App State Pounces on Panthers, Wins 76-67



Senior guard Frank Eaves hoists up a 3-pointer against Georgia State on Thursday. The Mountaineers defeated the Panthers 76-67, handing them only their fifth loss of the season. Photo Courtesy of Appalachian State Athletics | DC Mayo

Colin Tate

The Appalachian State Mountaineers defeated the Georgia State Panthers 76-67 Thursday night.

The Mountaineers, which entered the game with a record of 4-13 gave Georgia State just their fifth loss on the season.

“We’re getting better,” head coach Jim Fox said. “We came out and played well from the beginning. Their defense is extremely stingy. With the way they play, it’s gonna be a very mentally tough game.”

The first half was sloppy for both teams, with Appalachian State committing 11 turnovers and Georgia State adding eight of their own. However, the Mountaineers were much more aggressive than the Panthers, outrebounding them by 10.

Senior guard Chris Burgess continued his recent success and quietly had a solid first half, scoring eight points and tacking on three assists, including back-to-back threes to give the team a boost.

“We needed those plays from him,” senior guard Frank Eaves said. “He made really big shots. He made the right play. When people were open he found them. He was just as big a part of this win as anyone.”

Georgia State’s senior guard Kevin Ware was the center of the Panthers offense early on, as his ability to create shots kept the team within striking distance.

Freshman guard Ronshad Shabazz and senior guard Frank Eaves scored in double figures by the end of the period, with Shabazz hitting a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to close out the half, giving the Mountaineers a 16-point halftime lead.

“He’s got great energy about him,” Fox said. “We have to kind of cultivate that. He continues to get better and he’s gonna have a great career for us.”

The Mountaineers continued to attack the basket and outhustled Georgia State as the second half began. While their play was far from perfect, Appalachian State made better passes and were in more control on offense.

Defensively, the Mountaineers made it tough for the Panthers all night.  Senior forward Jacob Lawson was a defensive presence and a rim protector for Appalachian tallying four blocks and seven rebounds, along with seven points on the game.

“Jacob could be an outstanding player,” Fox said. “He’s gotta be consistent. He’s gotta give effort every possession. When he gives effort, he can change games.”

With 10 minutes to go in the game Appalachian State’s turnover woes continued. The team committed gave the ball up five times in a four-minute span, and the Panthers pulled the game within nine.

“We knew they were a good team so coach was like ‘There may not be a haymaker knockout where you just knock them out of the game,’” Eaves said. “We knew they were gonna fight back. They’re well-coached. They have big talent, and we just had to continue to execute.”

Despite the late push, the Mountaineers were able to hold on and capture the victory. Eaves led the team with 25 total points, scoring his 1,000th point of his career late in the contest.

“It’s just like all of my other points,” Eaves said. “My first points were just important as this one. I’m just glad we got the win.”

Shabazz and Burgess also finished in double figures with 20 and 12 points respectively. Weather permitting, the Mountaineers face Georgia Southern on Saturday as they attempt to build off of their late conference victories while limiting sloppy mistakes.

“Our players continue to work extremely hard, and they continue to develop that confidence in themselves and in the system,” Fox said. “I just wish we didn’t have freaking 22 turnovers.”