March 2, 2013. Nathan Healy and Jamaal Trice combined for 33 points in their final home games to help lead Appalachian State University men’s basketball to a convincing 86-60 win over Chattanooga on Saturday at the Holmes Center.
The Mountaineers (14-15, 10-8 SoCon) clinched a first-round bye in next week’s Southern Conference Tournament with the victory over the Mocs (13-18, 8-10).
Despite scoring the first bucket of the game, Chattanooga could not stop an onslaught of three-pointers from Appalachian, which quickly erased a 2-0 deficit to go up by 10 points (19-9) less than eight minutes into the first half.
The Mocs would never challenged the Mountaineers after that as App State grabbed its first 20-point lead (32-12) with 9:08 still to play in the first half and stretched the lead to 25 points (55-30) on a buzzer-beating three from Tevin Baskin to end the first half.
Healy scored 16 of his 20 points in the first half while Jay Canty poured in 17 of his game-high 27 in the first 20 minutes of play. As a squad, the Apps shot 56.3 percent (18-of-32) in the first half, including 9-of-16 from beyond the arc and 10-of-14 at the free-throw line.
Appalachian continued to pour it on early in the second half, extending the lead to 34 points twice in the first four minutes of action. Chattanooga was able to cut the lead to 25 points (80-55) with 5:31 on the clock, but the Mountaineers cruised to victory to lock up the No. 4 seed in the SoCon Tournament.
Canty led all players in scoring on 10-of-15 shooting while grabbing five rebounds and dishing out four assists. Healy notched a double-double with 20 points and 14 rebounds while Trice added 13 points. Mike Neal dished out a career-high 10 assists and committed just three turnovers.
The Mocs were paced by a team-high 16 points from Casey Jones while Ronrico White added 10 and Z. Mason fell just shy of a double-double with nine points and 10 rebounds.
On the day, the Mountaineers knocked down 48.2 percent (27-of-56) of their shots including a 12-of-26 mark from long range and a 20-of-27 effort at the charity stripe. Chattanooga shot 42.0 percent (21-of-50) from the floor, but went just 15-of-32 (46.9 percent) from the free throw line.
Appalachian State will face the winner of the contest between No. 5 Samford and No. 12 Furman at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday at the U.S. Cellular Center in Asheville.
GAME NOTES: Appalachian State improved to 31-43 all-time against the Mocs including a 21-10 mark in home games… Neal fell one assist shy of moving into the all-time single-game top-10 in school history… Healy notched his seventh double-double of the season… the 26-point margin of victory was Appalachian’s largest against a Division I or SoCon opponent since a 79-51 win over Georgia Southern on Jan. 8, 2011… the 19 assists were the second-highest total this season… Saturday’s contest marked the sixth time this season that the Apps eclipsed the 15-assist mark.