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Originally published: 2013-12-19 16:03:22
Last modified: 2013-12-19 16:04:08

Presbyterian rallies past Mountaineers

by Staff Reports

CLINTON, S.C. -- Tab Hamilton scored a career-high 33 points, but Appalachian State men's basketball team was unable to hold on to a double-digit lead in a 74-69 loss at Presbyterian on Wednesday at the Templeton Center.


The Mountaineers (2-8) looked as if they may rout the Blue Hose (4-9) with a strong start.  A long scoring slump midway through the first half was enough for Presbyterian to seize momentum and battle back en route to the win.


Appalachian jumped out to a 10-0 lead less than three minutes into the ballgame as back-to-back threes from Hamilton and Mike Neal got the scoring started and Tevin Baskin capped off the run with a thunderous fast-break dunk to get the Mountaineers started on the right track.


After surrendering Presbyterian's first bucket of the game with 17:43 remaining in the first, the Mountaineers scored four-straight points to push their lead to 12 (14-2), but the Blue Hose rallied and reeled off a 20-4 run to grab a 22-18 lead with 11:49 on the clock. During the run, the Mountaineers were held scoreless for just over five and a half minutes, which allowed Presbyterian to climb out of the early hole.


The Blue Hose pushed the lead to six points (36-30) with just over three minutes left in the first half, but Appalachian scored seven of the final 10 points of the half and trailed just 39-37 at the break.


Appalachian seemed to regain momentum early in the second half when Hamilton connected from long range to give the Mountaineers a 49-47 lead with 14:25 left to play. The lead was short-lived as the Blue Hose used a 10-1 run over the next four-plus minutes to push their lead to 57-50 and never trailed the rest of the way.


The Mountaineers never came within five points over the final 11 minutes of play and shot just 30.6 percent (11-of-36) from the floor in the second half. Presbyterian connected on 50.0 percent (11-of-22) of its shots over the final 20 minutes.


Hamilton scored 21 of his points from beyond the arc as he went 7-of-13 from long range. Neal added 12 points and six assists and Chris Burgess added 10 points and six assists of his own.

Michael Obacha led the Mountaineers on the boards with 14 rebounds, his second-straight game with double-digit rebounds.


William Truss paced the Blue Hose with 25 points on 10-of-12 shooting while Jordan Downing scored in 23 and Danny Herrera added 10. Truss also pulled down a team-best seven rebounds and blocked four shots.


On the night, Appalachian shot 37.1 percent (23-of-62) and was 14-of-18 from the charity stripe while Presbyterian shot 49.0 percent (24-of-49) and made 20-of-25 free throws. The Mountaineers finished with a 36-32 edge in rebounds but turned the ball over 15 times.


The Mountaineers return to action at 2 p.m. on Saturday when they play host to Milligan at the Holmes Center before taking a week off for the holidays.