a putback with 2:21 to go to make it a five-point contest.
Forrest would respond with a three at the 1:34 mark to once again make it an eight-point deficit before Johnson drilled a three of his own with 1:10 to go. A pair of free throws by App State rounded out scoring for the night.
The Red Wolves are back in action at 4 p.m. CT Saturday afternoon at First National Bank Arena, hosting Coastal Carolina. The game will be broadcast live on ESPN+ while the radio broadcast can be heard on 107.9 KFIN.
Original article source: https://astateredwolves.com/news/2020/1/30/mens-basketball-a-state-falls-71-64-to-appalachian-state.aspx | Article may or may not reflect the views of KLEK 102.5 FM or The Voice of Arkansas Minority Advocacy Council