JONESBORO, Ark. — For the second-straight game WKU erased a double-digit first-half deficit to take a lead, but a hot-shooting Arkansas State team downed the Hilltoppers in the second half Saturday night in Jonesboro, Ark., 75-61. WKU drops to 10-7 overall and 4-2 in conference play with the defeat, and Arkansas State moves to 10-5 and 4-2 with the victory.
Aleksejs Rostov led WKU with 17 points, and the freshman hit five three-pointers, both career highs. T.J. Price added 11 points, and Brandon Harris had 10 points, five rebounds and five assists. Harris has now led WKU in rebounding in five-straight games, and with 39 minutes played on Saturday he has now played all but six minutes of the last seven Hilltopper contests.
Ed Townsel scored 25 points to lead Arkansas State, and two others were in double figures. The Hilltoppers buried 11 three-pointers as a team, a season high, and the squad has now hit at least nine three-pointers in four-straight games. WKU shot 43.1 percent as a team (22-for-51), and Arkansas State scored at a 47.4 percent clip (27-for-57).
Trailing 14-2 at the first media timeout, WKU went on a 7-0 scoring run before the next media break to bring the game to 14-9. During that stretch, WKU made all three of its field goals and limited Arkansas State to 2-for-8 shooting and misses on all three of its three-point tries.
WKU tied the game at 20 a few minutes later on a Rostov three-pointer, and the Hilltoppers took their first lead of the game at 24-23 with under 2:00 to go in the half on a Rostov tip-in.
Rostov buried a second three-pointer with seven seconds remaining in the half to put WKU on top 27-23 heading into the halftime locker room. WKU finished the opening 20 minutes on a 12-3 run and scored 17 of the last 22 points of the first frame.
Arkansas State came out firing in the second half and went on an 18-6 run to regain the lead. The Red Wolves led by as many as 15 points with 9:24 to go in the game en route to 52 points in the half, and WKU trimmed it to 10 points with 3:10 remaining in the contest.
Townsel scored 18 points in the second half, and the Red Wolves shot 58.6 percent as a team in the second 20 minutes. Each team made eight second-half three-pointers.
The Hilltoppers lost the battle of the boards, 35-30, and 17 WKU turnovers led to 24 Red Wolf tallies. The loss is WKU's first this season when leading at halftime.
With no midweek games this week, WKU will be in action at E.A. Diddle Arena next Saturday night at 7:00 against Florida Atlantic to start a three-game homestand. The game will be televised nationally on ESPN3, regionally on WKYU-PBS and in Louisville on WBNA with ESPN Full Court to be confirmed in the next few days. It is also available on the radio on the Hilltopper IMG Sports Network with Randy Lee and Hal Schmitt on the call.
It will be Youth League Day at E.A. Diddle Arena Saturday night, and all youth involved in a youth sports league will receive a complimentary ticket to the game. Friends and family may purchase additional tickets for $7.00.
Tickets for the 2012-13 WKU basketball season are on sale now and can be purchased online at WKUSports.com or by calling the WKU Ticket Office at 1-800-5-BIG RED or 745-5222 locally.