ASU rallies past Elon 80-70
by Steve Behr Sports Editor
There was a time during the 2012-13 season that Appalachian State had lost seven straight games and had not beaten a Division I opponent.
That seven-game losing streak, which was all in 2012, seems like a long time ago. Instead, the Mountaineers’ 80-70 victory over Elon was the team’s fourth straight victory and ASU’s fifth win in six games.
Appalachian State (6-8, 2-1 SoCon) had to shake off a slow start, but rallied with a 15-3 run at the end of the first half to tie the game 34-34 by halftime. After falling behind 45-42 in the second half, the Mountaineers went on a 15-6 run to claim a 57-51 lead that they would not give back.
“We were behind because we weren’t taking care of the basketball,” Mountaineers coach Jason Capel said. “We had turnovers and I think we took four really bad shots.”
Appalachian State survived Elon shooting 57.1 percent from
the field in the first half by making 51.9 percent of its first-half shots. The
Mountaineers finished the game with balanced scoring attack led by Nathan
Healy’s 22 points.
Healy, who played 39 of the game’s 40 minutes, made 3-of-6 from 3-point range, grabbed eight rebounds and made four steals. His 3-pointer off a Chris Burgess assist just before halftime capped ASU’s run and tied the game.
“Chris is one of the fastest people I’ve played against in practice and with in game,” Healy said. “He can get downhill as fast as anybody. We knew we wanted him to get a ball screen and he just made a great play. I did what I’m supposed to do.”
Capel remembered Healy when he walked on to the program during Capel’s year as an assistant to Buzz Peterson. Healy didn’t play much his freshman and sophomore seasons, but worked his way into the starting lineup, and into a scholarship, by his junior year.
“He’s a senior and he’s playing like you want a senior to play,” Capel said. “I remember my first year, here’s this skinny guy who is 6-6, 6-7 and he’s on the team and I’m wondering if this is a basketball player. To see him now and to be a go-to guy — I use him as an example to the younger to some of our younger guys.”
Healy had plenty of help. Mike Neal also shook off a slow start to finish with 17 points. Neal, who turned the ball over three times in the first part of the first half, regrouped offensively by making all three of his 3-point baskets. Neal added three assists and two steals.
Tevin Baskin scored 16 points and pulled down 10 rebounds for the Mountaineers. Tab Hamilton added 10 points.
“We like to share the ball,” Healy said. “That’s what basketball is supposed to be. In the past, when we not as successful, it’s when one or two guys did the scoring and there was not much contribution from everybody else.”
Watauga’s defense struggled to shut down Elon’s leading scorer Ryley Beaumont, who scored 26 points on 11-of-13 shooting from the field. Beaumont also pulled down a team-high nine rebounds.
Lucas Troutman added 14 points, but no other Elon player scored in double figures. While Elon shot 50 percent from the field for the game, the Phoenix made a woeful 4-of-20 of its 3-point baskets.
Appalachian State found itself behind 21-9 in the first half
after guard Austin Hamilton drove to the basket uncontested for a layup.
Appalachian State eventually trailed 31-19 before scoring the next nine points
to pull to 31-28.
ASU went on to tie the game by halftime.
“Credit Appalachian State for making more plays than us,” Elon coach Matt Matheny said. “They got very good production from several players. I like the way we started, and the run they made at the end of the first half gave them momentum.”
Appalachian State faces another North Division rival, UNC Greensboro, Monday at the Holmes Center. Healy said winning Southern Conference is critical to winning a North championship.
“It’s huge. Every SoCon game at home is a must win,” Healy said. “That’s how we approach it. If we want to meet our goals, we have to hold serve at home. You can’t give one away.”
Appalachian State 80, Elon 70
Elon (8-7, 1-2)
Beaumont 11-13 2-2 216, Troutman 6-11 2-4 14, Hamilton 3-7 2-4 8, Isenbarger 4-10 0-1 9, Koch 2-9 4-4 9, Samson 0-3 0-1 0, Blake 1-2 0-0 2, Sabato 0-0 0-0 0, Edomwonyi 0 0-0 0, Winters 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 28-56 10-16 70.
Appalachian State (6-8, 2-1)
Obacha 0-0 0-0 0, Healy 8-17 3-6 22, Canty 5-10 2-2 12, Hamilton 4-8 0-0 10, Neal 4-6 3-3 17, Baskin 5-9 5-6 16, Burgess 1-2 0-0 3, Trice 0-3 0-0 0, Okam 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 27-55 16-23 80.
Halftime score—ASU 34, Elon 34. 3-point goals—Elon 4-20 (Beaumont 2-3, Koch 1-5, Isenbarger 1-7, Hamilton 0-2, Samson 0-3). Rebounds—Elon 33 (Beaumont 9), ASU 32 (Baskin 10). Assists—Elon 12 (Hamilton 4), ASU 14 (Burgess 4). Turnovers—Elon 15, ASU 13. Total fouls—Elon 17, ASU 19. Fouled out—None. Technical fouls—None. Att.—1,708.