By Chuck Livingston, Sports Editor, The Evening Times and ASU Mid-South Sports Information
Home was once against sweet for the Arkansas State University Greyhounds.
Following an 0-6 start at their home gym in the 2015-2016 hoops season, the Greyhounds won their seventh straight contest at their three-year-old arena, topping Rhodes College junior varsity 83-62.
ASU Mid-South (16-10) put four players in double figures, led by Tyler Armstrong's 16 points, while Joe'Randle Toliver popped for 13, Cameron Ricks hit for 12 and Marion native LaQuan Davie posted 11.
Rhodes got a game-high 22 points and 11 rebounds from Ian Harrison, 11 from Anesu Nyawata and nine from Will McIntyre.
ASU Mid-South had previously beaten Rhodes JV in January 76-52 on the road.
The Greyhounds were able to pull away in this game, but for most of the first half, the Lynx looked to be up to the challenge.
ASU Mid-South took its first double-digit lead of the night on a pair of free throws by Ladarius Mason, that gave the hosts a 27-16 lead with 11:19 remaining.
That lead extended to 13 points following a Teverette Cain jumper, but Rhodes JV responded with a 12-0 run that got the Lynx within a single point at 34-33 with 5:55 left in the first half.
Holding the Greyhounds back before halftime were a number of unforced turnovers. ASU Mid-South gave the ball away 10 times in the first half, to help the team offset hitting 18 of their 26 field goal attempts in that half.
"I thought that once we got a double-figure lead, we got a little lazy," said ASU Mid-South head coach Chris Parker. "It can be hard to keep focus when you're out there having a good time. You can forget about execution, but I thought we did a fine job of reigning it back in."
ASU Mid-South would do a better job of closing the half out, however. The Greyhounds ended the first 20-minute period by slapping up a 13-4 run for a 49-39 advantage at the break, despite 10 first-half turnovers.
"I thought we basically did a good job (in the first half)," said Parker. "We were so wrapped up in scoring in the first half, which we did, we scored 49 points in the first half, but we gave up more than we wanted to. We talked at halftime about how we had to pick it up on the defensive end."
The defensive intensity was evident from the word "go" of the second half. ASU Mid-South would force 20 Rhodes JV turnovers, while limiting the Lynx to a 10 of 24 showing from the field in that time to lead by as many as 23 points on three different occasions, before settling for the 21-point margin of victory.
Perhaps most impressively, ASU Mid-South did not allow Rhodes JV to string together more than five consecutive points at any time in the second half.
"I thought we did a really good job (of defending)," Parker said. "We got some work in on some other things that we were trying to focus on. The guys did a great job of picking up what we were trying to do and executing, and I think that was the difference in the second half."
ASU Mid-South will have its final home game of the season on Thursday night when they host Faith Prep at 6:00 p.m. The men's team will then recognize their five sophomores immediately following the game, and a women's game that was recently added to the schedule will take place after that as the Lady Greyhounds will play the Lady Tigers Ball Club at approximately 8:00 p.m.