Frank Eaves took center stage at Madison Square Garden with a career high 38 points, including 24 in the second half, but it would not be enough for Appalachian State University men’s basketball and they would fall 86-80 to Hofstra on Sunday afternoon.
Eaves would shoot a remarkable 13-of-21 from the floor including another stellar night from three-point range as he knocked down 6-of-12 from long range. The senior guard also finished 6-for-7 from the charity stripe.
Chris Burgess and Ronshad Shabazz both finished in double-figures with 10 points a piece. Jacob Lawson grabbed nine boards to lead the Mountaineers (2-6), while Tyrell Johnson turned in a solid performance with eight points and six rebounds. App State would get it going early offensively and with the score in its favor at 11-10, the Mountaineers would engineer a 10-0 run to open up a 21-13 lead with 11:44 left in the first half. The run was keyed by a Shabazz three-pointer and included buckets from Jake Babic, Johnson and Eaves.
The Mountaineers would keep the Pride at a distance over the next couple of minutes, but Hofstra went on a 8-0 run to cut the App State lead to one at 26-25. App State would go back up by as much as four, but would go into halftime with a 36-34 advantage. At the break, Eaves was leading all scorers with 14 points.
It wouldn’t take the Pride long to regain the lead in the second half and at the 17:35 mark a layup from Ameen Tanksley put Hofstra ahead 43-42. Beginning at the 17:31 mark, the game would see six lead changes in the next 4:59 and would be tied 55-55 with 12:32 remaining in the game. During the see-saw battle, the Mountaineers got a three from Burgess and a thunderous dunk from Johnson.
After two Johnson free throws knotted the score, Hofstra constructed a 7-0 run to take a 62-55 lead and was capped by a Brian Bernardi triple. Bernardi led the Pride with 23 points in the game.
Appalachian was down as many as eight points with 6:21 left in the game, but made a ferocious comeback. Down 73-65, App State would get to within two points at 74-72 on an effecient 7-1 run that took just 1:33 off the clock. Eaves got it started with a three-pointer and it included a Lawson dunk and was capped off with an Eaves layup.
App State wouldn’t be able to get over the hump and Hofstra would outscore the Apps 12-10 to finish the game. Hofstra committed just seven turnovers all game and outscored the Mountaineers 8-0 in points off turnovers.
Appalachian State will return to the floor on Tuesday, Dec. 15 when it travels to Austin, Texas for a showdown with the Texas Longhorns. Tipoff is slated for 8 p.m. EST on the Longhorn Network.