Mountaineers win fifth straight, down UNCG
by Steve Behr Sports Editor
In its last two games, Appalachian State has fallen behind in the first half. In those same two games, the Mountaineers were able to rally and win the game in the second.
Appalachian State shook off a slow first half by outscoring UNCG by 20 in the second half in an 83-70 victory in front of 1,327 at the Holmes Center Monday night.
Appalachian State (7-8, 3-1 SoCon) won its fifth straight game by turning a 39-32 halftime deficit into a 13-0 run at the start of the second half. UNC Greensboro (3-12, 1-3) did not score from the field in the second half until there was 12:32 left in the game.
“We didn’t play well in the first half, but I didn’t think we played that bad,” ASU senior Nate Healy said. “They played a pretty solid first half. They were hitting shots and they were making plays. In the second half, we came out and we knew if we stepped it up a notch good things would happen.”
By then Appalachian State held a 50-41 lead that the Mountaineers would never lose. Appalachian State coach Jason Capel felt effort was the biggest factor in the Mountaineers’ second-half rally.
“I think it was just playing hard,” Capel said. “I’m not going to sit here and say I drew up a perfect play. I didn’t come to the second half with my jacket on, so you could tell it was a pretty animated halftime.”
The Mountaineers also fell behind Elon by 10 points before tying the game at halftime on Saturday. ASU pulled away to take an 80-70 victory.
“We’ve got to get off to better starts, that’s for sure,” Capel said. “The thing I like about this team is we have an unbelievable confidence about ourselves. To a man, we have a moxie about ourselves that is really starting to resonate and grow together as a team.”
Appalachian State, which pulled to within a half-game of North Division leading Western Carolina, got a career-high 24 points from Healy.
Healy made 7-of-11 shots from the field. He also tied Jay Canty for a game-high nine rebounds and blocked three shots. Healy also made 8-of-9 foul shots.
The Mountaineers ended up converting 28-of-34 foul shots. Foul shooting helped point guard Mike Neal, who made 9-of-11 from the line, score 19 points.
Tevin Baskin finished with 16 points and Canty added 14 points and a team-high four assists.
“You’ve got to give a lot of credit to Appalachian State,” UNCG coach Wes Miller said. “They came out in the second half and really outplayed us. They took us out of the things we wanted to do offensively. They had their way with us on the offensive end and they really just spread us out and drove us and made plays.”
UNC Greensboro, which has lost seven of its last eight games, got 22 points from Trevis Simpson and 20 from Derrell Armstrong. No other UNCG player scored more than seven the rest of the game.
Appalachian State also converted 14 UNCG turnovers into 24 points.
The Mountaineers face two North Division road games. They start with a game at Chattanooga on Thursday and follow with a Saturday game at Samford.
The Mountaineers’ five-game winning streak includes all three of its victories over SoCon teams. Capel knows his team feels confident going into its game at Chattanooga, but must also guard against overconfidence.
“This team knows the hard part about this group is the confidence for us to have,” Capel said. “We don’t need to be overconfident yet. We’re not even to .500 yet. I love the confidence we have and the belief that we have with ourselves to a man. When we’re unselfish, you see that. It resonates and we’re a very good basketball team.”
Appalachian State men 83, UNCG 70
UNC Greensboro (3-12, 1-3)
Williams 0-0 3-4 3, Locke 2-5 2-2 6, Paulos 2-7 2-2 7, Parker 1-2 0-0 3, Armstrong 7-16 3-3 20, Simpson 9-18 3-3 22, Potts 0-1 4-6 4, McNeil 2-4 0-4 4, Hoffer 0-0 1-2 1. Totals 23-54 18-26 70.
Appalachian State (7-8, 3-1)
Ohacha 2-2 0-0 4, Healy 7-11 8-9 24, Canty 4-9 5-6 14, Hamilton 1-9 0-0 3, Neal 5-10 9-11 19, Baskin 5-12 6-8 16, Burgess 1-2 0-0 3, Gilbert 0-0 0-0 0, Trice 0-2 0-0 0, Spagnolo 0-0 0-0 0, Rutherford 0-0 0-0 0, Eaves 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 25-57 28-34 83.
Halftime score—UNCG 39, ASU 32. 3-point goals—UNCG 6-19 (Armstrong 3-6, Parker 1-2, Paulos 1-5, Simpson 1-6), ASU 5-15 (Healy 2-5, Burgess 1-1, Canty 1-2, Hamilton 1-4, Baskin 0-1, Neal 0-2). Rebounds—UNCG 34 (Armstrong 7), ASU 35 (Healy, Canty 9). Assists—UNCG 5 (Parker, Simpson 2), ASU 9 (Canty 4). Turnovers—UNCG 14, ASU 9. Total fouls—UNCG 28, ASU 20. Fouled out—UNCG, Williams, Simpson. Technical fouls—UNCG, team. Att.—1,327.