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Mountaineers Hold Off UNCG in Final Road Test, 76-68

Michael Obacha scored 11 points and grabbed eight rebounds in Appalachian's 76-68 win over UNCG on Sunday. Photo by Bill Sheffield and courtesy of Appalachian Sports Information
Michael Obacha scored 11 points and grabbed eight rebounds in Appalachian’s 76-68 win over UNCG on Sunday. Photo by Bill Sheffield and courtesy of Appalachian Sports Information

Feb. 18, 2013. GREENSBORO — Appalachian State University men’s basketball overcame a pesky UNCG squad as it picked up a 76-68 Southern Conference win on Sunday at Greensboro Coliseum.

The Mountaineers (12-14, 8-7 SoCon) raced out to a quick 10- lead, but the Spartans (7-18, 5-9) were able to battle back to take a one-point lead late in the first half of what turned out to be a highly competitive and entertaining contest.

Appalachian stormed out of the gates by taking a 4-0 lead on back-to-back buckets from Tab Hamilton in the first minute and extended the lead to double-digits (10-0) when Nathan Healy converted a layup at the 16:35 mark of the half.

UNCG was held without a point until the 16:21 mark of the first half when Trevis Simpson knocked down a jumper to make it 10-2, but the Apps responded with two-straight buckets from Healy and Jay Canty to extend the lead to 12 points (14-2).

The Spartans would begin to chip away at the App State lead over the next several possessions, cutting the deficit to just three points (20-17) with 8:10 remaining in the half before taking their first lead (24-23) on Kayel Locke’s layup with just under six minutes on the clock.

The Mountaineers pushed the lead back to six points (32-26) with 1:43 left in the first half, but a technical foul following a shooting foul allowed Derrell Armstrong to convert four-straight at the charity stripe and pulled UNCG within two (32-30) at the half.

Armstong’s three-pointer to open the second half put the Spartans up by one (33-32) but Appalachian quickly regained the lead when Michael Obacha converted a layup with 18:35 left to play.

The Apps were able to push the lead to seven points (50-43) midway through the final period of play, but UNCG clawed its way back to tie the game twice in the final seven eight minutes.

With the Mountaineers nursing a one-point lead (56-55) with less than six minutes to play, the Apps were able to find some breathing room thanks to a 9-2 run that widened the gap to eight points (65-57).

The Spartans were never able to come within five points the rest of the way as Appalachian State converted 3-of-4 free throws and both of its field-goal attempts in the final minute to put the game away.

Canty led the Mountaineers with 17 points and nine rebounds while dishing out six assists. Healy poured in 16 points and grabbed six boards while Obacha scored 11 and ripped down eight rebounds. Mike Neal added 10 points of his own to go along with eight rebounds and six assists.

Armstrong finished with a game-high 22 points to pace the Spartans while Locke (14) and Simpson (12) rounded out a trio of double-digit scorers for UNCG.

Appalachian State finished with a 44-33 edge in rebounds and scored 16 second-chance points on 16 offensive boards. The Mountaineers shot 48.2 percent (27-of-56) on the day while holding the Spartans to just 40.0 percent (28-of-70) from the floor.

The Mountaineers return to action on Wednesday when they square of against The Citadel at 8 p.m. inside the Holmes Center.

GAME NOTES: The Mountaineers improved to 22-18 all-time against the Spartans… the Apps swept UNCG for the second time in the past four seasons… Appalachian improved to 10-8 when facing UNCG in Greensboro… Sunday’s win marked the 13th time this season that four Mountaineers scored in double figures… the Apps ended the season with a 4-11 record on the road including a 3-6 mark in SoCon road games.