Mountaineers take on Winthrop on Sunday
by Steve Behr Sports Editor
Against Division I teams, the Mountaineers are 0-6.
They have a chance to change that against the Eagles, but it will not be easy. Winthrop is 5-2 overall with wins over East Tennessee State and USC Upstate. But the Eagles have not played since an 81-63 loss to Virginia Tech on Dec. 3.
That's an 11-day break for the Eagles. It's also the first of three games in the next six days for Winthrop, which plays at North Carolina Central on Dec. 18 and hosts Wofford on Dec. 21.
Appalachian State hasn't played since suffering a 77-59 loss to Charlotte on Dec. 8. App State also plays its next three games in six days. The Mountaineers play at Presbyterian on Dec. 18 and hosts Milligan on Dec. 21.
Playing at Winthrop comes first. The Mountaineers have struggled on the road by scoring just 62.2 points and shooting just 36.8 percent from the field away from the Holmes Center.
App State also scores just 29.5 points in the first half overall and just 27.3 points in the first half on the road.
In contrast, App State scores 73.5 points and shoots 41.4 percent from the field in Boone.
The Mountaineers are unlikely to get Jay Canty back into the lineup. Appalachian State was hoping to get Canty, who was academically ineligible for the first semester games, by Sunday.
But it's unlikely the coaching staff will know Canty's eligibility status until Monday when the grades are posted.
Canty, a junior from Jamestown to transferred from Xavier last season, averaged 14.3 points per game last season.
In his absence, forward Tevin Baskin leads the Mountaineers in scoring with 14.4 points per game. Shooting guard Mike Neal, who also plays at the point, averages 12.9 points per game.
Winthrop has three players scoring in double figures. Point guard Keon Johnson and guard Andre Smith both average 13.4 points per game, while Joab Jerome chips in 12.7 points per game.
Appalachian State point guard Chris Burgess, who stands 5-foot-7, has the rare chance of guarding somebody closer to his size should the Mountaineers choose to use a man-to-man defense. Johnson, a freshman, also stands 5-7.
The two teams have a brief series of games since the turn of the century between them. Winthrop took a 65-63 victory in 2009 in conjunction with BracketBusters. Appalachian State won the required rematch 70-51 at the Holmes Center the previous season.
App State added a 76-64 win at the Holmes Center in 2012. The Mountaineers hold a 5-1 advantage in the overall series.