Appalachian State University mens basketball led by as many as 18 points early in the second half but UNC Greensboro rallied to top the Mountaineers, 66-61, on Thursday evening at Greensboro Coliseum.
Appalachian State (6-14, 2-5 SoCon) appeared to be en route to its third-straight win when it took a 41-23 lead on two free throws by Mike Neal (Greensboro, N.C./Oak Ridge Military) with 18:07 to go in the ballgame.
The Mountaineers still led by 12 with less than 14 minutes to go before UNCGs Jordan Potts almost single-handedly pulled the Spartans back into the game, making six-straight three-pointers over a 5:21 span, the last of which gave UNCG a 56-55 lead with 8:38 left to play.
The lead changed hands four times in the next three minutes but Appalachian went cold down the stretch, making just one of its final 10 field goals to allow the Spartans to close the game on a back-breaking 8-2 run.
Appalachian limited UNCG (11-12, 4-4 SoCon) to just 21 points on 7-of-28 shooting in the first half to jump out to a commanding 34-21 halftime lead. However, the Spartans made 17-of-30 shots in the second half to steal the win.
The story of the game was Potts, who scored all of his game-high 24 points on eight three-pointers, including the six-straight treys that turned UNCGs 12-point deficit into a one-point lead midway through the second half. Kyle Cain chipped in with 14 points and 15 rebounds to help pace Spartans.
Tommy Spagnolo (West Jefferson, N.C./Ashe County) led Appalachian State with a team-high 15 points and game-high 17 rebounds (both career highs). Frank Eaves (Greensboro, N.C./Page) added 10 points in his hometown, all of them coming in the first half. Michael Obacha (Edo State, Nigeria/High Point Christian) chipped in with 10 rebounds, including a game-high four on the offensive boards.
Appalachian State returns home on Saturday to face Southern Conference preseason favorite Elon (11-11, 4-3 SoCon). Tipoff is set for 2 p.m. at the Holmes Center.
NOTES: Appalachian State and UNCG have split their last 10 meetings UNCGs 21 first-half points were the fewest allowed by Appalachian in an opening period since Lees-McRae also managed just 21 points in the first half of the 2011 season opener however, the Spartans 43 second-half points were the second-most that the Mountaineers have surrendered this season the Mountaineers put together 8-0 and 9-0 runs in the first half after scoring on its first possession of the game, UNCG went 9:25 before it made its second field goal Tevin Baskin (Stamford, Conn./Trinity Catholic), who has been battling a knee injury, played for the first time in two weeks and had four points during the Mountaineers 15-3 spurt to close the first half Appalachian out-rebounded UNCG 28-16 in the first half and 45-39 for the game.
UNC-GREENSBORO 66, APPALACHIAN STATE 61
Score by periods 1st 2nd Total
Appalachian State 34 27 - 61
UNC-Greensboro 21 45 - 66
ASU: OBACHA 3 (10 REBOUNDS), SPAGNOLO 15 (17 REBOUNDS), HAMILTON 8, BURGESS 7, NEAL 8 (7 ASSISTS), KOBANI 4, BASKIN 4, EAVES 10, TONEY 2. FG: 23-67, 3FG: 7-24, FT: 8-12. 45 REBOUNDS, 11 ASSISTS, 9 TURNOVERS.
UNCG: LOCKE 3, CAIN 14 (15 REBOUNDS), SADDLER 10 (7 REBOUNDS), PAULOS 2, BALDWIN 4, POTTS 26, WHITE 6 (7 REBOUNDS), OUTLAW 1. FG: 24-58, 3FG: 9-20, FT: 9-17. 40 REBOUNDS, 8 ASSISTS, 10 TURNOVERS.
Photo Courtesy: Tommy Spagnolo, ASU Athletics