A 17-5 run to close the first half proved to be the difference in Appalachian State University men's basketball 78-70 win over Presbyterian on Saturday afternoon at the Holmes Center. With the victory, Appalachian State (3-8) enters an eight-
day Christmas break with wins in two of its last three games. Presbyterian, whose ledger includes losses to Clemson, Georgia Tech, Creighton, Wisconsin and Tennessee, fell to 2-10.
The game was close throughout much of the first half until Appalachian went on the 17-5 run over the final 3:48 of the period to stretch a three-point lead into a commanding 44-29 halftime advantage. Hot shooting from three-point range and a big advantage on the boards helped stake the Mountaineers to 15-point halftime lead. The Apps shot 51.9 percent from the field, including a blistering 53.8 percent (7-of-13) from beyond the three-point arc, and outrebounded the Blue Hose, 19-8, in the opening 20 minutes.
In the second half, it was Presbyterian's turn to light it up from beyond the arc, as the Blue Hose made 7-of-12 three-pointers (58.3 percent) after the break and pulled within four points with less than 30 seconds to go on Jordan Downing's fourth trey of the game. However, Appalachian's Tevin Baskin drained 4-of-4 free throws down the stretch to seal the triumph.
Baskin's clinching free throws capped a terrific performance for the junior-college transfer from Stamford, Conn. In 28 minutes off the bench, Baskin matched team highs with 16 points and eight rebounds and added two steals, a block and an assist while making 9-of-10 shots from the charity stripe. Senior Nathan Healy also had 16 points on 7-of-13 shooting and grabbed eight rebounds for the Mountaineers.
Jamaal Trice also scored 12 points in a reserve role to help stake the Apps to a 37-18 advantage in points off the bench. Mike Neal rounded out four Mountaineers in double-figures with 10 points.
Presbyterian was led by a game-high 21 points from Jordan Downing, who nailed 4-of-9 shots from beyond the arc. Khalid Mutakabbier scored 11 points but no other Blue Hose player finished with more than nine.
The Mountaineers grabbed 34 rebounds while Presbyterian snagged just 24 and was limited to two offensive boards. On the day, Appalachian shot 43.4 percent (23-of-53) from the floor while the Blue Hose connected on 47.8 percent (22-of-46) of their shots.
Appalachian State returns to action when it plays host to Milligan at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 30 at the Holmes Center.
GAME NOTES: Appalachian improved to 10-1 all-time against Presbyterian... the Mountaineers have won seven-straight contests against the Blue Hose... Baskin scored in double figures for the third-straight game... the Mountaineers outscored the Blue Hose 16-2 on second-chance points and 37-18 in bench points.
ASU 78, PRESBYTERIAN 70
Score by periods 1st 2nd Total
Presbyterian 29 41 - 70
Appalachian State 44 34 - 78
PC: TRUSS 4, McTAVISH 9, DOWNING 21 (5 REBOUNDS), MUTAKABBIR 11, WASHINGTON 7 (6 ASSISTS), CLYBURN 8 (5 REBOUNDS), ANDERSON 2, HARGRAVE 8. FG: 22-46, 3FG: 10-21, FT: 16-18. 24 REBOUNDS, 12 ASSISTS, 16 TURNOVERS.
THREE-POINTERS: DOWNING 4, McTAVISH 3, MUTAKABBIR, WASHINGTON, HARGRAVE.
ASU: HEALY 15 (8 REBOUNDS), CANTY 8 (3 ASSISTS), HAMILTON 7, NEAL 10 (3 ASSISTS), BASKIN 16 (8 REBOUNDS), BURGESS 9, TRICE 12. FG: 23-53, 32FG: 9-22, FT: 23-30. 34 REBOUNDS, 10 ASSISTS, 10 REBOUNDS.
THREE-POINTERS: HEALY 2, TRICE 2, BURGESS, CANTY, HAMILTON, BASKIN, NEAL.
Photo Courtesy: Jamaal Trice, ASU Athletics