The Appalachian State Mountaineers men’s basketball team (2-3) fell to sixth-ranked Duke Blue Devils (6-1) Saturday afternoon 93-58. This was the first time that App State has faced Duke since 1988 and App’s 45th loss to a North Carolina ACC opponent.
Both junior forward Griffin Kinney and sophomore forward Jake Wilson used their height to score early buckets to keep the Mountaineers within striking distance.
App State was able to get Duke junior guard Grayson Allen in foul trouble early, as he had three fouls in the first half.
The Mountaineers shot 40.7 percent from the field in the first half, including 55.6 percent from three point-range.
App State had nine different players play double-digit minutes and 15 players on the court in total, giving the bench some experience.
Despite giving up the ball many times, the Mountaineers did force the Blue Devils to turn the ball over 10 times.
In the second half, App State’s freshman guard Kelvin Robinson went on a run, scoring 12 straight points to help cut into the deficit.
The Mountaineers connected on a decent number of free throws, going 13-18, which totaled to 72.2 percent.
App State’s bench outscored the Blue Devils’ bench 19-14.
The Blue Devils made four straight three-pointers to open the game.
Allen torched the Mountaineers with 21 points, all coming in the first half despite limited playing time.
Duke got off to a 12-0 run to start the second half.
The Blue Devils forced the Mountaineers to turn the ball over 18 times, and six of the turnovers were at the hands of Kinney.
While App State considered rebounding to be a strong point of the team, Duke outrebounded the Mountaineers 45-30.
The Blue Devils shot 51.9 percent from the floor in the second half, scoring 38 points.
Conversely, Duke held App State to just 24 points in the second period.
Duke shot 48.5 percent from the field in the game, compared to the Mountaineers who shot 33.3 percent.
The Blue Devils blocked App State five times, and the Mountaineers were unable to tally a single block.
App State only scored two fast-break points all game.
The Mountaineers were outscored 42-18 in the paint.
Robinson and Kinney act as bright spots
While the game was not what the Mountaineers were hoping for, Kinney and Robinson showed potential.
Robinson’s run in the second half included made free throws, two-pointers and three-point shots, showing his versatility. He also tallied five total rebounds in the contest.
Kinney was the only other Mountaineer in double figures, scoring 11. His early buckets were the only thing keeping App State close, and he also had a rebound and an assist in the game.
Grayson Allen’s Big Half
Preseason player of the year, Allen lived up the hype right from the opening tip. Allen notched the game’s first six points on two three-pointers.
He would go on to score 21 points, all in the first half, despite missing minutes with foul trouble.
Allen would leave after injuring his foot early in the second half. He finished with four rebounds and two assists to fill out the stat sheet.
Second Half Woes
Duke came out blazing at the start of both the first and the second half, but it was the second half that really killed the Mountaineers.
Already down big, the Blue Devils scored 12 unanswered points aided by multiple Mountaineer turnovers.
App State would go on to have double-digit turnovers in the half, and shoot around 14.8 percent worse than they did in the first half.
That 25.9 percent field goal percentage, added to the turnovers and Duke’s overall talent, left the Mountaineers without much hope in the final 20 minutes.
The Mountaineers travel to Charlotte to play the 49ers at 7:00 p.m. on Monday. After that, they will have a two-game home-stand against Western Carolina and Montreat College on Dec. 3 and Dec. 11, respectively.
Story By: Colin Tate, Sports Reporter
Photos By: Dallas Linger