The Arkansas State men’s basketball team built an 11-point advantage early in the second half, but Central Arkansas rallied back to hand the Red Wolves a 72-67 setback Tuesday night at the Farris Center.
Caleb Fields paced A-State (5-4) with 16 points on 8-of-11 shooting and dished out seven assists. Omar El-Sheikh posted his second double-double of the season with 13 points and 10 rebounds while Markise Davis added 12 points. Camren Hunter led Central Arkansas (5-4) with 20 points, seven boards and six assists.
A-State built a 35-27 advantage at the halftime break shooting 50 percent from the field in the opening 20 minutes. In that opening, 13 of the 15 field goals for A-State came via layups or dunks. On the defensive end, the Red Wolves limited the hosts to 33 percent in the half, 3-of-17 (.176) beyond the arc.
A-State built its largest lead of the game, 46-35, with 15:16 to play, but Central Arkansas chipped away at the lead to grab a 57-55 advantage with 7:27 to play. An El-Sheikh layup tied the score at 59-59 with 6:29 to play, but Central Arkansas outscored A-State 10-3 the next 6:01 to lead 69-62 with 28 seconds remaining.
After shooting 33 percent in the first half, Central Arkansas shot 56 percent (14-of-25) from the floor in the second half and finished 44 percent (24-of-55) for the game. The Bears were 7-of-27 (.259) on the night from 3-point range, but knocked down 4-of-10 (.400) in the second half. Central Arkansas outscored A-State 17-5 at the free throw line with the Bears knocking down 17-of-19 (.895) compared to 5-of-14 (.357) for the Red Wolves. A-State shot 47.5 percent (29-61) from the field, but hit just 4-of-19 (.211) beyond the arc.
With his seven assists, Fields moved to seventh on the career assists list with 368. He passed Micah Marsh (363) to move to seventh and is 16 assists shy of Odie Williams, Brian Reaves and Jay Hansen for fourth.
A-State continues the road swing Friday at Air Force. Tip-off is set for 8:00 p.m. (CT) on the Mountain West Network.