Mark Taylor, Assistant Director for Media Relations
JONESBORO – The Arkansas State men’s basketball team won a thrilling 82-80 contest over Troy Saturday night at the Convocation Center.
With the victory, A-State improves to 13-6 on the season and 4-2 in the league, while Troy falls to 10-10 on the year and 2-4 in the Sun Belt.
Devin Carter led the Red Wolves 23 points on 8-of-13 shooting, including six, 3-pointers. Tama Bruce finished the night with 19 points and seven rebounds, while Deven Simms added 17 points. Rashad Lindsey also finished in double-figures with 10 points.
Troy was led by Jordon Varnado with 18 points, while Juan Davis, Jr. provided 16 points.
How It Happened (First Half):
Troy held an eight point lead midway through the first thanks to a hot hand from beyond the arc. The Trojans drained six, 3-pointers in the opening half and collected 17 boards and dished out nine assists.
A-State responded with a 7-0 run and got within 25-24 on after a 3-pointer by Devin Carter and later took a one point lead on a jumper by Carter with 2:51 to go in the half. Troy responded with a trey of it’s own and built its lead to 39-34 thanks to a 5-0 run to close the half.
Troy shot 55 percent from the field in the opening half and held the edge on the glass. The Red Wolves shot 46 percent from the field and drained five 3-pointers. A-State also got good production from its bench which scored 11 points behind seven points by Deven Simms. Carter led the way for A-State in the half with 11 points.
How It Happened (Second Half):
Troy pushed the lead to its largest at 10 points early in the half before the Red Wolves began to claw their back into the game. Devin Carter cut the deficit down to one after making the front end of a pair of free throws, but the Trojans quickly answered with a basket on the other end.
Carter tied the game at 57-57 on one of his six, 3-pointers of the night, but Troy answered again with a trey of its own on the following offensive possession. Rashad Lindsey got the Red Wolves within a point with 8:10 to go, but Troy again answered on the following trip.
Deven Simms tied the game at 67-67 with 5:43 and Tama Bruce followed with a tipin to give A-State its first lead since the latter part of the first half. Troy, however, responded again and went up 71-69 after a pair of free throws by Devon Walker.
A-State went up 75-73 after Donte Thomas followed a Simms miss with a tipin, but Troy again answered and took a 79-78 lead on a 3-pointer by Wesley Person with 1:29 to go.
The Red Wolves took the lead back on a layup from Simms and then Simms got a steal and made two free throws to push the lead to 81-78 with 51 seconds to go. Troy got within a point with 12 seconds left, but Lindsey converted the front end of a 1-and-1 to put the Red Wolves up 82-80 and the Trojans shot at the buzzer just missed the mark to give A-State the win.
Devin Carter posted 20-plus points for the 13th time in 26 games against Sun Belt foes. He has nine 20-plus point performances this season and 24 in 50 total games with the Red Wolves.
Tamas Bruce equaled his career high with 19 points on the night. He’s scored 19 points in back-to-back games at the Convocation Center with his double-double of 19 points and 15 rebounds against ULM on Jan. 2 in the most recent home game.
With six made 3-pointers tonight, Devin Carter moved into seventh-place in program history with 150 made 3-pointers in his 50 games played.
Donte Thomas dished out nine assists, his sixth game this season with nine or more. Thomas now has 259 career assists at A-State, 16 shy of reaching the top-10 all-time leaders in program history.
The announced attendance of 4,678 was the largest crow since Jan. 25, 2014 when the Red Wolves hosted Little Rock in front of 5,631. It is also the largest non-Little Rock crowd since Feb. 23, 2013 against Troy (5,268).
Quoting Coach MacCasland:
“I’m proud of our guys for getting a win and the one stat that stands out to me is that we only gave up one offensive rebound in the second half after giving up six in the first half. I was proud of our team for the way they competed on the glass and found way to win and that was fun game to be part of.”
“We work on situations all the time in practice where we create competitive situations and that translates into guys making big plays like Jahmiah Simmons did where he jumped and got a deflection on a shot at the end of the game. That is where that pays off and its players like Jahmiah Simmons that win you games.”
Arkansas State faces South Alabama Monday night at 7 p.m. on ESPN3. The game is a “Red Out” and all fans are encouraged to wear RED to the game. The first 500 students in attendance will receive a FREE t-shirt.