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March 4, 2012HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - Marcus Hooten scored 23 points, Malcoln Kirkland added 15 and Arkansas State beat Florida Atlantic 70-55 in the first round of the Sun Belt Conference tournament.
Hooten hit three 3-pointers and was 8 of 12 from the field. Brandon Peterson had 13 points and Trey Finn 12 for the ninth-seeded Red Wolves (13-19), who moved on to play No. 1 seed Middle Tennessee on Sunday. Kirkland, Peterson and Finn had nine rebounds apiece.
Dennis Mavin led the eighth-seeded Owls (11-19) with 12 points and Shavar Richardson had 11. Florida Atlantic finished its season on a five-game losing streak.
Arkansas State took the lead for good early in the first half, but Florida Atlantic was within 30-27 after a Jordan McCoy layup with 1:20 left before halftime. The Red Wolves then went on a 14-2 run that stretched into the second half, and the Owls never threatened again.
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