By Chuck Livingston, Sports Editor, The Evening Times and ASU Mid-South Sports Information
Revenge has been on the mind of the Arkansas State University Mid-South Greyhounds over the past five days.
Following a 114-106 win at West Kentucky CTC last Thursday night, the Greyhounds got back home to avenge an earlier defeat to Bethel University junior varsity.
Last night at The Dog House, ASU Mid-South outlasted the Wildcats 87-68 for its seventh win in eight games.
"I think it's always good to even the series after losing in November, sort of looking to gauge our progress," explained ASU Mid-South head coach Chris Parker. "They present a tough matchup for us. They do things well that we don't necessarily do well, but it was good to get the win even though we didn't necessarily bring our best game tonight."
Bethel had previously topped ASU Mid-South in November, winning 82-74 in a game that saw the Wildcats make 14 three-pointers at home.
In this game, Bethel was just five of 20 from distance, and two of 11 in the first half.
"They had a kid hit seven three-pointers and score 27 points on us at their place," Parker said. "I was proud of our effort to hold him to five points with no three's tonight."
The first half was a nip-and-tuck battle that saw the Greyhounds lead by as many as nine points late in the stanza following a Tevin Brown jump shot before coasting into halftime ahead 37-30.
Wynne native Tasmania Jones started the second half out on a mission, scoring six of his 18 points in the first three minutes of the half, including a pair of slam dunks and ASU Mid-South led 49-37.
When Bethel's Matt McKinnie scored on a lay-up with 9:13 left, ASU Mid-South led 68-55, but that time would mark the Wildcats' last field goal until there was 1:04 remaining, and the outcome decided. The field goal drought lasted seven minutes and 59 seconds.
"I think that was big that we came out and had some intensity and played with some pride there, staying in front of our man. We need to do a better job of not fouling though (Bethel made 14 of 17 free throws during that stretch)," Parker said. "Obviously it turned into a free-throw-a-thon for a bit. But we're continuing to get better. We're still a work in progress."
As Bethel went cold on their end, the Greyhounds got a spark from sophomore guard Tyler Armstrong, from Brinkley.
ASU Mid-South had just seen Bethel go on a run to cut their lead to 68-58 with 7:48 left when Armstrong made four three-pointers , the last one coming with 3:28 remaining, which put the Greyhounds up 81-62.
"I think what we finally did is we settled down and wanted to allow the offense to create the shots for us," Parker said of his team's second-half philosophy. "That's why we've been able to score points so much these past few weeks. Once we stopped trying to force the issue, then all of the sudden, it gets easier. And Tyler does a great job of finding his rhythm, and our team does a very good job of playing unselfishishly and feeding the hot hand."
ASU Mid-South (14-8 overall) got a game-high 25 points from Armstrong, and 18 apiece from Jones and Cameron Ricks. Jones also reeled in 10 rebounds.
ASU Mid-South will be back at home on Thursday night when they host Champion Christian College at 6 p.m. It will be a men's-only game.