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App State, Georgia State split Saturday doubleheader

Junior+foward+Jacob+Lawson+powers+to+the+basket+during+Saturday%E2%80%99s+home+game+against+the+Georgia+State+Panthers.+The+Mountaineers+defeated+the+Panthers+74-69+in+front+of+nearly+2%2C000+fans%2C++and+look+to+take+on+Troy+Monday+at+8%3A30+pm.+Photo+by+Justin+Perry++%7C++The+Appalachian
Junior foward Jacob Lawson powers to the basket during Saturday’s home game against the Georgia State Panthers. The Mountaineers defeated the Panthers 74-69 in front of nearly 2,000 fans, and look to take on Troy Monday at 8:30 pm. Photo by Justin Perry | The Appalachian

Women fall short of Panthers after convincing win over Arkansas State

App State women’s basketball (8-7, 3-3 Sun Belt) rallied from 14 points down to beat  first place Sun Belt Conference foe Arkansas State 70-69 at Holmes Convocation Center Thursday, but fell short to eighth place Georgia State (8-8, 3-4 Sun Belt) in a 76-71 loss at home.

“It’s hard as a coach to prevent a let-down after a big win,” Mountaineers head coach Angel Elderkin said. “You can tell a team that is in the books and you have to move on to the next opponent but our effort and our focus wasn’t the same as Thursday. What happened tonight is that we really beat ourselves.”

Junior center/forward KeKe Cooper is fouled on an outside field goal attempt during the first half aginst Georgia State Saturday. The Mountaineers suffered a 76-71 loss at home to the eighth place Georgia State Panthers at home. Photo by Justin Perry  |  The Appalachian
Junior center/forward KeKe Cooper is fouled on an outside field goal attempt during the first half aginst Georgia State Saturday. The Mountaineers suffered a 76-71 loss at home to the eighth place Georgia State Panthers at home. Photo by Justin Perry | The Appalachian

The meeting between the Mountaineers and Panthers was the fourth all-time between the two teams. The game was also the first played in Boone as all three of the previous meetings were played on the road for the Mountaineers. App State beat GSU 82-58 in Atlanta during the 2011-12 season.

Georgia State senior guard Alisha Andrews came into the game with nine 3-pointers on the season. However, she connected on three 3-pointers during the first half to spark the Panthers offensively.

The Panthers broke the game open when junior forward Morgan Jackson sank a trey followed directly by Andrews’ third 3-pointer of the game to support a 15-2 run during the first half. The run gave Georgia State its biggest lead of the game at 22-10.

“We weren’t expecting her to shoot as many 3-pointers as she did,” Mountaineer sophomore guard Joi Jones said. “We tried to pack in the paint and she ended up shooting 3-pointers. We are definitely going to stop that the next time we play her. We are definitely frustrated. We were at a high point beating Arkansas State and now after losing to Georgia State we are at a low. We can’t just come out and be complacent we have to keep the intensity.”

Jones sank a 3-pointer of her own with 8:05 left in the first half to cut the lead down to four at 20-24. Three minutes later, senior forward Maryah Sydnor penetrated the Panthers defense on a fast break for a lay-up to tie the game at 28.

With under a minute left to play in the first half, Sydnor attacked the glass to come up with an offensive rebound and put-back lay-up to cut the Panthers lead down to two at halftime at 36-38.

With 16:08 to go in the second half, App State senior guard Katie Mallow connected on a 3-pointer to give the Apps their first lead since the 16:14 mark of the first half at 41-40. The Panthers came roaring back, though, with senior guard Kayla Nolan completing a 3-point play to give GSU a 50-48 lead that sparked a 7-0 run.

App State found themselves down 59-50 with seven minutes remaining in the game. Sydnor led the Apps back late in the game justifying her all-conference abilities by going 4-4 from the free throw line as she scored eight points during the last four minutes of the game.

App State’s best stat of the game was on the free throw line where the team shot 93 percent. Sydnor lead all scorers with 21 points in her 28th career game with 20 or more points.

The Mountaineers return to the court Monday in a conference matchup at Troy. Tipoff is scheduled for 6:15 p.m.

 

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Men stun Panthers 74-69

App State withstood blow after blow in a 40-minute brawl against preseason Sun Belt favorite Georgia State in a 74-69 win in front of more than 2,000 fans at Holmes Convocation Center Saturday.

App State (5-10, 2-4 Sun Belt) overcame a 10-point deficit at halftime to defeat the Panthers (11-7, 4-3 Sun Belt). Starting junior guard Frank Eaves packed the stat sheet as he led the Mountaineers in points (27), 3-pointers (8-14), rebounds (T-6), steals (3) and minutes (40).

Junior foward Jacob Lawson powers to the basket during Saturday’s home game against the Georgia State Panthers. The Mountaineers defeated the Panthers 74-69 in front of nearly 2,000 fans,  and look to take on Troy Monday at 8:30 pm. Photo by Justin Perry  |  The Appalachian
Junior foward Jacob Lawson powers to the basket during Saturday’s home game against the Georgia State Panthers. The Mountaineers defeated the Panthers 74-69 in front of nearly 2,000 fans, and look to take on Troy Monday at 8:30 pm. Photo by Justin Perry | The Appalachian

The Panthers, heavy road favorites coming into the match, played a zone defense for the majority of the contest, often leading to weak-side 3-pointers for the App State offense. As a team, the Mountaineers connected on 12-29 (41.4%) from beyond the arc.

“They didn’t let adversity really affect them today and they battled back,” Mountaineers head coach Jim Fox said. “They really deserved this (win) today.”

Eaves especially stood out, knocking down crucial shots that kept the Mountaineers within striking distance in the first half. Despite staying on the court for the entire game, the junior guard didn’t let fatigue affect his shooting.

“Honestly, I haven’t been shooting very well since I’ve been here,” Eaves said. “In high school, 3-point shooting is what I was known for. It was big for me to come in here and make shots, but I give all the credit to my teammates. They did everything. They got me the ball when I was open, they screened for me.”

Immediately following the win, Fox and the rest of the team came onto the court and gave the crowd a well-deserved salute. For most of the evening, the home fans were intense and loud.

“Just an incredible, incredible crowd tonight,” Fox said. “The crowd was into it, they were here, and there is no doubt that without the crowd, we don’t win this game.”

Four of App State’s next five games will take place away from Boone. That stretch starts at Troy (7-8, 2-4 Sun Belt) Monday at 8:30 pm.

 

Story: Bryant Barbery, Sports Reporter

Nick Joyner, Senior Sports Reporter

Photos: Justin Perry, Web Manager

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