By David Rogers. November 7, 2019. BOONE, NC — When App State’s Isaac Johnson broke fast for the offensive lane and slammed home a dunk to put the Mountaineers up, 13-2, over the Ferrum Panthers with 15:45 remaining in the first half, everyone in the Holmes Center Thursday night was pretty confident that the rout was on. It’s relatively rare, after all, for a tiny NCAA Division III school (enrollment: 1,500) to prevail over an NCAA Division I university (enrollment: 19,108), even if the Mountaineers are not known for their basketball prowess, especially in recent years.
COVER IMAGE: App State freshman guard/forward Donovan Gregory sails up and over to the basket. Photographic image by Bill Barbour for Blowing Rock News
As it was, Appalachian State built on the momentum they established Tuesday in Ann Arbor, MI, when they rallied from a 30-point deficit to pull within three points of the fabled Michigan Wolverines. History will show that first-year Mountaineer head coach Dustin Kerns guided his team to victory in the 2019-20 home opener, 83-56.
Junior guard Justin Forrest finished with a game-high 17 points, six rebounds and three steals. Johnson nearly posted his first double-double of the young season, with 15 points and nine rebounds.
A total of five Mountaineers finished in double figures, scoring. In addition to Forrest and Johnson, O’Showen Williams ended the game with 13 points, Donovan Gregory with 10, and James Lewis, Jr. with 10.
The only player in double figures for the Panthers was Kajuan Madden-McAfee, coming off the bench, in only about 19 and a half minutes of court time.
If there was a surprise in this game that featured several size mismatches in favor of the Mountaineers, it is that the Panthers were successful in bringing down 20 offensive rebounds, almost half of the total number (44).
App State returns to action next Tuesday against another Division I opponent, East Carolina. The Pirates opened their 2019-20 campaign on Tuesday at home with a win over VMI, but look to be challenged by Navy on Friday, Nov. 8th, in Annapolis, MD before going on the road to face the Mountaineers.
Although App State considers the Ferrum matchup a regular season game, Ferrum’s website refers to the game as a preseason scrimmage. The Panthers open their “regular” season at home against Methodist on Wednesday, Nov. 13th.