NEW ORLEANS — A three-point play by Melvin Johnson III helped Arkansas State win a war of attrition and defeat in-stste rival Arkansas-Little Rock.
Johnson’s play in the closing seconds of the fourth overtime helped lift the Red Wolves to a 116-114 win in the quarterfinals of the Sun Belt Conference Tournament.
ASU will face No. 1 seed Georgia State in the semifinals at 2 p.m. today.
Ed Townsel scored a game-high 32 points for ASU. Kirk Van Slyke and Brandon Reed added 24 and 23, respectively. Johnson finished with 19 points.
Fifth-seeded UALR (15-17) was led by Leroy Isler’s 25 points. James White scored 20 and Josh Hagins chipped in with 17 points and 11 rebounds for the Trojans.
UALR held a 41-37 lead at halftime and held a six-point lead late in regulation, but ASU rallied to force overtime tied 77-77.
Arkansas State 59, Texas State 48
NEW ORLEANS — Arkansas State qualified for its first Sun Belt Conference championship game since 1992 by dispatching Texas State on Friday.
The top-seeded Red Wolves (22-10) will take on second-seeded Western Kentucky, which defeated UALR 66-62 Friday.
Aundrea Gamble had a game-high 20 points and 10 rebounds, and Carlisha Wyatt scored 14 points and added 11 rebounds to lead A-State.
The Red Wolves went on an 11-0 rally after trailing 13-10 and went into halftime ahead 24-17. They held the Bobcats to 0-for-8 shooting from the field and forced them into seven turnovers during a 6-minute stretch before the Bobcats make a basket with 8 seconds left.
Texas State (16-15) got within 35-26 with 9:45 left in the game, but got no closer.