App Men’s Basketball Belts Georgia State Behind Eaves, Lawson

Published Friday, January 22, 2016 at 3:28 pm
Jacob Lawson (above) threw down an emphatic dunk late in the second half of Appalachian State's 76-67 win over Georgia State on Thursday evening at the Holmes Center. Courtesy: DCMayo (Appalachian, '83)

Jacob Lawson (above) threw down an emphatic dunk late in the second half of Appalachian State’s 76-67 win over Georgia State on Thursday evening at the Holmes Center. Courtesy: DCMayo (Appalachian, ’83)

Frank Eaves (Greensboro, N.C./Page) scored 25 points and Jacob Lawson (Reidsville, N.C./Oak Ridge MIlitary Academy/Purdue) filled the stat sheet with seven points, seven rebounds and four blocked shots to propel Appalachian State University men’s basketball to an impressive 76-67 win over defending Sun Belt Conference champion Georgia State on Thursday evening at the Holmes Center.

Appalachian State (5-13, 3-4 Sun Belt) ran out to a 38-22 halftime advantage and led by as many as 19 points in the second half en route to stunning Georgia State (12-5, 5-3 Sun Belt) at home for the second-straight season. The Mountaineers topped the Sun Belt’s eventual regular-season and tournament champion, 74-69, on Jan. 17 of last year at the Holmes Center.

After snapping a nine-game losing streak, App State has won three of its last four contests, including last Saturday’s lopsided 86-72 win over Sun Belt frontrunner Arkansas State and Thursday’s triumph over GSU. Ronshad Shabazz (Raleigh, N.C./Huntington Prep (W.V.)) joined Eaves with a 20-point effort on 5-of-11 shooting, including 3-for-5 from long range. Chris Burgess (Lakeland, Fla./George Jenkins) also finished in double-figures with 12 points on 4-of-6 shooting and added three threes.

With score close at 11-10 with 13:12 remaining in the first half, App State would engineer a 27-12 run to end the half take a 38-22 lead into halftime.  The Apps would finish on an 11-4 run capped by a Shabazz 28-foot three as time expired giving the Mountaineers big momentum going into the lockerroom. The 22 points for Georgia State were its fewest of the season in a first half.

Out of the break, both teams would trade buckets throughout the opening eight minutes of the second half before Georgia State began to cut the deficit. At the 8:57 mark, the Panthers would cut the App State lead to just eight points at 51-43.  The run from GSU was immediately answered by a Matt O’Boyle (Peoria, Ariz./Sunrise Mountain/Pima Community College) three to go back up by 11.

Holding onto a 10 point lead with 5:42 left, Lawson collected one of his four blocks that brought the App State faithful to their feet. With just 41 seconds to go and the Mountaineers up by just eight points, an Isaiah Dennis turnover would lead to a fastbreak two-handed slam from Lawson that seemingly put the nail in the Panthers coffin.

The Black and Gold also enjoyed another great night at the free throw line and finished 18-for-21 – good for 85.7 percent. Eaves led the way with a perfect 8-for-8, while Shabazz was also a flawless 7-for-7.

Appalachian would go on to win its second-straight game for its first two-game winning streak of the season and back-to-back conference wins.

The Mountaineers will return to action on Saturday, Jan. 23 when they challenge longtime rival Georgia Southern in the Holmes Center. Tipoff is slated for 3:30 p.m.

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