Appalachian State University men’s basketball got off to a quick start, but was unable to overcome a late Chattanooga surge in a heartbreaking 91-88 overtime loss to its Southern Conference rival on Thursday at The McKenzie Arena. The
Mountaineers (7-9, 3-2 SoCon) dropped their sixth-straight road game to the Mocs (8-10, 3-2) and saw their five-game winning streak come to a bitter end.
Nathan Healy set the tone early for the Apps by drilling a three-pointer on the squad’s first possession of the game, spurring a barrage of shots from deep by the Mountaineers, who were 7-of-13 from beyond the arc in the first half.
After UTC’s Dontay Hampton hit a layup at the 15:34 mark of the first half to draw the Mocs within two points (12-10), Appalachian reeled off a 10-2 run that gave it a 10-point cushion (22-12) with just under 12 minutes on the clock.
Chattanooga put a stop to the run on Drazen Zlovaric’s jumper with 10:43 remaining, but back-to-back threes from Jamaal Trice and Tab Hamilton gave the Mountaineers their largest lead of the half at 28-16 with 9:35 to play. Appalachian would go cold from there as it did not connect on another field goal until Mike Neal hit a three at the 3:12 mark. The Mocs took advantage of the long scoring drought as they reeled off an 11-1 run during that stretch to tie the game at 29-29 before Neal’s bucket, but App State ended the half on a 9-1 run to take a 38-30 lead into the locker room.
The Mocs were able to cut the deficit to six points (38-32) on a fastbreak layup to begin the second half, but Jay Canty responded with a layup of his own just seconds later. The bucket spurred an 11-2 run by the Mountaineers, who extended the lead to a comfortable 15 points (49-34) with 15:12 to go.
Appalachian would extend its lead to as many as 19 points (64-45) with 6:36 on the clock when the Mocs would begin an improbable run that would erase the deficit and send the game to overtime. The Mocs used intense defensive pressure to force several Appalachian State turnovers over the final six minutes of regulation as it pulled within six points (70-64) with 3:17 on the clock. After falling behind by three points (78-75) in the final 30 seconds, the Mocs would get a second life when Hamilton nailed a desperation three to tie the game and Neal’s last-second shot fell short.
An intense overtime period followed as the teams traded blows to begin the extra period before Hampton gave Chattanooga its first lead of the contest (83-82) when he banked in a three with 3:28 left to play. After falling behind by four points (89-85) in the final 30 seconds, Healy would pull Appalachian within one when he connected from long range, but the Mocs converted crucial free throws down the stretch to come away with the win.
Healy paced the Mountaineers with 22 points and 10 rebounds while Hamilton poured in 21. Canty finished with 19 points, six boards and five assists and Tevin Baskin scored 11 off the bench.
Chattanooga was led by a game-high 23 points and 11 rebounds from Z. Mason while Hampton came off the bench to score 22. The Mocs shot 43.1 percent (31-of-72) from the floor while the Mountaineers shot 46.9 percent (30-of-64) including 12-of-20 from beyond the arc.
Appalachian State returns to action when it travels to Samford for an 8 p.m. matchup on Saturday at the Pete Hanna Center.
GAME NOTES: Appalachian State dropped to 30-43 all-time against Chattanooga... Appalachian had at least four players score in double figures for the third-straight game... the Mountaineers fell to 5-2 when leading at the half this season... Chattanooga finished with a 44-34 edge in points in the paint, a 20-13 advantage on points off turnovers and a 20-10 edge in second chance points.
UTC 91, ASU 88 (OT)
Score by periods 1st 2nd OT Total
Appalachian State 38 40 10 - 88
Chattanooga 30 48 13 - 91
ASU: OBACHA 6, HEALY 22 (10 REBOUNDS), CANTY 19 (6 REBOUNDS, 5 ASSISTS), HAMILTON 21, NEAL 6 (7 ASSISTS), BASKIN 11 (7 REBOUNDS), TRICE 3. FG: 30-64, 3FG: 12-26, FT: 16-23. 39 REBOUNDS, 21 ASSISTS, 16 TURNOVERS.
THREE-POINTERS: HAMILTON 5, HEALY 4, NEAL 2, TRICE.
UTC: ZLOVARIC 6, MASON 23 (11 REBOUNDS), WHITE 17 (4 ASSISTS), McGHEE 8 (5 ASSISTS), COBB 2, HAMPTON 22, WATSON 5, ROBERTSON 2, BRYANT 2. FG: 31-72, 3FG: 8-25, FT: 21-28. 45 REBOUNDS, 17 ASSISTS, 12 TURNOVERS.
THREE-POINTERS: HAMPTON 5, MASON 2, McGHEE.
Photo Courtesy: Jay Canty, ASU Athletics