Mountaineers visit Campbell for Friday showdown
by Steve Behr Sports Editor
Tonight, the Mountaineers face the team that was picked to win the same division.
Appalachian State (1-1) plays at Campbell (1-1) starting at 7:45 p.m., looking to put that loss to High Point way into the distant past.
Appalachian State fell behind 48-26 by halftime after High Point went on a 30-7 run that gave the Panthers a commanding 46-19 lead.
Mountaineers coach Jason Capel wanted to see more leadership from his seniors, especially when it came to effort. Capel also said he had to do a better job getting the Mountaineers ready for Campbell.
“I’m disappointed we didn’t put up much of a fight,” Capel said after the game. “That’s the most disappointing thing. We’re a team that’s going to have to do things extremely well all the time. Fifty-fifty plays, executing, being tough. We didn’t do that tonight. We have to have some better senior leadership. We have to have guys that understand how hard you have to play all the time. I’ll do a better job of preparing us for Campbell.”
That will be a chore for the Mountaineers’ coaching staff. Campbell is a preseason favorite to win the conference, and wants to reach the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1992.
Darren White leads the team in offense with 16.8 points per game. Trey Freeman chips in 13.9 points per game.
Capel is more concerned about how his team reacts. The Mountaineers started three newcomers against High Point with returning players Nate Healy and Tab Hamilton.
Jay Canty, a transfer from Xavier, led the Mountaineers with 23 points. Chris Burgess, one of the newcomers who started, added 16 points.
“We have (had) a chance to come and practice (Wednesday) and build and get better,” Capel said. “We have a chance to come out at Campbell and I hope we come out the way High Point came out at us. They came in here as the bully. They came in here as the team that understood how hard you have to play in order to win. We didn’t come out that way, but we have a chance to come out that way the next game and I’m going to do my best to prepare us for the opening tip.”
Campbell is coming off a 71-67 loss to Northwestern State on Monday night. The Camels trailed by 11 points with 1:11 left to play, but rallied to within four points with 13 seconds left.
The Camels missed two 3-pointers in the final seconds of the game and Northwestern State held on to win. Campbell opened its season with a 74-55 home victory over Averett.
The game at Campbell is ASU’s first of three on the road. Appalachian State plays at East Carolina on Nov. 20 and at Virginia Tech on Nov. 23.
The Mountaineers return home Nov. 28 against Duquesne before returning to the road for four straight games.
Appalachian State leads the overall series with Campbell 13-4. The Mountaineers beat Campbell 77-74 last season, but lost 92-63 in Buies Creek in 2009. Appalachian State is 8-1 at home against the Camels, but 3-3 on the road. The 92 points are the most either team has scored in the series, which dates back to 1978.
IT CAN GET BETTER
Appalachian State’s loss to High Point was the Mountaineers’ worst loss since a 102-69 loss to Davidson on Dec. 3, 2005. High Point’s 86 points were the most scored on ASU at the Holmes Center since King College took an 87-76 decision from the Mountaineers on Feb. 1, 2010.
ON THE ROAD
The Mountaineers are 9-19 on the road under Capel. They are 3-7 in nonconference games.
Appalachian State has made 15 3-point shots in its first two games. Tab Hamilton made 6-of-10 in the Mountaineers’ win over Montreat in ASU’s season-opener, while Burgess made four 3-pointers against High Point.