Led by four players scoring in double figures, the Arkansas State men’s basketball team closed out its regular-season with a 64-61 road victory over ULM Friday night at Fant-Ewing Coliseum.
Arkansas State (12-19, 4-14) will enter the upcoming Sun Belt Conference Tournament as the No. 13 seed and face No. 12 Coastal Carolina in a first-round matchup Tuesday, Feb. 28, at 5:00 p.m. at the Pensacola Bay Center.
Junior guard Caleb Fields narrowly missed a triple-double with a team-high 15 points, a season-best eight rebounds and eight assists. In the process, he passed Trey Finn (2009-13) to become A-State’s 19th all-time career scoring leader with 1,176 points to his credit.
Terrance Ford Jr. and Omar El-Sheikh both finished with 13 points, and Izaiyah Nelson added 10 for an A-State squad that posted a .460 field goal percentage while holding ULM (11-20, 7-11) to a .362 mark. The Red Wolves also held a 37-32 rebounding advantage and outscored the Warhawks 24-12 in the paint.
With the victory, A-State split its two regular-season meetings with ULM after previously dropping an 84-72 decision in Jonesboro back in December. Trailing 29-26 at halftime and by as much as seven points early in the second half, the Red Wolves were able to rally before holding off the Warhawks late to post their second win over their last three games.
Down 35-28 at the 17:23 mark, Arkansas State used an 18-3 run over a 10-minute stretch to open up an eight-point advantage, 46-38, with 8:06 remaining. ULM was able to come back and tie the game, 53-53, with just over three minutes left on the clock, but guard Avery Felts knocked down a big three at that point to start a 7-0 A-State run that put the visitors ahead for good.
The Red Wolves hit 4-of-5 free throws in the final minutes and ULM missed a potential game-tying three-point attempt as time expired, sealing the outcome. The Warhawks were led by two players scoring in double figures, including Tyreke Locure with a game-high 24 points.
The Red Wolves’ first-round game Tuesday versus Coastal Carolina will appear on ESPN+