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Eaves Leads Apps Past Lees-McRae in Exhibition Win, Last Second Layup Beats Bobcats 71-69

Frank Eaves hit the game-winning layup with 4.3 seconds left to give Appalachian State a 71-69 win over Lees-McRae.Courtesy: Rob Moore / Via App State Athletics
Frank Eaves hit the game-winning layup with 4.3 seconds left to give Appalachian State a 71-69 win over Lees-McRae.Courtesy: Rob Moore / Via App State Athletics

Nov. 7, 2014. Frank Eaves (Greensboro, N.C./Page) hit a layup in traffic with 4.2 seconds to play and Appalachian State University men’s basketball earned a hard-fought 71-69 win over Lees-McRae in an exhibition contest on Thursday night at the Holmes Center.

The Mountaineers, who led by as many as nine points with just over seven minutes to play, saw their lead disappear in the final 40 seconds when the Bobcats tied the game at 69-69 as Kendall Isler converted a three-point play.

After calling a timeout with 11 seconds on the clock, first-year coach Jim Fox drew up a play on the sideline, and the Apps converted to perfection as Eaves sliced through the lane, soared between two defenders and put home the game winner.

In what proved to be an exciting back-and-forth battle, it was Lees-McRae which jumped out to the early advantage, building a nine-point lead (30-21) with 7:23 to play in the first half. Despite trailing by four (5-1) in the opening minute, the Bobcats would claw their way back and led for the majority of the first half and led 37-34 at the break.

Following the intermission, Appalachian’s defense put the clamps on Lees-McRae, holding the Bobcats to just 25.0 percent (9-of-36) from the floor over the final 20 minutes. Despite App State’s solid defensive effort in the second half, a poor shooting performance from the free-throw line allowed Lees-McRae to stay within striking distance.

The Mountaineers shot just 53.6 percent (15-of-28) from the charity stripe, including just 10-of-20 in the second half. Appalachian’s largest lead of the game came when Tab Hamilton (Winston-Salem, N.C./Fishburne Military) nailed a jumper with 7:26 to play to make it 61-52, but the Bobcats answered with a three to cut the deficit to six and hung around until the closing seconds.

Eaves, who connected on 7-of-16 shots, led all players with 22 points while Tommy Spagnolo (West Jefferson, N.C./Ashe County) fell just shy of a double-double with nine points, a game-high 13 rebounds and four blocks. Mike Kobani (Bodo City, Nigeria/High Point Christian) chipped in 11 points and seven rebounds and Landon Goesling (Irving, Texas/Coppell) came off the bench to score eight points.

Despite the team’s overall performance at the charity stripe, Eaves (5-of-5) and Goesling (6-of-6) shined as the duo combined for a perfect 11-of-11 from the free-throw line.

Lees-McRae was led on offense by a trio of double-digit scorers in Sean Deniton (16), Raul Tutton (14) and Isler (12). Isler and Jacquise Moore tied for a team-high six rebounds and Deniton dished out a game-high five assists.

On the night, Appalachian shot 42.4 percent (25-of-59) from the floor while holding the Bobcats to just 32.4 percent (23-of-71). The Mountaineers outrebounded Lees-McRae 57-39, but turned the ball over 20 times compared to just eight for the Bobcats.

The Mountaineers finished with a 17-5 advantage in second-chance buckets, but were outscored 23-9 in points off turnovers.

Appalachian State begins its regular season when it travels to Ohio University for a 2 p.m. contest on Nov. 15.