Wildcats drop road contest to Arkansas St


Jonesboro, AR - Arkansas State built as much as a 17-point first-half lead Monday night and held off multiple second-half charges by ACU to take an 83-69 win over the Wildcats at First National Bank Arena.

The Wildcats couldn't find any offensive rhythm in the first half and trailed 32-15 with 5:55 left in the half after a layup by Deven Simms. The senior from St. Louis, Mo., came off the bench to score __ points after not playing in the team's season-opening loss last Friday at Evansvile, and his offensive play was the difference in the contest.

The Wildcats also had no answer defensively for the long-range shooting of the Red Wolves, who hit 7 of 14 shots from 3-point range after hitting just 5 of 19 in the loss to Evansville. Simms and Ty Cockfield each hit 2 of 3 shots from long range to spark the Arkansas State effort.

ACU was led in scoring by junior guard Jaylen Franklin, who scored 16 points, pulled down four rebounds and dished out four assists in 37 minutes playing back in his home state. Hared Lewis had 15 points and Tevin Foster 14 for the Wildcats, who also got 11 points off the bench in a strong performance by junior center Hayden Howell.

TURNING POINT ACU trailed 40-25 at halftime, but was able to get back into the game in the first 6:50 of the second half as the Wildcats outscored the Red Wolves 19-9. Franklin had six points in the run, while Jalone Friday and Lewis each had four, Howell three and Trey Lenox two in the spurt that cut Arkansas State's lead to 49-44 with 13:10 left in the game.

But Arkansas State answered with perhaps two of its biggest possessions of the night as C.J. Foster buried a 3-pointer at the 12:37 mark to push the lead back to 52-44. Then after Tevin Foster hit a layup for ACU, Simms came right back down the floor and buried another triple, extending the Arkansas State lead to 55-46 with 12:07 left in the game.

Simms then hit a layup at the 10:18 mark to put Arkansas State back on top by 11 (57-46) and ACU wouldn't get closer than 10 points the rest of the way.

THREE THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW -- Jaylen Franklin ­- who struggled at the free throw line last season, hitting just 43.5 percent of his shots from charity stripe - was 4 for 4 Monday night and is 4 for 5 in the early going of the season.

-- ACU hit just 3 of 17 shots from 3-point range Monday night and is now just 7 of 33 from long range this season (21.2 percent).

-- ACU was out-rebounded by Arkansas State, 33-21, and no Wildcat had more rebounds than the five Lewis grabbed. QUOTABLE ACU head coach Joe Golding … on his team's slow start "The start of the game was where we lost it, especially the first 10-12 minutes. We got some good looks and took some good shots, but they didn't go down. We looked a little bit timid and they were very aggressive. When that happens, it's usually the team that's more aggressive that comes out on top., and that's what happened tonight."

… on the back-to-back 3-pointers by Arkansas State after cutting lead to 49-44 "We couldn't get a stop when we needed it all night, and those were the two biggest examples. We did a good job of coming out of the locker room and being more aggressive and cutting into the lead, but those two shots were tough to overcome."

UP NEXT The Wildcats will be back home for the next two games starting with Thursday's 7 p.m. game against Howard Payne. Then the Wildcats will host Lipscomb - a 20-win team last season and picked to finish second in the Atlantic Sun Conference this season ­- next Monday (Nov. 20) at 7 p.m. Both games will be broadcast on 98.1 FM.

close video ad
Unmutetoggle ad audio on off