Nursing a seven-point lead in the final four minutes of the game, Appalachian State University men’s basketball went to the line 16 times and sank all 16 free throws to ice an 84-72 win against Western Carolina in front of a season-high 3,476 fans at the
Holmes Center on Saturday afternoon.
The Mountaineers (8-10, 4-4 SoCon) built a 14-point lead midway through the second period at 52-38 before the Catamounts rallied all the way back to tie the game at 59 points apiece. Omar Carter then sank a layup and Jamaal Trice added ASU’s next five points to regain a comfortable advantage with four minutes to play and force WCU to slow the game’s pace with fouls.
Trice led all scorers with 21 points on 7-of-11 shooting from the field and perfect 5-of-5 mark from the foul line. Carter came off the bench and added 20 points and nine rebounds, including a career best 12-of-12 mark from the charity stripe.
The back-and-forth game saw seven lead changes in the first half and four ties. WCU led by as many as eight points in the early going before the Apps rallied and took a 33-29 halftime lead. Trice accounted for the final five points in the opening period to provide the lead and cushion.
For the game, the Apps shot 30-of-36 from the stripe, an 83.3 percent success rate. ASU was also proficient from the field at 51.1 percent on the afternoon, compared to 43.8 percent for the Catamounts. Appalachian downed 6-of-17 three-point attempts, compared to Western’s 4-of-16 mark.
Andre Williamson collected his third double-double of the season with 10 points and a game-high 11 rebounds. The senior improved his grasp on the league lead in two statistical categories as he sank 80 percent of his shots (4-5) and swatted two of ASU’s six blocks.
The teams tied with 33 rebounds each, though WCU grabbed 14 on the offensive glass to ASU’s seven. Appalachian converted 14 WCU turnovers into 24 points, while WCU scored 17 points off of 14 miscues by the home team.
Appalachian held a 31-10 advantage in bench points, as Isaac Butts added 11 points and for rebounds in 14 minutes.
Mike Neal also reched double figures in scoring for ASU with 10 points to accompany a game-high four assists and two steals.
Trey Sumler led the visitors with 17 points, while three teammates also reached double figures.
Appalachian improved to 111-65 against Western Carolina and 59-22 in home games. Pending the result of Elon’s home game against Chattanooga on Saturday evening, the Apps may find themselves tied for first place in the Southern Conference North.
The Mountaineers return to the road for one game next week. ASU faces UNCG at the Greensboro Coliseum on Thursday at 7 p.m.
NOTES: Nathan Healy became the 11th different Mountaineer to start a game this season as he made his second career start ... ASU’s 84 points weree the team’s second highest mark of the season ... The Apps wore their alternate gold uniforms for the second time this season ... Trice averages 24.0 points per game in the gold duds after he scored 27 points against East Carolina in November ... ASU’s 30 free throws made were the most this season.
ASU 84, WCU 72
Score by periods 1st 2nd Total
Western Carolina.... 29 43 72
Appalachian State... 33 51 84
WCU: KING 13, ROSS 3, MUTOMBO 13 (7 REBOUNDS), SUMLER 17, BOGGS 16, COLE 3, SINCLAIR 7. FG: 28-64, 3FG: 4-16, FT: 12-19. 33 REBOUNDS, 14 TURNOVERS, 8 ASSISTS.
ASU: HEALY 7, WILLIAMSON 10 (11 REBOUNDS), HAMILTON 5, TRICE 21, NEAL 10, CARTER 20 (9 REBOUNDS), BUTTS 11. FG: 24-47, 3FG: 6-17, FT: 30-36. 33 REBOUNDS, 14 TURNOVERS, 10 ASSISTS.
Photo Courtesy: Jamaal Trice, by Dave Mayo, ASU Athletics