Mountaineers’ Second-Half Comeback Falls Short

Published Thursday, November 29, 2012 at 10:17 am

Jay Canty recorded his first-career double-double with 15 points and 10 assists in Wednesday’s heart-breaking loss to Duquesne. Photo by Dave Mayo and courtesy of Appalachian Sports Information

Nov. 29, 2012. Appalachian State University men’s basketball battled all the way back from a 14-point halftime deficit but Duquense’s Quevyn Winters hit a go-ahead three-pointer with 31 seconds remaining to lift the visiting Dukes (2-3) to a 73-72 victory over the Mountaineers on Wednesday evening at the Holmes Center.

Appalachian State (1-5) trailed 47-33 at halftime but opened the second half on a 24-9 run to take 57-56 lead on a Nathan Healy three-pointer with 9:08 to go in the ballgame.

It was a back-and-forth affair the rest of the way, with neither team leading by more than three points at any point in the final nine minutes.

With under a minute to go and the score knotted at 68-68, Healy drove into the paint, drew two defenders and dished to wide-open freshman Michael Obacha on the baseline, whose layup gave the Mountaineers a 70-68 lead with 48 seconds to play.

However, on the ensuing possession, Winters drilled Duquesne’s ninth three-pointer of the game from the left wing to retake a one-point lead.

Appalachian came up empty on its next possession and was forced to foul Duquesne’s Jeremiah Jones, who made both free throws with 15 seconds remaining to stretch the Dukes’ advantage to 73-70.

After Jay Canty pulled the Mountaineers’ within a point with a layup with five seconds to go, Jones missed a pair of free throws with four seconds to go. However, the battle for the rebound left Appalachian with only a second on the clock when the loose ball finally settled into Healy’s hands and his three-quarters-court attempt at the game-winner was off the mark.

Canty recorded a double-double with 15 points and 10 assists to lead Appalachian while Healy scored a team-high 21 points and senior 7-footer Brian Okam turned in perhaps the best performance of his career with seven big points on 3-of-3 shooting.

On the night, the Mountaineers shot 50.0 percent (29-of-58) including 9-of-20 from beyond the arc while the Dukes shot 41.3 percent (26-of-63) and were limited to just 9-of-29 in the second half.

Duquesne finished with a 39-30 edge in rebounds, including a 16-6 advantage on the offensive glass, and dished out 15 assists.

Appalachian dished out 18 assists and committed 18 turnovers while forcing the Dukes to turn the ball over 17 times. The Mountaineers also finished with six blocks, four of which came from Healy.

The Apps travel to No. 16/15 Missouri on Saturday for the first of a season-high four-straight road contests.

GAME NOTES: The Mountaineers fell to 21-24 all-time against teams from the Atlantic 10… Appalachian failed to win a November game against a Division I opponent for the first time since the 1999-2000 campaign… interestingly enough, that season was also the last time that the Mountaineers made the NCAA Tournament… Healy has scored 20 or more points in two of the last three games… Appalachian fell to 19-10 at home over the past three seasons… the Apps were outscored 34-16 in the paint and 42-13 in bench points.

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