By Paul T. Choate
Feb. 19, 2013. The 2012-2013 Appalachian State men’s basketball team (12-15, 8-8 SoCon) are winding down their season next week. There are only two more chances to see them play live at the Holmes Center in Boone when they square off against Samford and Chattanooga next Thursday and Saturday.
With only two games left, the Mountaineers are currently in a tie for third with archrival Western Carolina (11-17, 8-8 SoCon) in the Southern Conference North standings.
At times, it has been a tough season to be a Mountaineers fan. After starting the season with a huge 86-54 win over Montreat College on Nov. 9 the team hit a bad losing streak, dropping seven straight games and eight out of nine.
Fans who have atteneded the Holmes Center this season haven’t been too disappointed though. During that seven-game losing streak, only one loss came on their home court. All season, the squad has been pretty good at home with an 8-4 record following their loss to The Citadel last night in a close one, 80-77 in overtime.
Probably the high point in the season came on Jan. 12 at the Holmes Center, when the Mountaineers defeated an Elon squad (18-8, 11-3 SoCon) that is now atop the SoCon North standings.
Nathan Healy led five scorers in double-figures and ASU posted an 80-70 victory over the visiting Phoenix. Appalachian never led and trailed by as many as 12 points on three different occasions in the first half but used a 15-3 run over the final 4:57 of the opening period to send the teams into the locker room knotted at 34-34.
Elon closed within two points with 5:26 remaining but Appalachian made 7-of-9 free throws and outscored the Phoenix 17-9 down the stretch to claim the double-digit triumph.
In fact, one big reason to go see the Mountaineers in their last two games is the play of No. 11. The senior forward Healy has emerged as a star in a season of mediocrity in terms of the win-loss column.
Healy is currently averaging 14.6 points per game while pulling down 7.6 rebounds per game. He leads the SoCon in effective field goal percentage while being sixth in the conference in player efficiency rating.
Healy’s best performance of the season came in a home win over Western Carolina on Feb. 2, when he scored 24 points on 8-11 from the field including four three-pointers, grabbed eight rebounds and recorded seven steals — a feat that no other player in NCAA Division I basketball has accomplished this season.
The accolades keep piling up too. Earlier today, Healy was named as a second-team Capital One Academic All-America selection. In addition to the New Bern native’s on court prowess, he carries a 3.99 cumulative grade-point average as a management major.
Appalachian State resumes action next week when it plays host to Samford at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 28 before closing out the regular season on March 2 against Chattanooga.
Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for youth (ages 3-12). Tickets are available through the Holmes Center box office or online at goasu.com.