Arkansas State men complete season sweep with Saturday victory

Press Release from Arkansas State Athletics

JONESBORO, Ark. (2/23/19) – Senior guard Ty Cockfield II recorded a game-high 25 points to lead three Arkansas State players scoring in double figures as the Red Wolves collected a 72-65 Sun Belt Conference victory over Little Rock and completed a regular-season sweep of their in-state rivals.

Also knocking off Little Rock Feb. 2 on the road, A-State won both of its regular-season outings against the Trojans for the second time over the last three years. The Red Wolves won their second straight game to bring their overall record to 12-15 and conference mark to 6-8. They also now hold a 9-3 record on their home court.

Little Rock had won three of its last four games entering the contest, but now holds a 10-17 record on the year and is 5-9 versus Sun Belt opponents.

Senior forward Tristin Walley and senior guard Grantham Gillard both finished with a double-double to help pace Arkansas State’s attack. Walley ended the night with 13 points and 10 rebounds, while Gillard scored 18 and pulled down a career-best 12 boards.

While Little Rock actually posted a higher field goal percentage, .418 to .408, the Red Wolves hauled in nine more rebounds (39-30) and made 27-of-37 free throws in comparison to the Trojans’ 14-of-19 performance at the charity stripe.

Arkansas State took a 34-31 advantage into the break after a tightly contested first half that included seven lead changes and four ties. The Red Wolves didn’t trail in the second half, building their lead to as much as 13 points, 64-51, with 3:56 left to play. The Trojans were able to pull within five points, 70-65, in the final minute, but couldn’t get any closer.

“Hats off too Little Rock – they played extremely hard and obviously (Rayjon) Tucker is one of the best players in the league,” said A-State head coach Mike Balado. “For the most part, I thought we were in control for the majority of the game. I was really proud of our team for the way we sustained a lead and answered back on runs.

“I thought defensively we did a pretty good job on Tucker. I know he scored 24 points, but he took 17 shots to get it. Grantham was excellent tonight as well. He got us going at the beginning of the game, (recorded a) double-double, and Ty got his points. This is a great win – anytime you can beat a good team, whether it’s at home or on the road, is a big feat in this conference.”

Neither team went on more than a seven-point scoring run during the contest, and Little Rock’s largest lead was five points in the first half. The Trojans were led by two players scoring in double figures, including Tucker with 24 and Maric Nikola with 16.

The contest concluded a three-game home stand for A-State, which next plays at Georgia State on Thursday, Feb. 28, at 6:00 p.m.Copyright 2019 KAIT. All rights reserved.