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Originally published: 2012-12-31 00:44:14
Last modified: 2012-12-31 00:44:14

Mountaineers pull away from Milligan

by Steve Behr Sports Editor

Appalachian State had one final dress rehearsal before diving into the bulk of its Southern Conference schedule. The Mountaineers got mixed reviews for their performance.

Appalachian State pulled away from Milligan (Tenn.) and beat the Buffaloes 71-51 Sunday in front of 820 fans at the Holmes Center. Now, the Mountaineers can turn their attention to Wofford, ASU’s next Southern Conference opponent.

Appalachian State plays at Wofford on Jan. 8. It’s a 10-day layoff, but the Mountaineers will probably be used to going long periods of time without playing.

“These games after long breaks are very hard on coaches,” Mountaineers coach Jason Capel said. “It’s a win and we got good things out of the win. I never thought it was in jeopardy and I think our guys knew that. We want to be ready for conference play, so obviously we have to be better.”

Appalachian State’s game against Milligan, a NAIA program located near Johnson City, Tenn., was the Mountaineers’ first since a 78-70 victory over Presbyterian (S.C.) on Dec. 22. ASU has played just three games since Dec. 19, a 74-69 loss to South Carolina.

Since the Presbyterian game, the team had some time off to celebrate Christmas. Capel said the Mountaineers showed signs of rust, which limited them in the first half. Appalachian State shot 31.6 percent in the first half. ASU made 2-of-11 shots with 14:39 left in the first half.

“For us to be the type of team we want to be, we can’t play down,” Capel said. “We have to play at a high level. We have to be who we are. Every possession, every game, whether we’re in practice or playing Milligan or South Carolina, we have to play at a high level. I don’t think we did that today.”

Nate Healy was the one Mountaineer not showing rust. Healy made 8-of-11 shots and finished with 17 points. He also grabbed 15 rebounds, nine of the offensive end.

Capel said he rarely has to worry about Healy’s energy or effort on the court.

“You look at Nate’s line, nine offensive rebounds 15 total, you look at four steals and two blocks — that’s effort,” Capel said. “Those are effort plays. When he’s on the floor, he’s never going to be the most athletic or the most athletically gifted player on the court. But he plays hard and being a senior leader, we need everybody else to play at that level.”

Appalachian State struggled from the foul line by making 10-of-22 free throws. The Mountaineers made up for that by grabbing 23 offensive rebounds and scored 22 second-chance points. ASU also scored 16 points off 19 Milligan turnovers.

The Mountaineers outrebounded Milligan, which shot 32.3 percent from the field, 54-44.

“I thought we got some really good shots,” Capel said. “For whatever reason, we didn’t make them. Going 10-of-22 from the foul line is unbelievable. Going 5-for-20 from (3-point range) and most of those threes were wide-open, non-contested shots. We got good looks. To win by 20 and to look at those two categories, we’re a better shooting team than what we showed.”

Appalachian State led 30-21 at halftime, and added a 6-0 run to claim a 36-21 lead, which caused a Milligan timeout. The Buffaloes eventually clawed their way back and pulled to 45-40 with 10:01 left in the game.

“I’m happy with how we competed,” Milligan coach Bill Robinson said. “We had a five-point game with 10 minutes left and we kind of ran out of gas.”

The Mountaineers pulled away with a 12-0 run capped Jamaal Trice steal-and-score that put ASU up 56-40. Milligan never got any closer than 13 points the rest of the game.

Tevin Baskin scored a season-high 15 points for the Mountaineers. Jay Canty and Tab Hamilton each added 10 points.

Milligan’s Tyler DeVault scored 12 points and grabbed seven rebounds. He was the only Milligan player to score in double figures.



Appalachian State 71, Milligan 51

Milligan (8-6)

DeVault 6-12 0-0 12, Palaima 1-8 0-0 4, Pettis 2-10 0-0 4, Woods 3-12 0-0 6, Sitton 2-6 0-2 4, Carpenter 1-1 0-0 2, Larsen 0-0 0-0 0, Brooks 2-4 0-0 5, Blake 3-3 0-0 8, Crowe 0-1 2-2 2, Ellis 0-4 2-2 2, Hendren 0-1 0-0 0, McLeod 1-3 1-2 4. Totals 21-65 5-8 51.

Appalachian State (3-8)

Healy 8-11 0-0 17, Canty 5-11 0-6 10, Okam 1-2 1-4 3, Hamilton 4-11 0-0 10, Burgess 1-11 4-5 6, Baskin 5-10 5-7 15, Gilbert 0-1 0-0 0, Trice 3-10 0-0 7, Spagnolo 0-0 0-0 0, Rutherford 0-0 0-0 0, Eaves 1-5 0-0 3, Neal 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 28-73 10-22 71.

Halftime score—ASU 30, Milligan 21. 3-point goals—Milligan 4-8 (Blake 2-2, McLeod 1-1, Brooks 1-2), ASU 5-20 (Hamilton 2-6, Hamilton 1-2, Eaves 1-3, Trice 1-4, Neal 0-1, Baskin 0-1, Burgess 0-3). Rebounds—Milligan 44 (DeVault 7), ASU 54 (Healy 15). Assists—Milligan 11 (Woods 5), ASU 14 (Burgess 7). Turnovers—Milligan 19, ASU 12. Total fouls—Milligan 17, ASU 12.  Fouled out—None. Technical fouls—None. Att.—820.