Red Wolves’ of­fense runs into prob­lems in foul fest

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - WEATHER - TROY SCHULTE

AR­KAN­SAS STATE 72, GE­OR­GIA SOUTH­ERN 60

JONES­BORO — Ar­kan­sas State Univer­sity knew it was play­ing one of the Sun Belt’s best of­fen­sive teams Satur­day night.

But the Red Wolves’ big­gest trou­ble came in try­ing to han­dle the Ea­gles’ or­di­nary de­fense.

Ike Smith had 21 points, Tookie Brown scored 17 and Ge­or­gia South­ern handed ASU its first home loss, 72-60 on Satur­day night at the Con­vo­ca­tion Cen­ter.

The of­fense was ex­pected from the Ea­gles (18-11, 11-5), who shot 47.8 per­cent and en­tered av­er­ag­ing 77.7 points in Sun Belt games, and Smith and Brown were the league’s top two scor­ers. But the Red Wolves strug­gled of­fen­sively in a tightly of­fi­ci­ated game against an Ea­gles de­fense that al­lowed 75.7 points in Sun Belt games.

Devin Carter had 15 points, but ASU was held to 32.8 per­cent shoot­ing and made only 4 of 23 three-point­ers. The Red Wolves (19-9, 10-5) never did find an of­fen­sive flow while be­ing called for 25 fouls, and Ge­or­gia South­ern made 21 of 34 free throws. ASU made 16 of 28 free throws.

A to­tal of 51 fouls were called in the game. Ta­mas Bruce and Deven Simms fouled out for ASU, and Shawn O’Con­nell did so for Ge­or­gia South­ern.

An off-shoot­ing night by Carter, ASU’s lead­ing scorer, didn’t help things. He fin­ished 5 of 18 from the floor and 2 of 12 from three- point range. Simms had 12 points.

The game was tied 46-46 af­ter a C.J. Foster bas­ket with 14:18 left, but the Red Wolves failed to score on five con­sec­u­tive pos­ses­sions, the last three of which ended in turnovers. Mean­while, O’Con­nell, Smith and Mike Hughes each hit three-point­ers for Ge­or­gia South­ern to go up 54-46. Later, Hughes hit an­other three and B.J. Glad­den made a free throw to make it 59-48 with 8:32 left.

ASU kept the Sun Belt’s two best scor­ers at bay as long as it could in the first half.

Brown didn’t score un­til a three-pointer more than eight min­utes into the game, and Smith didn’t make a shot from the floor un­til a layup with 8:21 left in the first half, which gave his team a 21-16 lead.

But Smith closed the first half with 12 points, scor­ing nine of them in the fi­nal 8:21. Most of those came from the free-throw line.

ASU’s foul trou­ble was such a con­cern that lit­tle-used guard An­drew Ri­ley played the last few de­fen­sive pos­ses­sions of the first half. Simms had three fouls at half­time, while Donte Thomas, Carter, Jah­miah Sim­mons and Bruce each had two.

SUN BELT WOMEN GE­OR­GIA SOUTH­ERN 84, AR­KAN­SAS STATE 76

JONES­BORO — A sloppy third quar­ter pre­vented Ar­kan­sas State from win­ning con­sec­u­tive Sun Belt games for the first time this year.

ASU (6-22, 4-12) com­mit­ted eight turnovers that led to 13 Ge­or­gia South­ern points in the third quar­ter as it lost mo­men­tum two days af­ter a home vic­tory over Ge­or­gia State.

Se­nior Brit­tany Fowler scored a ca­reer-high 27 points while mak­ing 7 of 10 three-point­ers in her fi­nal game at the Con­vo­ca­tion Cen­ter, but it wasn’t enough to make up for the Red Wolves’ 18 to­tal turnovers, 12 of which came af­ter half­time. Ge­or­gia South­ern (13-15, 9-8) scored 25 points off turnovers in all.

ASU led 44-40 early in the third quar­ter, be­fore Ge­or­gia South­ern went on a 13-0 run, capped by a three-pointer by Pa­trice But­ler, and it en­tered the fourth quar­ter lead­ing 58-48.

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