UALR trailed for the entire second half before tying things up with 37 seconds to go off a layup by senior D'Andre Williams, who finished with a team-high 18 points off 7-of-11 shooting. ASU went to Marcus Hooten out of a timeout, but the junior guard missed a potential game-winning jumper and the Trojans pushed the ball up the floor after freshman Michael Javes came up with the rebound.
UALR got the ball to sophomore Chuck Guy in transition, and the Fort Worth, Texas-native fed the ball to Sutherland as he streaked towards the goal. Sutherland drew a foul from Hooten on a layup attempt with 0.8 seconds left, and calmly sank both free throws to give UALR the 62-20 win. ASU had one last chance, but Hooten's desperation heave from midcourt was off the mark. Sutherland finished with nine points in 10 minutes of action off the bench, while Jackson chipped in 12 points and eight rebounds while going 6-of-9 from the floor. Sophomore Will Neighbour came up with a game-high 10 rebounds for the Trojans, six of which came in the second half to help UALR outrebound ASU 15-to-12 over the final 20 minutes.
Hooten led the Red Wolves with 18 points in the losing effort, behind a perfect 10-for-10 effort at the foul line. Trey Finn added 12 points, while Brandon Peterson chipped in nine points, seven rebounds and four blocked shots.
UALR rallied from a six-point halftime deficit by shooting 54.2 percent from the floor in the second half. The Trojans shot 48.0 percent from the field in the game, while holding ASU to a .417 clip, to overcome a 10-of-17 effort at the free-throw line (10-of-17). ASU shot 85.0 percent from the foul line on the night, including a 13-of-16 effort in the second half.
Arkansas State dominated the Trojans on the inside in the first half and used a 20-5 run to take a 30-24 lead into the intermission. ASU played to a +5 margin on the glass (19-to-14) in the first half, and scored 13 second-chance points off its eight offensive rebounds.
UALR held a 15-10 lead with 9:42 remaining in the first half as Javes capped off a quick 6-0 run with an offensive putback, but Arkansas State responded by embarking on a 20-5 run over the next 6:45 to go on top 30-20 with 2:57 left in the half. Darion Griswold scored six points during the run, and ASU received three pointers from Trey Finn and Rakeem Dickerson as it built a 10-point edge.
Down 30-20, UALR closed out the half with a bucket from Neighbour and a layup by Jackson to make it a 30-24 ballgame at the break. Jackson paced the Trojans with eight points and five rebounds in first half, off a 4-for-5 effort from the floor.
ASU outscored the Trojans 9-2 at the start of the second half to take its largest lead of the game, 39-27. Hooten opened the second half by scoring on a drive to the basket, and Finn capped off the 9-2 spurt with a three pointer to put the Red Wolves ahead by 12 with 16:25 left to play.
Trailing 39-27, UALR ripped off a 10-0 run to cut its deficit down to two points, 39-37. Freshman Ben Dillard hit a three pointer during the 10-0 run and Williams scored four points for the Trojans, capping it off with a layup with 12:38 remaining. ASU pushed its lead back to eight points, 49-41, but UALR refused to go away, as Williams scored four-straight points to bring UALR within four, 49-45.
UALR cut its deficit to a single point, 53-52, as Neighbour came through with an offensive putback, but the Trojans would not get that close again until Guy tied things up with 37 seconds left. ASU held a four-point lead, 60-56, with 2:48 to go following a layup by Malcoln Kirkland, but would not score again in the game.
The Trojans enter the 2012 Sun Belt Tournament as the No. 2 overall seed, and will face the winner of the No. 7/No. 10 game on Sunday, March 4 at 9 p.m. in Hot Springs, Ark.
Joe Angolia | UALR Sports Information Director