|Mountaineers Rally Past Samford for Season Sweep|
|Written by Ryan Bower|
|Friday, 28 February 2014 09:56|
A swarming defense and clutch free-throw shooting helped Appalachian State University men’s basketball to a 63-57 road win over Samford in Southern Conference action on Thursday at the Pete Hanna Center.
The Mountaineers (9-19, 5-10 SoCon) forced 25 turnovers and converted their final six shots from the charity stripe to finish off the season sweep of the Bulldogs (11-19, 5-10) in the penultimate game of the regular season.
Appalachian, who trailed by eight points (54-46) with just over seven minutes to go, held Samford scoreless for nearly the remainder of the game as it earned snapped a three-game overall and road losing streaks to take both regular-season meetings against the Bulldogs for the first time since the 2010-11 campaign.
Trailing by its largest deficit of the game, App State ripped off a 15-0 run to seal the victory. After Samford took a 54-46 lead on Raijon Kelly’s three pointer with 7:19 to play, Michael Obacha (Edo State, Nigeria/High Point Christian) got the run started with a free-throw and Aaron Scott (Columbia, S.C./Richland Northeast) erased the deficit for good with a three-point play to tie the game at 54-54 with 1:54 left to play.
A tip-in by Tevin Baskin (Stamford, Conn./Chipola College) one minute later would give the Mountaineers a 56-54 lead and, in the final 28 seconds, Tommy Spagnolo (West Jefferson, N.C./Ashe County) and Frank Eaves (Greensboro, N.C./Page) would go a combined 6-of-6 from the free-throw line to seal the victory.
In a game in which Samford seemed completely unable to hold onto the ball, Appalachian jumped out to a two-point lead (6-4) with 16:52 to go in the first half and forced 18 Bulldog turnovers in the opening period to help stake itself to a 33-30 halftime lead.
Samford rallied in the second half as it held the Mountaineers without a bucket for the opening four-and-a-half minutes of the half and was able to build a sizeable lead over the first 10 minutes as Appalachian missed its first five field-goal attempts and two free throws in the opening moments of the half before Spagnolo connected on a layup to cut the deficit to one point (36-35) with 15:39 to play.
Although the Bulldogs held an eight-point lead with less than eight minutes to play, Samford was unable to overcome its sloppy play as it turned the ball over six times in the final 6:20 and Appalachian took advantage to pick up the win.
Spagnolo paced the Mountaineers with 21 points and 10 rebounds - his eighth double-double in the last 11 games - while Scott finished with 11 off the bench. Obacha finished with nine rebounds, falling just shy of his 12th double-digit rebound effort of the season.
Tim Williams scored a team-high 20 for the Bulldogs while Michael Bradley led all players with 11 rebounds. Isaiah Williams, who entered the game averaging 12.8 points per game, managed to score just five and turned the ball over a whopping six times.
On the night, Appalachian shot 38.2 percent (21-of-55) from the floor while Samford connected at a clip of 43.4 percent (23-of-53), but the Mountaineers outscored the Bulldogs 19-6 at the free-throw line as Samford was whistled for 25 fouls.
Appalachian State wraps up the regular season on Saturday when it faces Chattanooga at McKenzie Arena for a 7 p.m. contest.
NOTES: Appalachian State improved to 8-4 all-time against Samford... the Mountaineers also moved to 129-198 all-time in SoCon road games with one more to play as it finishes its final year in the league... Spagnolo’s eight double-doubles are the most for a Mountaineer since Isaac Butts posted nine during the 2008-09 campaign... Samford’s 25 turnovers where the most for an Appalachian State opponent since UNCG had 26 on Feb. 22, 2007... the turnover total was the highest for any SoCon team this season... Juniors Jay Canty and Mike Neal did not participate in Thursday’s game due to a violation of team rules... neither will play on Saturday at Chattanooga and no timetable has been set for their return.
APPALACHIAN STATE 63, SAMFORD 57
SCORE BY PERIODS 1ST 2ND TOTAL
APPALACHIAN STATE 33 30 - 63
SAMFORD UNIVERSITY 30 27 - 57
ASU: OBACHA 6 (9 REBOUNDS), SPAGNOLO 21 (10 REBOUNDS), HAMILTON 7, BURGESS 2, TONEY 8, BASKIN 4, EAVES 4, SCOTT 11. FG: 21-55, 3FG: 2-8, FT: 19-33. 40 REBOUNDS, 8 ASSISTS, 15 TURNOVERS.
SAMFORD: WILLIAMS 20 (9 REBOUNDS), BRADLEY 9 (11 REBOUNDS), WILLIAMS 5, MILLER 5, ROBERTS 2, HAYMAN 3, WILSON 2, KELLY 6, IKEZU 2, HOOD 3. FG: 23-53, 3FG: 5-15, FT: 6-12. 36 REBOUNDS, 17 ASSISTS, 25 TURNOVERS.
Photo Courtesy: Tommy Spagnolo, ASU Athletics
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