JONESBORO, Ark. – A surge of hot shooting that commenced midway in the first half proved to be the difference as Arkansas State posted a 71-56 victory over VMI Thursday night in the opener of the Red Wolves Classic.
Arkansas State forward Malik Brevard scored a career-high 17 points and grabbed 10 rebounds and guard Canberk Kus hit eight-of-11 shots from the floor to lead all scorers with 18 points.
VMI labored through a 7-of-24 shooting night from three-point range and converted just 11-of-21 from the line while being outrebounded on the boards, 33-25. Arkansas State also dished out 21 assists on the night.
Despite the statistical disparity, the Keydets trailed only 57-50 with 6:03 remaining in the second half when freshman guard Louis Tang hit a layup. The Red Wolves responded with four straight points capped by a Christian Willis 3-point play to push the lead back to double digits for the rest of regulation as ASU closed out the game on a 14-6 run.
The Keydets (0-4) were led by junior forward Myles Lewis who got to the free throw line plenty in the second half and finished the game seven of 10 in free throws for 11 points. Freshman guards Kamdyn Curfman and Travis Evee each chipped in 10 points.
Arkansas State shot 69% from the floor in the first half on its way to a 58% mark for the game. The Red Wolves broke open a tight game eight minutes after tip-off and scorched the nets hitting 14-of-15 shots including 12 straight attempts to help build a 40-29 lead at the break.
Four straight free throws by Lewis and a Will Miller layup helped shave the VMI deficit to 44-37 at the 15:59 mark, but the Red Wolves gradually rebuilt a double-digit cushion with a 9-1 run sparked by four straight points by Kus and a Jerry Johnson, Jr. three-pointer to make it 53-38 with 11:36 left.
The Keydets quickly return to action tomorrow afternoon taking on Idaho in Day 2 of the Classic in Jonesboro. Tip-off slated for 1:30 p.m. Eastern and the game can be followed on live stats on vmikeydets.com.