By David Rogers. November 7, 2017. BOONE, NC — As basketball games go, it was a blowout win, 126-71, but as the only “exhibition” contest on Appalachian State men’s basketball schedule, the victory over an outmanned Warren Wilson College side provided some glimpses of the Mountaineers’ depth and potential for the 2017 season.
COVER IMAGE: Ronshad Shabazz (2) leaps to basket for layup. Photographic image by David Rogers for Blowing Rock News
It was no surprise that App State junior Ronshad Shabazz sparkled, tying the Owls’ Michael Pomeroy for game-high honors in scoring, with 23 points. Perhaps the most impressive Mountaineer performances came from returning junior forward Tyrell Johnson (13 points, 12 rebounds, 2 blocked shots) and newcomers Justin Forrest (freshman, 15 points) and O’Showen Williams (sophomore, 15 points, 8 assists, 4 steals).
A total of seven Mountaineers finished the night in double figures for scoring. Sophomore Zach Cottrell added 10, junior Kevin Kerley contributed 11, and junior Bennett Holley poured in 13.
App State head coach Jim Fox has moved Shabazz to point guard, but has Williams coming off the bench in that role and was quick to point out for reporters afterwards that the sophomore from Macon, Georgia can give his starter a rest and the team hardly seems to skip a beat.
On this night, although admittedly against a smaller opponent in the Owls, App State’s big men dominated inside the paint. Sophomore forward Isaac Johnson recorded 9 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, and a steal, while senior forward Griffin Kinney cleaned the boards for 7 rebounds and 6 points.
If there was a major disappointment in the Mountaineers’ early season performance, it was in free throw shooting. They shot just 72.2% from the charity stripe in the first half, and only 47.6% in the second half for a combined 59% (23-of-39).
Sophomore forward Isaac Johnson makes an acrobatic move to the basket. Photographic image by David Rogers for Blowing Rock News