By Chuck Livingston, Sports Editor, The Evening Times and ASU Mid-South Sports Information
If there was just one sequence that summed up Arkansas State University Mid-South's 131-89 against Faith Preparatory Academy on Saturday afternoon, it may have come after the outcome was all but decided.
Forrest City native Trent Steen, a sophomore for the Greyhounds, leapt out of bounds to save a loose ball, clearing Faith Preparatory's bench in the process.
The six-foot-seven forward's heave found its way back towards ASU Mid-South's basket, leading immediately to a three-point basket by Tyler Armstrong.
Steen pumped his fist, re-entered the floor, and let out a yelp of excitement while getting back on defense.
The basket gave ASU Mid-South a 32-point lead late in the second half, but the idea was the clear: The Greyhounds would not be denied on this day.
ASU Mid-South (11-8 overall) showed no after-effects of a loss in Senatobia, Mississippi last Thursday and got all over the Warriors of Faith Preparatory Academy. The Greyhounds hit 50 of their 81 field goal attempts against the Warriors in scoring those 131 points.
"We talked about ignoring the scoreboard and just focusing on execution on both sides of the ball," explained ASU Mid-South head coach Chris Parker. "Offensively, we did a good job of executing and it was good to see us knocking down shots out of the offense."
Faith Preparatory opened the game by playing up-tempo on offense and that tactic allowed them to make their first five baskets, while also taking the lead on two different occasions in the game's earlygoing.
The up-tempo strategy isn't something that ASU Mid-South would see on most nights, but Parker was happy to see it on Saturday.
"I feel that it strengthens a team to face a variety of strategies," said Parker. "To win a national championship, you have to beat several different teams, and we don't know what type of team you may face from game-to-game. We simply focus on doing what we do and adjusting our game plan accordingly and I feel like we did that this game."
After the early flurry, the Greyhounds ripped off a 16-4 run and would lead 64-37 at halftime after knocking down 23 of 38 of their shots, while also forcing 11 turnovers from their visitors.
The Greyhounds took their first double-digit lead of the day at 26-16 and 13:20 left in that stanza following a Joe'Randle Toliver three-pointer. Toliver would hit for 17 points against Faith Preparatory.
The Greyhounds didn't coast to the end, however. ASU Mid-South hit 100 points with 8:41 left in regulation when Toliver hit another triple for a 100-66 advantage. ASU Mid-South shot 27 of 43 in the game's second half.
ASU Mid-South wasn't just able to get all 11 of their players some game action against Faith Preparatory, all 11 players also scored. The Greyhounds were led by Tasmania Jones's 22 points, while Armstrong added 20 of his own and Steen checked in with 19. Tevin Brown's 17 points and Toliver's total rounded out the double-digit scorers.
"We play all 11 guys every game, but it was nice to share the time a little more, especially since we are in the middle of a stretch where we play six times in 13 days," added Parker.
ASU Mid-South will continue that busy stretch of hoops Monday when they host Central Baptist JV for a 6 p.m. tip-off.