App State stuns Louisville, moves to 3-0

Senior+guard+Andrew+Muse%2C+senior+forward+Donovan+Gregory+and+junior+forward+CJ+Huntley+celebrate+after+defeating+Louisville+61-60+Nov.+15%2C+2022.+

Courtesy of Cade Bettinger, App State Athletics

Senior guard Andrew Muse, senior forward Donovan Gregory and junior forward CJ Huntley celebrate after defeating Louisville 61-60 Nov. 15, 2022.

Sam Vanolinda

App State basketball secured its first power conference win in eight years with a 61-60 victory over Louisville Tuesday night, moving to 3-0 on the season.

For a long 10-15 seconds for App State fans, it seemed like heartbreak when senior Louisville guard El Ellis had a buzzer-beating layup counted by the referees to win the game, the Cardinal’s first lead of the night.

After a replay review, it was determined the ball was still in his hand when the clock ran out, reversing the call on the floor and giving App State the win in thrilling fashion against the storied ACC program.

The Black and Gold spread the scoring around, with three players in double figures on the night. Senior forward Donovan Gregory led the way with 16 points, while graduate transfer guard Tyree Boykin and sophomore guard Terence Harcum contributed 14 and 10 points, respectively.

Freshman forward Justin Abson, who leads freshmen across the nation in blocks per game, added two more blocks and was able to hit the eventual game-winning hook shot with 35.5 seconds remaining. 

The Mountaineers won the game by forcing Louisville into turnovers, with a large contribution from senior forward Tamell Pearson, who forced six of the 18 Louisville turnovers, drawing a staggering five charges.

The game started positively for the Mountaineers, building a 13-point lead going into halftime due to on-ball defense forcing late shot clock attempts for the Cardinals and efficient 15-31 scoring by App State in the first half.

The second half was a different story, however, with Louisville going on a 15-4 run in the final seven minutes of the game, mostly due to Ellis, who finished the night with 29 points. An Ellis layup cut the lead to one with 24 seconds remaining.

With 11 seconds left, after a missed one-and-one free throw attempt by Boykin, Ellis dribbled down the court and through the defense before acrobatically laying the ball up .01 seconds too slowly.

When the refs waved off the shot after a short review, it sent the App State bench into a frenzy, celebrating their first power conference win since beating Virginia Tech in 2014.

The Louisville second half turnaround was mostly due to the team’s shooting percentage going from 26.09% in the first half to 52.17% in the second. 

Despite the push, the Black and Gold won, causing Louisville’s first 0-3 start since the 1986-87 season. All three of Louisville’s first three games have been one-point losses, something that hasn’t been done by a Division I team in almost 50 years.

Graduate student Dibaji Walker contributed six points for the Mountaineers, whose father Samaki Walker played two seasons for Louisville from 1994-96 before being drafted ninth in the NBA draft by the Dallas Mavericks.

The 11,919 people in the KFC Yum! Center was the largest away crowd in a win in App State history, adding to the historic night for the Mountaineers.

App State continues its season Friday at home against Campbell, the first of a triple header with a three-game event this weekend.