JONESBORO, Ark. (AP) _ John Tate and Bo Brown scored 18 points apiece to lead Arkansas State over Northeast Louisiana 70-59 Friday night in a first-round National Invitation Tournament game.

Arkansas State's Greg Williams added 15 points as the Indians won their 20th game of the season for the second time ever.

The Indians trailed 32-30 at halftime but opened a 51-41 lead midway through the second half and held off several late charges by Northeast Louisiana.

Michael Saulsberry paced the losers with 17 points and Derrick Pollard had 11. Saulsberry also led all rebounders with 14, with Brown grabbing 12 for Arkansas State.

Northeast finished its season 21-9. ASU is 20-13.

Arkansas State, which has won eight of its last 11 games, scored the first six points of the second half and never relinquished the lead. A steal and layup by Carl Archer tied the score, Ed Louden hit from the wing and Williams made a layup.

Brown was 8-of-11 from the field and had four steals to extend his school single-season record to 65. The Indians shot 52 percent from the floor, surpassing the .500 mark for the 11th time in the last 13 games and the 24th time this season.

''This was part of a tradition-extender for our basketball program,'' Coach Nelson Catalina said. ''We've now had two 20-win seasons in a row and we're still playing.

''Tonight's game was very intense. We played in spurts. I think Carl Archer did a super job of running the show. He also contributes so much on defense.''

Archer, who had nine points, 11 assists and three steals, became the school's all-time career assist leader early in the second half. The 6-foot-2 junior has 389 assists.