SUN BELT MEN
ARKANSAS STATE 76, GEORGIA SOUTHERN 75
The Arkansas State University men's basketball team went the entire month of February without winning a single game.
On the third day of March, a victory finally came.
Five Red Wolves scored in doubles figures, including double-doubles from junior forward J.J. Matthews and senior guard Canberk Kus, and ASU finished the final 94 seconds of regulation on a 10-2 run to claim a victory over Georgia Southern in the regular-season finale on Tuesday night at Hanner Fieldhouse in Statesboro, Ga.
ASU (16-15, 8-12 Sun Belt Conference) won its first game since Jan. 25 to snap an eight-game losing streak -- the longest of Coach Mike Balado's three-year tenure. The Red Wolves will be the No. 9 seed in the Sun Belt Tournament and will face eighth-seeded Louisiana-Lafayette (13-18, 8-12) in Saturday's opening round at 11 a.m. in Lafayette, La.
Georgia Southern (18-13, 12-8) had a 32-31 lead at the half, then increased it to a 10-point advantage over ASU with under eight minutes left.
ASU used an 8-0 run to close the gap to 66-64 with 4:14 remaining, but Georgia Southern went back up by seven at 73-66 with just under two minutes to play after a dunk by guard Ike Smith, who finished with 14 points.
Matthews completed a three-point play for ASU, junior guard Marquis Eaton drilled a three-pointer from the right wing in transition to cut the deficit to one, then Eaton scored the go-ahead layup with under 10 seconds to play.
Kus committed a foul that resulted in a pair of Georgia Southern free throws and a 75-74 lead, but the Eagles returned the favor and fouled junior guard Christian Willis on the ensuing inbound play with less than two seconds remaining. He knocked down both foul shots to lift the Red Wolves to a victory.
Eaton finished with a team-high 17 points, Kus posted 13 points and 10 rebounds, and Matthews had 11 points and 11 rebounds.
Forward Isaiah Crawley led Georgia Southern with 20 points and 12 rebounds.
GEORGIA STATE 89, UALR 70
Three days removed from clinching its first outright regular-season Sun Belt championship in four years, the University of Arkansas at Little Rock faltered in its regular-season finale.
Georgia State shot 51% and used a big second-half run to pull away from the Trojans (21-10, 15-5) at the GSU Sports Arena in Atlanta.
After trailing 47-38 at halftime, UALR had taken a 58-56 lead on a three-pointer by junior guard Ben Coupet Jr. with 14:23 remaining. Georgia State (19-12, 12-8) answered over the next seven minutes with a 20-1 run to open up a 76-59 lead.
The Trojans managed to hit nine free throws down the stretch, but after Coupet's three at the 14:23 mark, UALR didn't register a field goal until sophomore forward Nikola Maric scored on a layup with 1:34 to play.
Sophomore forward Kamani Johnson led UALR with 24 points and nine rebounds -- each game highs -- while three other Trojans each notched 10 points.
Georgia State guard Kane Williams had 21 points and 7 assists, and guard Damon Wilson finished with 20 points and 6 rebounds.
Sports on 03/04/2020
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