By David Rogers. March 9, 2020. BOONE, NC — Sometimes things just don’t go your way. Then again, other times they do.
COVER IMAGE: Isaac Johnson (0) goes up for two of his team-high 24 points in the second half vs. Coastal Carolina. Photographic image by David Rogers for Blowing Rock News.
Appalachian State men’s basketball experienced both of those “times” Monday night at the Holmes Convocation Center in their Sun Belt Conference Championship Round 2 matchup vs. Coastal Carolina. After digging an early hole for themselves with a 15-point deficit at halftime, the Mountaineers found their mojo in the second half, forcing turnovers and making shots to climb back to a 70-65 win. With the victory, App State earns a trip to San Marcos, TX for a third round tilt against Texas State on Wednesday, 8:00 pm EDT.
With 24 points and 10 rebounds, senior forward Isaac Johnson led a quartet of Mountaineers in double figures in the scoring column. It also marks his eighth double-double of the 2019-2020 season.
The Mountaineers struggled in the first half, shooting just 26.7% from the field, including 1-of-12 from beyond the 3-piont arc and hitting only 5-of-12 (42%) from the charity stripe.
Meanwhile, the visitors from Conway, SC were firing on all cylinders, 55.2% (16-of-29) from the field, including a torrid 5-of-10 (50%) pace from long range.
The Mountaineers were a different team after intermission, shooting 61% from the field (14-of-23) and 38% from behind the 3-point arc.
Johnson was joined in the scoring column by guards O’Showen Williams and Justin Forrest with 13 apiece, and center Hunter Seacat’s 12 points. Williams and Seacat also pulled down six and five rebounds, respectively, while Williams recorded game-highs in assists (6) and steals (4).
Coastal Carolina was led by DeVante Jones’ game-high 29 points, while Tyrell Gumbs-Frater came off the bench to score an even dozen points. Forward Tim Ceaser garnered 11 rebounds.
Turnovers proved costly for the visiting Chanticleers in the decisive second half, committing 11 vs. their hosts’ four. App State also held a 15-4 advantage on fast break points after some of those turnovers were the result of steals, where the Mountaineers poached Coastal possessions seven times.
Appalachian came into Monday night’s contest as the #6 seed in the Sun Belt Conference Championship Tournament and improves its season record to 18-14. This marks the first 18-win season for the Mountaineers since going 24-13 in 2009-10.
Coastal Carolina, the #10 seed, falls to 16-17 on the season.
Appalachian State makes its second trip to San Marcos this season to face Texas State, the #3 seed. The Mountaineers lost to the Bobcats in San Marcos on January 11th, 82-57, but defeated them in Boone on February 8th, 60-57.