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Men’s Basketball Rolls Past Montreat in Opener

Frank Eaves scored 16 points in his collegiate debut to help lead Appalachian State to an 86-54 season-opening victory over Montreat. Photo by Tyler Buckwell and courtesy of Appalachian Sports Information

Nov. 10, 2012. Appalachian State University men’s basketball jumped out to a 23-point lead less than nine minutes into the game and cruised to an 86-54 season-opening win over Montreat on Friday night at the Holmes Center.

Appalachian (1-0) outscored Montreat (1-2), 26-3, over a 4:55 span early in the ballgame to take a commanding 28-5 lead with 11:21 still to go in the first half. The Mountaineers expanded the advantage to as many as 28 points in the opening period and led by as much as 40 in the second half.

After struggling to pull ahead of Carson-Newman in an exhibition on Monday night, the Mountaineers left no doubt as to who was the superior team on Friday. App State took the early lead thanks to a barrage of three pointers from sophomore Tab Hamilton, who knocked down all six of his in the first half.

The Mountaineers limited Montreat to just 37.0 percent (10-for-27) from the floor through the first 20 minutes while converting 42.1 percent (16-of-38) of their own shots in the first half, including 7-of-15 from long range.

In the second half, Appalachian saw its lead cut to 21 points (48-27) in the opening minutes, but found its footing again and eventually pushed the lead to 40 points (82-42) with less than four minutes to play.

Hamilton led the way with 18 points on 6-of-10 shooting from three-point range while freshman Frank Eaves came off the bench to score 16 in his collegiate debut. Senior Nathan Healy made 5-of-6 shots from the field to round out three Mountaineers in double-figures with 12 points.

Sophomore transfer Jay Canty led all players with 12 rebounds and freshman point guard Chris Burgess dished out a game-high six assists to help pace Appalachian State’s fourth-straight season-opening victory.

As a team, Appalachian shot 43.7 percent (31-for-71) from the floor and converted 15-of-19 free throws while holding Montreat to just 38.2 percent (21-for-55) shooting on the night. The Apps grabbed 48 rebounds, 20 on the offensive end, to the Cavaliers’ 31.

The Mountaineers forced 26 turnovers and notched 18 steals, including a game-high five from junior Tevin Baskin, while committing 18 turnovers of its own.

Appalachian returns to action on Tuesday when it hosts High Point. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. at the Holmes Center.

Game notes
The Mountaineers improved to 11-2 in home openers since moving to the Holmes Center in 2000… the Apps have won five-straight home openers dating back to the 2008-09 campaign… Hamilton fell one three-pointer shy of the single-game top-10 in Appalachian State history… Eaves’ 16 points were the most for a Mountaineer freshman in their collegiate debut since Kellen Brand scored 19 against North Greenville on Nov. 13, 2006.