Home Sports College and University STOLE THE GOLD: App State steals hoops gold from 49ers, 64-55

STOLE THE GOLD: App State steals hoops gold from 49ers, 64-55

App State head coach Dustin Kerns (center) has a teaching moment in the second half. Photographic image by Braxton Critcher for Blowing Rock News

By David Rogers. November 21, 2019. BOONE, NC — After Appalachian State men’s basketball 64-55 defeat of Charlotte on Thursday night at the Holmes Center in front of one of the biggest crowds in recent years, AppNation was scratching their heads. Could the Mountaineers really be this good?

COVER IMAGE: O’Showen Williams (4) finishes a fast break layup. Photographic image by Bill Barbour for Blowing Rock News, processed and edited by David Rogers

The Queen City visitors were coming off back to back home wins over Davidson (71-58) and Wake Forest (67-65) after respectable losses to Georgia (69-77) and James Madison (74-79). Given App State’s struggles the last few years, few expected THIS: a dominating Mountaineer victory over an on-again, off-again basketball stalwart like Charlotte.

Jordan Shepherd (13) maneuvers around App State defenders. Photographic image by David Rogers for Blowing Rock News.

But win they did. Appalachian head coach Dustin Kerns explained to reporters later that a basic strategy is to “pack the paint” and force opponents to shoot over the Mountaineer defenders. And in defending the long-range shots, he said the coaches advise the players to “…jump high. Don’t jump long.” If you jump long, or at a defender, you more frequently will make contact with the shooter and draw a foul, he said.

Appalachian’s Isaac Johnson throws down a resounding dunk — and catches the rim. Photographic image by Bill Barbour for Blowing Rock News, processed and edited by David Rogers

Whatever the Mountaineers were doing defensively was working, most of the time. Although the 49ers senior guard Jordan Shepherd shot a game-high 19 points, he was only 1-of-5 from behind the 3-point arc. As a team, Charlotte only made 19% (4-of-21 attempts) of its three-point tries.

Hunter Seacat slams one home for the Mountaineers. Photographic image by Bill Barbour for Blowing Rock News, processed and edited by David Rogers

After both teams struggled to open the game — it was 6-5 in favor of App State until almost eight minutes had ticked off the game clock — the Mountaineers began to pull away after sophmore guard Adrian Delph drove the lane and swiched hands in mid-air for a reverse layup. A lost ball turnover by Charlotte’s Tyler Bertram on the outside was stolen by APP’s O’showen Williams. The senior guard then dribbled the length of the court for another layup. Just like that, in space of 19 seconds, Appalachian had jumped out to 10-5 lead.

Freshman forward Kendall Lewis (2) attacks the basket. Photographic image by Braxton Critcher for Blowing Rock News, processed and edited by David Rogers

The Mountaineers’ surging momentum turned real over the course of the remaining first half, fueled largely by Charlotte turnovers and missed shots that were capitalized on by App State, complemented by blocked shots and steals.

By intermission, Appalachian held a commanding, 30-17 lead, a first half performance that included a 20-4 advantage in points scored inside and a 6-2 edge in fast break points.

Isaac Johnson (0) tries one from the outside. Photographic image by David Rogers for Blowing Rock News

Although Charlotte made a serious enough run late in the second half to make at least a few among the 2,203 in attendance nervous (Appalachian’s 18-point lead with 7:32 remaining in the game got whittled down to just six points with 37 seconds left on the game clock), the Mountaineers made three crucial free throws in the last half-minute and forced Charlotte’s players to take awkward shots that missed.

Williams and Delph were the scoring leaders for App State with 18 and 15 points, respectively. The season’s early scoring leader, Justin Forrest, was noticeably quiet in this game, but had an impact elsewhere on the scorecard, recording five crucial defensive rebounds, a steal, and three assists.

Charlotte (2-2 overall, 0-0 in C-USA) continues its pre-conference schedule with another Sun Belt Conference opponent on November 27th, at Georgia State. Appalachian State (4-3 overall, 0-0 Sun Belt) plays again next Tuesday, at East Tennessee State (3-1 overall, 0-0 SoCon).

STAT LEADERS

Scoring

  • CLT – Jordan Shepherd (19)
  • APP – O’showen Williams (18)
  • APP – Adrian Delph (15)
  • APP – Isaac Johnson (9)
  • CLT – Drew Edwards (8)
  • CLT – Cooper Robb (8)
  • APP – Michael Bibby (7)
  • CLT – Amidou Bamba (7)
  • APP – Hunter Seacat (6)
  • APP – Kendall Lewis (6)

Rebounding

  • APP – Adrian Delph (8)
  • APP – Isaac Johnson (6)
  • APP – O’showen Williams (6)
  • CLT – Jordan Shepherd (6)
  • APP – Justin Forrest (5)
  • CLT – Jahmir Young (5)
  • CLT – Cooper Robb (4)

Assists

  • CLT – Jordan Shepherd (6)
  • APP – Justin Forrest (3)

Steals

  • APP – O’showen Williams (3)
  • APP – Adrian Delph (3)
  • CLT – Jahmir Young (3)
  • CLT – Malik Martin (2)

SELECTED TEAM STATS

  • FG% — APP 39%, CLT 37%
  • FGs — APP 21-54, CLT 18-49
  • 3FG% — APP 21%, CLT 19%
  • 3FGs — APP 6-28, CLT 4-21
  • FT% — APP 64%, CLT 83%
  • FTs — APP 16-25, CLT 15-18
  • Turnovers — APP 13, CLT 17
  • Total Rebounds — APP 37, CLT 32
  • Bench Points – APP 19, CLT 16
  • Steals — APP 10, CLT 6
  • Fast Break Points — APP 17, CLT 5

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