A-State battles No. 11 Wichita State to the wire

A-State Sports
Mark Taylor, Assistant Director for Media Relations

WICHITA, Kan. – Deven Simms had a game-high 30 points and the Arkansas State men’s basketball team battled No. 11 Wichita State wire-to-wire before falling 89-80 at the Koch Center Tuesday.

A-State (4-8) held a 50-44 lead at the half behind 10 first half 3-pointers, but a 15-2 run midway through the second half saw the Shockers (9-2) pull away. The Red Wolves pulled within five, 83-78, with 3:15 to play, but Wichita State set the final score at 89-80.

Simms finished with 30 points and 10 rebounds for his second consecutive double-double and third this season. Ty Cockfield also had double figures finishing with 16 points while Grantham Gillard chipped in with nine points. Landry Shamet led the Shockers with 18 points, one of three players in double figures for Wichita State.

The Red Wolves shot 62 percent (18-29) in the first half before finishing the game at 49 percent (28-57). After those 10 first half 3-pointers, Wichita State limited the Red Wolves to 1-of-11 (9 percent) in the second half and 41 percent (11-27) for the game. The Shockers shot 53 percent (34-64) from the field and 11-for-23 (48 percent) from 3-point range.

Wichita State, which entered the game ranked tops nationally in rebound margin, finished with a 33-30 edge on the glass. The Shockers outscored A-State 42-20 in the paint and 20-11 in points off turnovers despite just 13 A-State turnovers.

Wichita State missed its first two shot attempts, but six-straight makes saw the Shockers build an 11-point advantage, 17-6, with 15:42 to play. A-State had five turnovers in the first four minutes, but went the final 16 minutes of the half with two miscues.

The Red Wolves refused to go away knocking down 62 percent (18-29) from the field, including 10-of-16 (63 percent) from 3-point range. A-State missed back-to-back shots only twice in the first 20 minutes while putting together a streak of four-straight makes on two different occasions.

Simms and Cockfield combined for 28 points on 10-of-15 (67 percent) shooting, including 4-of-6 (67 percent) from 3-point range in the half. The Red Wolves held a 15-13 edge on the glass, but the Shockers had seven offensive rebounds for seven second-chance points.

A-State and Wichita State traded buckets to open the second half. After the Red Wolves grabbed a 63-62 lead, the Shockers pulled away with a 15-2 run to lead 77-65 with 7:21 to play. A-State refused to go away quietly, pulling within 83-78 with 3:15 on the clock.

Simms scored 15 of his 30 points in the second half and hit 7-of-7 at the charity stripe, including a stretch of four-straight pressure filled free throws. Simms drove to the rim and was fouled and a technical foul on the Wichita State bench resulted in four-straight free throw attempts for Simms. He knocked down all four of the free throws to make it 83-78.

The Red Wolves shot 36 percent (10-28) in the second half while the Shockers knocked down 57 percent (18-32) overall and 6-of-12 (50 percent) beyond the arc. Free throws kept the Red Wolves in the game as A-State hit 9-of-11 (82 percent).

A-State returns to First National Bank Arena to close non-conference play with a 7:00 p.m. matchup against Culver-Stockton on Friday. The Red Wolves open Sun Belt Conference play on Friday, December 29 at 7:30 p.m. against ULM inside First National Bank Arena.

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