A slow start on offense and a hot-shooting Duquesne squad was too much to overcome as Appalachian State University mens basketball suffered a 79-55 loss on Thursday at the A.J. Palumbo Center.
The Mountaineers (4-9) led just once in ballgame as the Dukes (7-5) rolled to their fourth-straight victory and defeated Appalachian for the second-straight time.
After Chris Burgess (Lakeland, Fla./George Jenkins) hit a three on App States opening possession to make it 3-2, Duquesne took control and scored four-straight to make it 6-3 with 17:06 to play in the first half.
The Mountaineers were able to cut the deficit to one point (6-5) when Tab Hamilton (Winston-Salem, N.C./Fishburne Military) connected on a jumper at the 16:34 mark, but it was all the closer that Appalachian would get as the Dukes dominated the rest of the game.
TraVaughn Whites bucket with 13:33 on the clock gave Duquesne its first double-digit lead of the game (18-8) and the Mountaineers were held scoreless for over four minutes midway through the half, a stretch which allowed the Dukes to turn an eight-point lead (23-15) into a 17-point lead (32-15).
Duquesne ended the final five minutes of the half on a 12-2 run to take a 49-24 lead into the locker room. The Dukes connected on 12-of-16 free throws in the first half and held Appalachian to just 29.4 percent from the floor en route to the 15-point halftime lead.
Despite playing better on both ends of the floor in the second half, the Mountaineers were never really able to mount a serious run as Duquesne led by as many as 28 points (59-31) and never saw its lead drop below 19 points.
Hamilton led Appalachian with18 points while Jay Canty (Jamestown, N.C./Xavier/Oak Ridge Military) added 12 in his season debut. Burgess also tallied 12 points and Tommy Spagnolo (West Jefferson, N.C./Radford/Ashe County) finished with a game-high 10 rebounds.
Duquesne was paced by a game-high 22 points from Ovie Soko, who finished 8-of-11 at the charity stripe and grabbed a team-best eight rebounds. White scored 14 points off the bench and grabbed six boards while Dominique McKoy finished with 10 points, six rebounds and four assists.
The Dukes shot 46.8 percent (29-of-62) from the floor and made 15-of-25 free throws while the Mountaineers connected on just 31.3 percent (20-of-64) of their shots. Duquesne finished with a 52-30 edge in rebounds and dished out 22 assists while forcing 14 App State turnovers.
Appalachian State opens Southern Conference play when it travels to Elon on Monday at 7 p.m. before hosting SoCon foe UNCG on Jan. 9 at 7 p.m. inside the Holmes Center.
NOTES: The Mountaineers dropped to 1-2 all-time against Duquesne... Appalachian also dropped its seventh-straight road contest... the Apps fell to 6-14 against current members of the Atlantic 10... Spagnolo tied his career high in rebounds... he has now recorded three 10-rebound games this season... the Mountaineers were outscored 38-14 in the paint... Duquesne had 32 bench points to Appalachians 20... the 55 points were the fewest for the Mountaineers since an 87-52 loss at Davidson on Feb. 9, 2013... Canty played 30 minutes in his first game action of the season... he had missed the first 12 games (academically ineligible)... Duquesnes 52 rebounds were the most for an Appalachian State opponent since San Jose State grabbed 51 on Nov. 16, 2007.
DUQUESNE 79, APPALACHIAN STATE 55
Score by periods 1st 2nd Total
Appalachian State 24 31 - 55
Duquesne 49 30 - 79
ASU: OBACHA 4 (7 REBOUNDS), CANTY 12, HAMILTON 18, BURGESS 12, NEAL 2 (5 ASSISTS), BASKIN 3, SPAGNOLO 4 (10 REBOUNDS). FG: 20-64, 3FG: 8-23, FT: 7-10. 33 REBOUNDS, 12 ASSISTS, 14 TURNOVERS.
DUQUESNE: SOKO 22 (8 REBOUNDS), McKOY 10 (4 ASSISTS, 6 REBOUNDS), JEREMIAH JONES 4, MASON 9 (6 REBOUNDS), WHITE 14 (6 REBOUNDS), JERRY JONES 4, WATKINS 4, RIDENOUR 5, GILL 3, LEWIS 2. FG: 29-62, 3FG: 6-16, FT: 15-25. 52 REBOUNDS, 22 ASSISTS, 12 TURNOVERS.
Photo Courtesy: Jay Canty, ASU Athletics