Chris Udofia added 14 points for the Pioneers (12-3, 2-1 Sun Belt), who have won seven of their last eight. Stafford finished with eight points.
The Red Wolves (7-9, 1-1) got 16 points from Marcus Hooten.
Both teams scored 20 baskets, but the Pioneers gained an advantage by going 8 of 19 from 3-point range, while the Red Wolves made 3 of 5. Arkansas State held a 29-22 rebounding edge.
Neither team led by more than five in the second half.
Hooten's 3-pointer broke a 45-45 tie with 3:06 left.
But Stafford's layup trimmed it to 48-47, and then his jumper put Denver ahead to stay 49-48 with 1:32 left.
With Arkansas State down 53-50, Hooten missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer.
- Sports & Recreation
- Sports & Recreation/Basketball
- Brian Stafford