JONESBORO — Arkansas State moved the basketball to head coach Mike Balado's satisfaction Monday night.
Three days after recording just nine assists in a blowout loss to Illinois, the Red Wolves finished with 28 on 36 field goals in a 90-63 victory over Central Baptist College at First National Bank Arena.
After leading only 38-30 at halftime, the Red Wolves (2-1) followed Balado's instruction to drive the ball more in the second half. ASU shot 65.6 percent from the field to score 52 points in the second half.
"One of the things we really wanted to work on after Illinois was we weren't passing the ball really well. The ball was sticking on one side of the floor and we really harped on that in film and in practice, and it showed," Balado said. "I think there were a couple of times in transition, but other than that, we moved the ball side to side. The ball always finds the right person at the right time if you share it."
Forward Norchad Omier scored 16 points despite battling foul trouble and eventually fouling out in only 12 minutes of playing time. Guards Caleb Fields and Desi Sills added 12 points each.
The Red Wolves were 5-of-14 from the 3-point line in the first half. They attempted only five 3s in the second half.
"I thought that was better for us," Balado said. "We needed to get to the foul line, drive the ball more and be more aggressive in transition, not to settle. Once we did that, I thought it helped our offensive game."
ASU opened the second half on a 22-5 run to put the game out of Central Baptist's reach. Omier and Sills scored 10 points each in the second half.
The Red Wolves were 15-of-36 from the field in the first half, 21-of-32 in the second.
"We were getting open shots, we just weren't making them," said Fields, who also had seven assists. "The second half, everything just came to us."
Sills and Fields indicated the Red Wolves were eager to get back on the court after Friday's 92-53 loss at Illinois.
"First and foremost, we got our tail beat (at Illinois). We came into this game like we wanted revenge," said Sills, who also had six rebounds, four assists and four steals Monday. "We wanted to come in and play hard, play defense and see if we could hit shots, but in the first half we weren't hitting shots like we're supposed to. So in the second half, we picked up defensively and let the transition get us easy buckets and get going."
Balado praised Antwon Jackson for his performance while Omier was on the bench with foul trouble. Jackson finished with four points, five rebounds and three assists in 20 minutes.
ASU's fouls helped Central Baptist stay in the game for a half. The Mustangs were 13-of-14 from the free throw line in the first half, but just 8-of-20 in the second.
The Red Wolves were whistled for 26 fouls.
"It's getting annoying, it really is, and the referees are making the right calls. We are fouling," Balado said. "We have to do a better job of playing with our feet, not our hands. Guys are making one move and we're at a disadvantage. Then we get in foul trouble.
"Twenty-six fouls is way too much. We had 26 tonight, 29 against Illinois. We're giving free points to our opponents on the line, we're getting guys on the bench. It's not good. We have to do a better job of that."
ASU visits Southeast Missouri State on Friday. Tipoff is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.