Appalachian State University men’s basketball forced overtime with an 8-1 run over the final 1:23 of regulation but dropped a heartbreaking 77-73 decision to UNC Greensboro on Thursday evening at the Greensboro Coliseum. In what was a wild game from the
opening tip, Appalachian (8-11, 4-5 SoCon) began the contest with an 11-2 run and led by as many as 17 points late in the first half, only to see UNCG take a seven-point lead at 63-56 with just 1:28 left to play in regulation.
However, spurred by a three-pointer from Greensboro native Mike Neal (Greensboro, N.C./Oak Ridge Military) and five clutch free throws by Omar Carter (Charlotte, N.C./Charleston Southern), including two with 14.4 seconds on the clock, ASU erased the Spartans’ seven-point advantage and sent the contest to overtime knotted at 64-64.
Unfortunately for the Mountaineers, UNCG jumped out to a four-point lead less than a minute into the extra period on four free throws and never relinquished the advantage. Highlighting the frustrating extra period for the Apps, ASU missed short jumpers on back-to-back possessions after it pulled within three points with under two minutes to play.
The Mountaineers closed the deficit to 75-73 on a Tab Hamilton (Winston-Salem, N.C./Fishburne Military) layup with three seconds left but Greensboro’s Darrell Armstrong sealed the Spartans’ fifth-straight victory with a pair of free throws, prompting UNCG’s student body to storm the court in celebration of moving to 7-14 (5-4 SoCon).
The overtime affair was Appalachian’s first since an 80-78 triumph over UNCG at Greensboro Coliseum on Feb. 2 of last season. The setback was ASU’s first at the Coliseum since Jan. 8, 2001, snapping a three-game winning streak at the venerable venue.
On his 24th birthday, Carter scored 19 points and pulled down seven rebounds to lead ASU. Andre Williamson (Dayton, Ohio/Prince George) chipped in 13 points, eight rebounds and a career-high-tying five blocked shots while Jamaal Trice’s (Los Angeles, Calif./Midland College) 11 points and Hamilton’s 10 rounded out four Mountaineers in double-figures.
Armstrong and Trevis Simpson led UNCG with 27 and 24 points, respectively.
Appalachian returns to action on Saturday when it hosts Southern Conference North Division leader Elon. Tipoff is set for 2 p.m. at the Holmes Center. For every ticket sold to Saturday’s game, ASU athletics will donate $1 to the Watauga Education Foundation in support of Watauga County Schools.
UNCG 77, ASU 73 (OT)
SCORE BY PERIODS 1ST 2ND OT TOTAL
APPALACHIAN STATE... 32 32 9 73
UNC-GREENSBORO...... 26 38 13 77
ASU: HEALY 2, TRICE 11, WILLIAMSON 13 (8 REBOUNDS), HAMILTON 10, NEAL 8, VILARINO 2, CARTER 19 (7 REBOUNDS), BUTTS 8. FG: 22-50, 3FG: 7-18, FT: 22-32. 33 REBOUNDS, 20 TURNOVERS, 11 ASSISTS.
UNCG: WILLIAMS 3 (5 REBOUNDS), BRACKET 5 (5 REBOUNDS), VAN DUSSEN 6, SIMPSON 24, ARMSTRONG 27 (8 REBOUNDS), RANDALL 2, HOFFER 10. FG: 27-63, 3FG: 5-17, FT: 18-27. 40 REBOUNDS, 15 TURNOVERS, 9 ASSISTS.
Photo Courtesy: Omar Carter, by Dave Mayo, ASU Athletics