With the squeaks of fresh kicks on the hardwood floor, and the sounds of the cheerleaders and the pep bands, the 2016-17 college basketball season is officially here.
The regular season starts two weeks from Friday, but the exhibition season is in full swing. Several teams took part in exhibition games on Thursday night, including the Michigan State Spartans, the Drexel Dragons, and the Arkansas State Red Wolves.
Senior guards Devin Carter and Donte Thomas are back for the Red Wolves to lead the way, plus new head coach Grant McCasland has a slew of talented newcomers to help shoulder some of the offensive load.
Two of those newcomers wasted little time making a strong first impression in front of their home crowd in the Red Wolves’ exhibition opener against the Arkansas-Monticello Boll Weevils.
Junior guard Rashad Lindsey scored a team-high 16 points to go along with 8 rebounds, while freshman forward Salif Boudie added 10 points and 4 rebounds to help guide the Red Wolves to the 76 – 59 win over the Boll Weevils.
Early on, the Boll Weevils were hanging tight with the Red Wolves. With 13:11 to play in the opening half, Stephen Glassco, Jr. connected on a three pointer to push Arkansas-Monticello ahead by 3, at 14-11.
The Red Wolves would answer right back, and that would be the last time they would trail on the night. A 9-0 run for Arkansas State pushed them ahead by six, and they never looked back.
As the game wore on, the Red Wolves would slowly build on their lead. Lindsey would connect on a three pointer before the buzzer to send Arkansas State into the locker room up by 15 at half time, at 42 – 27.
In the second half, Arkansas State would maintain their lead for the remainder of the game. The Boll Weevils put up a strong effort, cutting their deficit down to single digits, but they were unable to claw all the way back and take a lead of their own.
After seeing their lead dwindle down to 8, the Red Wolves kicked things up a notch and pulled away down the stretch for good.
When the final buzzer went off, the Arkansas State Red Wolves held down their home court, scoring the 76 – 59 win in their exhibition opener over the Arkansas-Monticello Boll Weevils.
For the visitors, forward Derylton Hill and guard Cobe Goosby each recorded a double-double in the loss. Hill recorded a game-high 20 points to go along with 11 rebounds, while Goosby added 13 points and 13 rebounds.
As for the Red Wolves, three players scored in double figures, and they got at least 6 points from seven different players. Rashad Lindsey scored a team-high 16 points, while Devin Carter added 15 points and Salif Boudie added 10 points of his own.
Freshman guard Jahmiah Simmons pulled down a game-high 14 rebounds to go along with his 6 points in his Arkansas State debut.
Arkansas State will play its second and final exhibition game on Saturday, November 5th when they welcome Henderson State t Jonesboro, AR.
– T. Bennett