St. Bonaventure (5-2) at Arkansas State (4-3)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, December 8, 3:05 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site:ASU Convocation Center (10,038) -- Jonesboro, Arkansas. Television: None. Home Record: SBU 3-0, ASU 2-0. Away Record: SBU 1-2, ASU 2-3. Neutral Record: SBU 1-0, ASU 0-0. Conference Record: SBU 0-0, ASU 0-2. Series Record: Arkansas State leads, 1-0.
GAME NOTES: Taking a break from their Sun Belt Conference schedule, the Arkansas State Red Wolves welcome the Bonnies of St. Bonaventure to the ASU Convocation Center on Saturday afternoon.
ASU had a strong opening to the season against non-conference foes, winning four in a row after kicking off 2012-13 with a loss to Dayton, but Sun Belt foes have not been nearly as kind. In fact, the Red Wolves are already 0-2 in league action after bowing to FIU in the conference opener, 80-61, and then being tripped up by Florida Atlantic last weekend, 72-65.
As for the Bonnies, members of the Atlantic 10 Conference, they've delivered five wins in seven opportunities, posting back-to-back victories over Buffalo and Siena in the last week. The meeting with the Saints on Tuesday night represented St. Bonaventure's top defensive effort of the season as it held Siena to a mere 43 points in a 15-point win.
The Red Wolves won the only other meeting between these two teams with a 58-52 victory on Feb. 1, 2011.
Even though the Saints have one of the best interior players in the country, the Bonnies still held a 30-18 scoring edge in the paint in their most recent win. Then again, turnovers probably had a major influence on the outcome as well with the hosts losing possession a mere five times and Siena turning it over 17 times. Marquise Simmons registered a double-double for the Bonnies with 12 points and 10 rebounds, while Demetrius Conger accounted for 14 points, eight boards, four assists and a couple of blocked shots, followed by Chris Johnson with 10 points and seven rebounds. Johnson is responsible for a team-high 15.3 ppg over seven games, shooting 50 percent behind the three- point line and 51.4 percent from the floor overall. Conger (14.6 ppg, 6.6 rpg) has managed to hand out 22 assists which is tops on a team that has slightly more dishes (95) than turnovers (93) at the moment.
Arkansas State held a slight three-point lead at the break, extending it to six points in the opening minute of the second half against FAU, but after that it was all downhill for the visitors as they shot just 32.3 percent from the field in the period and 9-of-15 at the charity stripe. Kendrick Washington and Marcus Hooten both finished with 12 points, while Raeford Worsham came off the bench to deliver 10 points and seven rebounds and Brandon Peterson logged 10 points and a game-high 10 rebounds in the setback. Ed Townsel, who played 17 minutes in a reserve role and was held to just five points on 1-of-7 shooting, is still the leading scorer for ASU with his 15.3 ppg mostly coming off the bench. Townsel is the three-point sniper that the Wolves turn to, his 22-of-49 accuracy on the outside serving as a significant piece of the unit's perimeter attack. Peterson (11.0 ppg) is the one who handles the action in the paint with his 10.1 rpg, but still the group is beating opponents on the glass by just 1.2 rpg.
With early success this season, the Bonnies have been building up their confidence and against a team like ASU that effort should shine once again.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: St. Bonaventure 68, Arkansas State 64
12/08 10:31:06 ET