JONESBORO — Arkansas State finished the night shooting 51 percent from the floor and 47.1 percent from three-point range in defeating Arkansas-Little Rock 86-62 Thursday night at the Convocation Center. The Trojans shot just 37.7 percent in the contest and were forced into 18 turnovers.
The win moves the Red Wolves (16-9, 10-6 Sun Belt) a half-game ahead of UALR (15-11, 9-6) for first place in the Sun Belt Conference West Division.
Freshmen Josh Hagins and John Gillon led UALR with 11 points apiece. Gillon finished the night 3-of-4 from three-point range. Freshman James White scored nine points and grabbed four boards. Junior Will Neighbour pulled down a team-high six rebounds.
Brandon Peterson led four Arkansas State players in double figures with 20 points and 13 rebounds. Ed Townsel chipped in 15 points for the Red Wolves. Arkansas State finished the night with a 21-5 advantage in points off turnovers. The Red Wolves knocked down 26-of-32 free throws on the night, compared to 14-of-20 for the Trojans.
Down 45-29 at the half, UALR came out of the locker room and connected on three treys over the first five-plus minutes of the second half to pull within 52-40, at the 14:13 mark. Arkansas State answered with an 8-0 run to push its lead back to 20, and the Trojans would not get closer for the remainder of the night. A jumper by Townsel with 2:11 remaining gave ASU its largest lead of the game at 83-56.
UALR closed the opening period on a 14-6 run to make it a 45-29 game heading into the locker room.
Arkansas State scored the first eight points of the game and was able to build a double-digit lead at the 15:12 mark when Cameron Golden knocked down one of four ASU three pointers in the opening period. Leading 27-15 with 7:56 left in the half, Arkansas State scored 12-unanswered points to take its largest lead of the half, 39-15, with 4:55 on the clock.
A bucket by sophomore Michael Javes stopped the bleeding for UALR at the 4:41 mark, and five-straight points by Hagins and a three pointer from Gillon capped a 10-0 run for the Trojans.