App State defeats Arkansas State 83-80 in overtime thriller

Senior+guard+O%27Showen+Williams+recorded+the+first+double-double+of+his+career+in+App+State%27s+83-80+overtime+win+over+Arkansas+State+on+Jan.+16.+

Courtesy of App State Athletics/Tim Cowie

Senior guard O'Showen Williams recorded the first double-double of his career in App State's 83-80 overtime win over Arkansas State on Jan. 16.

Dan Davidson, Associate Sports Editor

App State finished with a season-low five turnovers as it prevailed over Sun Belt foe Arkansas State 83-80 in a dramatic overtime victory on Thursday night. 

“Just an unbelievable college basketball game. I want to thank the 514 students that came out, they were big late. There was a lot of great energy in the crowd. Great crowd, great team win,” head coach Dustin Kerns said. 

Through the opening six minutes of the game, each team failed to gain any separation from the other. After exchanging buckets and empty possessions, it was knotted up at 12-12 with 13:40 left in the first half. 

The Mountaineers were the first to find separation thanks to a 10-0 run over 2:39 of game time. Junior guard Justin Forrest was fouled on two three-point attempts, and turned those six foul shots into five points. Seniors O’Showen Williams and Hunter Seacat combined for the other five points in the run. 

However, the Red Wolves fought until the end of the half. Arkansas State’s Caleb Fields drilled a deep three just before the buzzer to bring his team within one point of the Mountaineers. App State led 39-38 at the break. 

The second half was more similar to the opening six minutes of the game as the teams once again traded blows back and forth. Neither team gained a lead larger than five points in the second half. 

Play came to a halt at the 13:01 mark when Forrest went down with an injury. The score was 51-51, and Forrest led all scorers with 15 points. He was able to limp off of the court, but would be limited for the rest of the game. 

“We just had to figure it out, and sometimes that’s basketball,” Kerns said. 

With 23 seconds to play, Arkansas State held a 72-69 lead as the Mountaineers called timeout to draw up a final play when Forrest checked back into the game. Senior forward Isaac Johnson received the ball at the top of the key and dumped it off to Forrest as he curled around a screen. Forrest pulled up from way downtown and drilled the game-tying three with 12 seconds remaining. 

“He’s a big-time player. I mean, that’s big time. Hitting threes in those situations is tough and he’s able to do it. I’m glad to have him on our team,” sophomore guard James Lewis Jr. said. 

Arkansas State’s last-second three-pointer fell short and the game headed into overtime. 

Sophomore Adrian Delph dominated overtime, scoring six of the Mountaineers 11 points. He scored the go-ahead bucket with 35 seconds remaining, and the Mountaineers triumphed 83-80. 

Despite dealing with cramping for the final 18 minutes of play, Forrest led all scorers with 20 points and added two rebounds and three assists. 

Delph dropped 15 points, all of which came in the second half, and Williams put up 14 points of his own. Williams also came away with 10 rebounds, giving him his first career double-double. 

“My main thought was to just do whatever just to win the game,” Delph said. 

Seacat and Lewis Jr. were the fourth and fifth Mountaineers to reach double figures as Seacat ended with 11 points and seven rebounds, and Lewis Jr. scored 12 points and grabbed five boards. 

One of the keys to victory was the Mountaineers’ ability to attempt more free throws than Arkansas State. The Red Wolves shoot the fourth-most foul shots per game in the country, but finished with 30 attempts compared to App State’s 36 in which they made 29. Kerns made limiting Arkansas State’s trips to the line a priority. 

“He really showed us that they get a lot of free throws and that’s how they win most of their games, so we just tried to play without fouling,” Delph said. 

App State’s record is now 10-9 (4-4 in Sun Belt), and Arkansas State’s record is 12-7 (4-4 in Sun Belt). 

The Mountaineers are set to take on Little Rock back in the Holmes Center at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday.