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Mountaineers Host Arkansas State in Battle for First Place in the Sun Belt Conference

Adrian Delph had a game-high 24 points in Saturday’s win over Georgia Southern. It was the fourth straight victory for the Mountaineers. Photo courtesy | Appalachian State Athletics

By Nathan Ham

Appalachian State and Arkansas State will each put their winning streaks on the line tonight at the Holmes Convocation Center in Boone. The Mountaineers, winners of four straight Sun Belt Conference games, will take on first-place Arkansas State, who has won three straight SBC contests. 

App State (12-9 overall, 6-2 SBC) are coming off of a 70-62 road win over Georgia Southern on Saturday afternoon. Arkansas State (13-4 overall, 4-1 SBC) will enter play coming off of a 67-60 win over Texas State on Saturday. 

The winner of tonight’s game will hold down first place in the Sun Belt. 

App State senior guard Justin Forrest will most likely join the 2,000-point club tonight as he needs just three points to reach that career milestone. He will be just the third player to ever score 2,000 points in a Mountaineer uniform, joining Ronshad Shabazz (2,067 points from 2015-19) and the program’s all-time leading scorer Donald Sims (2,185 points from 2007-11). 

Leading scorer Adrian Delph is coming off of another outstanding game with 24 points in the win over Georgia Southern. He has now scored at least 20 points in three straight games and in six games overall this season. Delph is third in the Sun Belt in scoring, averaging 17.4 points per game. 

The Arkansas State Red Wolves are led by Norchad Omier. The 6’7 forward from Nicaragua is averaging 17.1 points per game, which is fourth-best in the conference, and leads the Sun Belt in rebounding with 11.3 rebounds per game. Omier has recorded double-doubles in seven straight games, including a 23-point, 13-rebound performance on Saturday. Since last year did not count as a year of eligibility for any college athlete due to COVID-19, Omier is still classified as a freshman, although he appeared in 23 games last year and averaged 12.6 points and 12.3 rebounds per game. 

Arkansas transfer Desi Sills is second on the team in scoring with 14.2 PPG. He leads Arkansas State with nearly two steals per game. 

Senior guard Marquis Eaton is third on the team in scoring at 12.9 PPG and leads the team in three-point shooting, hitting 41.9% of his shots from three-point territory. 

Sophomore guard Caleb Fields averaged 8.5 PPG but is the team leader in assists at 5 APG. 

Tipoff is set for 6:30 p.m. and for those that can’t make it to the game tonight, it will be streamed on ESPN+. This is the 14th meeting between the two schools with App State holding seven wins and Arkansas State holding six wins. The two teams did not play each other last year.