HOT SPRINGS, Ark. (3/6/10) – Arkansas State (17-13) outscored UALR 15-8 (8-22) in overtime to take an 89-82 decision in the opening round of the Sun Belt Conference Tournament Saturday.
ASU had four players score in double-digits led by junior guard Rashad Allison with 20. Allison was a perfect from the charity stripe going 13-13.
“I have only been at ASU two years and we have had some serious games with Little Rock. It was a great game to play in for the players I am sure. I give Steve (Shields) and his team a lot of credit for how hard they played. I thought they won the game a couple of times but I have to brag on our players for the resiliency and toughness they showed,” said ASU head coach John Brady. “They took the lead, but we fought back to tie it. It was an exciting game. We were not able to make some plays to put the game away but we had some really nice plays in overtime to win the game. We handled the ball a little better. We just need to get some rest tonight and be ready to play a lot better tomorrow against Western Kentucky. I am excited about the win tonight and look forward to play again tomorrow.”
The two teams shot a combined 94 free throws, a conference record. ASU made 43-58 attempts from the free-throw line.
Along with Allison, Brandon Reed added 18 points with a career-high nine rebounds, Brandon Peterson had 16 points with 11 rebounds, his second double-double of his career and Trey Finn had 12 points.
Reed and Jeremy Thomas went 1-2 in back-to-back trips to the line which began ASU’s final 11-2 run. Finn fed Allison after stealing the ball from UALR’s Kelson Stewart. Allison hit a layup and drew a foul from Soloman Bozeman. Allison hit the free-throw to go up by one, 81-80. Bozeman led UALR with 17 points.
Allison then went 4-4 from the free-throw line while Reed went 2-2 in the final minute and seven seconds. A dunk by Peterson with just 18-seconds remaining put an exclamation point on the win for the Red Wolves.
ASU outrebounded UALR 53-42, connecting on 33.9% of its shots from the floor (21-62).
The Red Wolves led by 12 when Reed converted a layup with 13:16 remaining in the second-half.
A-State was down by four with 3:10 left in the game after a Wayne Burton Layup. Martavius Adams hit a free throw and then laid the ball in to move ASU within one, 70-71, with 2:07 left in regulation. Peterson then hit a pair of free throws to tie up the game, following a UALR free throw at 1:29.
A layup by Reed with 41-seconds left in the game tied the game at 74, forcing the overtime.
The win advances the Red Wolves to play No. 4-seeded Western Kentucky on Sunday at 6:30 p.m. on the Summit Center floor.