JONESBORO, Ark. (12/28/19) – This year’s Arkansas State men’s basketball team became the quickest in program history to reach 10 wins in a season after claiming an 84-73 non-conference victory Saturday over Freed-Hardeman at First National Bank Arena.
The Red Wolves won their third straight contest and improved their overall record to 10-3, marking just the sixth time in school history they won 10 of their first 13 games. Prior to this season, the last time A-State accomplished the feat was 2003-04 when it held an 11-2 record.
Arkansas State reached 10 victories before Jan. 1 for just the second time ever, joining the 2016-17 season when it hit double-figures in the win column on Dec. 31.
“We’re obviously not satisfied, but we’re very pleased (with our record),” said A-State head coach Mike Balado. “I think the guys have done things throughout the year to show their intensity about playing and winning games and their importance. We’ve got such great teammates, and when you have that type of comradery within the guys and they just care about winning, you have a chance to be successful.”
A-State was led by four players scoring in double figures, including freshman guard Caleb Fields with a team-high 15 points. Melo Eggleston and Canberk Kus each scored 12, while J.J. Matthews added 10. Malik Brevard narrowly missed his third double-double of the year with nine points and a team-best 10 rebounds.
Much of the first half was a back-and-forth battle that featured 14 lead changes and three ties, but the Red Wolves scored the last 11 points of the first half to turn a 31-32 deficit into a 42-32 lead at the break.
The Red Wolves began the second half with an 18-3 run, extending their lead to a game-high 25-point margin at 60-35 with just under 14 minutes left on the clock. Including the end of the first half and the start of the second, A-State outscored FHU 29-3 over an 11 minute span. The Lions couldn’t get any closer than the 11-point difference represented in the final score.
“I thought our energy in the first half wasn’t where it needed to be, but we came out with the right mentality to start the second half,” Balado said. “I was able to play everyone, so just getting guys minutes and getting them playing a little bit was important for rest – we’ve got three games in five days coming up. Freed-Hardeman is a very good team. They shoot the ball extremely well, and we knew they would, so just happy to get our 10th win.”
A-State used 11 different players in the contest with each playing eight-plus minutes. All eleven players scored at least two points and the Red Wolves’ bench combined to finish with 37 points. FHU was led by three players posting double digits, including Konstantin Dotsenko with 18 points and 12 rebounds – both game highs.
Arkansas State resumes Sun Belt Conference play Thursday, Jan. 2, with a 7:00 p.m. home game against UT Arlington.
Original article source: https://astateredwolves.com/news/2019/12/28/mens-basketball-red-wolves-earn-10th-win-of-season.aspx | Article may or may not reflect the views of KLEK 102.5 FM or The Voice of Arkansas Minority Advocacy Council