By David Coulson
BOONE, N.C. — After blowing an 11-point lead in a loss on Thursday night against Sun Belt Conference-leading UT-Arlington, the Appalachian State men’s basketball team was determined that a similar finish wasn’t going to occur on Saturday afternoon.
And there was no reason to be disheartened as the Mountaineers led from start to finish in their 76-56 victory over Texas State before 1,246 fans at the Holmes Convocation Center.
Senior guard Frank Eaves scored the first bucket of the game on a short jumper and didn’t finish until he had posted his game-high 30 points.
“We kept it up the whole game,” Eaves said of ASU’s best effort of the season. “We can’t get that game (on Thursday night) back, but I’m glad we came out and performed today.”
Eaves was 10-of-16 from the field, 3-of-8 from three-point range and a perfect 7-of-7 from the free-throw stripe after struggling from the line on Thursday. He also added four assists, four rebounds and one steal with just one turnover — ironically on the opening possession of the game — to his all-around play.
“Frank was absolutely outstanding today,” said App State coach Jim Fox. “He made everyone around him better today.”
Stifling defense harassed the Bobcats into 4-of-22 shooting to start the contest and Texas State never could regroup. TSU finished at 35% from the field overall, the second straight game that the Mountaineer defense had limited an opponent to such a low total.
Freshman Ronshad Shabazz contributed 12 points to his backcourt mate’s sizzling shooting and another freshman, Emarius Logan, came up with his second consecutive sterling game off the bench for 11 more.
“This is the most I’ve ever seen this team want a win,” said Logan. “We came out with a lot of fight. In the second half, we came out like we did at the beginning of the game.”
Appalachian blitzed Texas State with a 9-2 run to start the contest and had expanded its lead to 30-8 in the first 12 minutes. The Bobcats were never closer than 14 points the rest of the way.
Cameron Naylor tallied 14 points to pace TSU, with Kavin Gilder-Tilbury chipping in with 13, while Emani Gant and Bobby Conley punched in 10 apiece. But the Bobcats couldn’t contain Eaves and his teammates.
“I felt we played a complete game today,” said Fox. “I told the guys we have to build on this.”
Appalachian will get a chance to do that when it hits the road again for SBC games at Arkansas-Little Rock on Thursday night and Arkansas State on Saturday evening.
LADY MOUNTAINEERS ALSO WIN
Appalachian (5-8, 2-2) picked up a similarly impressive victory on the women’s side in the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader with its 90-71 domination of Texas State.
Guard Madi Story stormed to 31 points on 11-of-15 shooting from the field, hitting her only three-point attempt and converting 8-of-13 free throws on a day where five Lady Mountaineers scored in double figures.
KeKe Cooper tallied 14 points and 11 rebounds, Joi Jones had 12 points and five assists, Kaila Craven added 12 points and Bria Carter threw in 10.
Kiani Lurry led the Lady Bobcats (7-6, 2-1) with 25 points, while De’Jionae Calloway and Taeler Deer added 11 each.
The Lady Mountaineers will also be on the road at UALR and Arkansas State this week.