By David Rogers. January 6, 2020. BOONE, NC — Two halves, two performances.
COVER IMAGE: App State freshman forward Kendall Lewis (2) finishes a fast break with a resounding first half dunk. Photographic image by David Rogers for Blowing Rock News.
With a dozen points each in the first half by senior forward Isaac Johnson and junior guard Justin Forrest — and seven more added by senior guard O’Showen Williams — App State men’s basketball took a 14-point lead over Louisiana into intermission at the Holmes Center (Attendance: 907). It was an inspired performance that included outstanding plays at both ends of the court, including fast breaks in transition, slam dunks to finish, and fierce rebounding.
The names on the jerseys were the same, but a different Appalachian State team seemed to take the floor after halftime. Johnson and Williams were shut out in the second half. Forrest added nine to finish with a team-high 21 points, but made only 2-of-6 three-point attempts after intermission on what appeared to be mostly rushed shots and four second half turnovers offset the good. For his part, the often sharpshooting Williams finished the game with his 7 first half points on 2-of-9 shooting from the field, including only hitting on 1-of-6 from long distance. And defense across the board for the Mountaineers faltered in the second half.
Credit Louisiana, though, for its halftime adjustments. Switching defensive schemes worked well against the Mountaineers and the Cajuns’ freshman guard Mylik Wilson built on a credible first half (9 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals) to finish with a game-high 30 points. Add to Wilson’s scoring line at the end of the night’s work: 9 rebounds, 3 assists, 5 steals. His performance included 4-of-8 (50%) shooting from behind the arc, and 75% (6-of-8) from the foul line.
The Cajuns’ starting junior forward Jalen Johnson also played a key role for the visitors, recording a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds. Originally from Dakar, Senegal, junior forward Dou Gueye came off the Cajun bench to score 15 points and clear the boards for 7 assists. Freshman starting guard Calvin Temple contributed another dozen points for Louisiana.
With the loss, at 3-2 in Sun Belt Conference play App State (9-7 overall) is in a 5-way logjam, in 2nd place behind undefeated Little Rock (5-0 SBC, 11-5 overall). Others knotted at 3-2 include Arkansas State (11-5 overall), Coastal Carolina (10-6), Georgia State (10-6) and Georgia Southern (9-7).
With the win, Louisiana improves to 2-3 in Sun Belt play, 7-9 overall.
All Sun Belt scores on Monday:
- Louisiana 81, @Appalachian State 73
- @Coastal Carolina 93, Louisiana-Monroe 64
- @Little Rock 79, Georgia Southern 73
- South Alabama 66, @Texas-Arlington 54
- @Arkansas State 90, Georgia State 87
- Troy 71, @Texas State 63
Sun Belt Conference Standings
- 1. Little Rock (5-0, 11-5 overall)
- T-2. Arkansas State (3-2, 11-5)
- T-2. Coastal Carolina (3-2, 10-6)
- T-2. Georgia State (3-2, 10-6)
- T-2. Appalachian State (3-2, 9-7)
- T-2. Georgia Southern (3-2, 9-7)
- T-7. South Alabama (2-3, 9-7)
- T-7. Louisiana (2-3, 7-9)
- T-7. Louisiana-Monroe (2-3, 6-8)
- T-7. Troy (2-3, 6-10)
- T-11. Texas State (1-4, 8-8)
- T-11. Texas-Arlington (1-4, 5-11)
Selected Game Leaders
- LOU – Mylik Wilson: 30 points. 9 rebounds, 3 assists, 5 steals, 1 block
- LOU – Jalen Johnson: 13 points, 10 rebounds, 1 assist
- LOU – Dou Gueye: 15 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals
- LOU – Cedric Russell: 9 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal
- APP – O’Showen Williams: 7 points, 6 rebounds, 7 assists, 4 steals
- APP – Hunter Seacat: 6 points, 8 rebounds, 2 blocks
- APP – Justin Forrest: 21 points, 4 assists, 1 steal
- APP – Adrian Delph: 14 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists