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Eaves’ Buzzer-Beater Lifts Apps Over Hokies


Nov. 24, 2014. Frank Eaves (Greensboro, N.C./Page) hit the game-winning shot with one second remaining as Appalachian State University men’s basketball upset Virginia Tech, 65-63, on Saturday at Cassell Coliseum.

The Mountaineers (1-2) jumped out to an early lead and withstood a late first-half surge by the Hokies (2-1) before hanging on in the final seconds to pick up their first win of the season.

It looked as if Virginia Tech would take a one-point lead when Joey van Zegeren stepped to the line for a pair of free throws with 10 seconds to play but Justin Bibbs was called for a lane violation on van Zegeren’s second free throw.

Eaves took the inbound pass and dribbled the length of the floor before getting caught between two defenders in the paint and, while falling forward, threw an off balance shot towards the basket that caught the front of the rim and bounced in. Van Zegeren’s desperation heave from just across halfcourt fell well short and the Apps hung on for the win.

The Mountaineers jumped on top early, racing out to a double-digit lead (18-7) just over seven minutes into the game. After extending the lead to as many as 12 points (23-11) with 9:16 in the opening period, the Apps fell flat and Virginia Tech took advantage, reeling off a 17-4 run to take its first lead of the game (28-27) with 1:31 on the clock.

Dustin Clarke (Newland, N.C./Avery County [Hartford]) hit a layup with 34 ticks left to send Appalachian to the locker room with a 29-28 halftime lead.

The second half featured an intense back-and-forth battle as the Apps went up by six points (36-30) with 17:21 to play before the Hokies made another run to take a 51-45 lead midway through the period. Facing a six-point deficit, freshman Jake Babic (Oakville, Ontario/The Kiski School) nailed back-to-back three pointers to knot the game at 51-all with 8:32 left.

With the Mountaineers nursing a one-point lead (59-58) with less than six minutes to play, Virginia Tech looked as if it would pull ahead when Devin Wilson stole the ball and raced down the floor on a fast break, but Jacob Lawson (Reidsville, N.C./Oak Ridge Military Academy [Purdue]) came out of nowhere to swat away Wilson’s layup and keep App State in front.

Less than a minute later, Lawson swatted away a Bibbs jumper, but the Hokies forced a turnover and van Zegeren threw down a thunderous dunk to give the Hokies a one-point lead (60-59) with4:01 to go. A layup from Chris Burgess (Lakeland, Fla/George Jenkins) would give the Apps a 61-60 lead on the next possession and Eaves extended the lead to three (63-60) with a pair of free throws at the 1:57 mark.

After a Bibbs jumper brought the Hokies within one (63-62) on the ensuing Virginia Tech possession, van Zegeren was poised to give the Hokies the lead with 10 seconds remaining, but the lane violation came up huge and Eaves converted just before the buzzer to seal the win.

Eaves led all scorers with 19 points and connected on 7-of-8 free throws. Tommy Spagnolo (West Jefferson, N.C./Ashe County [Radford]) posted his second-straight double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds while Clarke scored a career-high 11 and Lawson added nine off the bench.

Adam Smith paced the Hokies with 11 points while Bibbs and Wilson each scored 10. Malik Muller finished with a team-high six rebounds while van Zegeren scored eight points.

Appalachian State dominated on the boards with a 42-27 edge in rebounds and show 41.4 percent (24-of-58) from the floor. Virginia Tech shot 44.6 percent (25-of-56) but converted just 55.6 percent (10-of-18) from the charity stripe.

The Mountaineers return to action on Monday night when they host Hampton at 7 p.m. in the home opener at the Holmes Center.

NOTES: The Mountaineers improved to 2-7 all-time against Virginia Tech … with the victory, the Apps snapped a six-game losing streak to the Hokies … the win also snapped a 10-game losing streak against Division I non-conference foes and a four-game losing streak against ACC opponents … Appalachian finished with a 23-5 edge in second-chance points thanks to 19 offensive rebounds … App State led for 30:08 of the game’s 40 minutes while Virginia Tech led for just 6:05 … the game was tied for just 3:45 total … Jim Fox became the first head coach in school history to earn his first win against an ACC opponent … Lawson returned after serving a one-game suspension for a class attendance issue … he will not travel with the team for its Dec. 4 game against Jacksonville so that he can attend the class … Tab Hamilton (Winston-Salem, N.C./Fishburne Military Academy) sat out his third-straight game for a violation of team rules.