Despite falling into the early 9-0 hole, Appalachian State (8-18, 4-9 SoCon) never trailed by more than 12 points until the final 30 seconds and pulled within three points on two different occasions in the second half. However, the Mountaineers comeback attempt was stunted by 16-of-33 free-throw shooting (48.5 percent) as a team on the evening.
In front of a Senior Night crowd of 2,041, Appalachian missed its first seven field-goal attempts and four free throws before Tevin Baskin (Stamford, Conn./Chipola College) finally snapped the 6:04 game-opening drought with a layup. From there, the Mountaineers made 10 of their next 19 shots to remain in striking distance, trailing just 33-25 at the half.
After the break, App State picked up where it left off at the end of the first half, making five of its first eight shots and cutting the deficit to 39-36 on Jay Cantys (Jamestown, N.C./Oak Ridge Military) three-point play with 14:26 to go in the game.
After Western Carolina extended its lead to eight, a Ty Toney (Alpharetta, Ga./Alpharetta) layup and an Aaron Scott (Columbia, S.C./Richland Northeast) three-pointer pulled the Mountaineers back within three at 48-45 with 10:43 still left on the clock. However, WCU scored the next five points to push its advantage back to eight and Appalachian didnt get closer than four the rest of the way.
Tommy Spagnolo (West Jefferson, N.C./Ashe County) led the way once again for the Mountaineers, scoring 18 points and pulling down 11 rebounds for his sixth double-double in the last nine games. Toney scored 12 points and dished out a team-high three assists and Baskin added in 11 points and six rebounds in his final home game to round out three Mountaineers in double-figures.
James Sinclair scored 17 points on 6-of-11 shooting to pace Western Carolina (16-12, 9-4 SoCon), who clinched a first-round bye in the upcoming Southern Conference Tournament.
Appalachian State returns to action on Saturday when it visits Furman for a 2 p.m. tip.
NOTES: Appalachian State dropped to 117-70 all-time against Western Carolina and 64-23 when facing the Catamounts at home... WCU swept the season series for the first time since the 2010-11 campaign... Thursday was Appalachians final home game as a member of the Southern Conference as it will join the Sun Belt next year... the Mountaineers finished 201-121 all-time in SoCon home games... the record includes a 129-73 mark at Varsity Gym (1972-2000) and a 72-48 record at the Holmes Center (2000-14)... Appalachians free-throw percentage was its lowest since it connected on just 44.4 percent (9-of-22) in a 73-66 loss to Campbell on Nov. 12... the 9.1 percent (1-of-11) from beyond the arc was the teams lowest since hitting just 1-of-18 (5.6 percent) in an 85-59 win over Longwood on Jan. 31, 2005... Toneys 35 minutes were a career-high... Tab Hamilton (Winston-Salem, N.C./Fishburne Military) saw his string of five-straight games in double figures come to an end.
WESTERN CAROLINA 74, APPALACHIAN STATE 61
SCORE BY PERIODS 1ST 2ND TOTAL
WESTERN CAROLINA 33 41 - 74
APPALACHIAN STATE 25 36 - 61
WCU: HALL 3, KING 4, SUMLER 14 (6 ASSISTS), BOGGS 8, SINCLAIR 17 (7 REBOUNDS), TANKELEWICZ 16, BROWN 6, BRUMMITT 2, MENDENHALL 2, BROWNING 2. FG: 25-51, 3FG: 5-13, FT: 19-22. 37 REBOUNDS, 14 ASSISTS, 14 TURNOVERS.
ASU: BASKIN 11 (6 REBOUNDS), SPAGNOLO 18 (11 REBOUNDS), HAMILTON 4, TONEY 12, OBACHA 2, GILBERT 2, SCOTT 3, CANTY 9. FG: 25-52, 3FG: 1-11, FT: 16-33. 34 REBOUNDS, 7 ASSISTS, 14 TURNOVERS.
Photo Courtesy: Tommy Spagnolo, ASU Athletics