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Looking back at the 2023-24 Mountaineers

The+Mountaineers+huddle+up+prior+to+their+matchup+against+Wake+Forest+March+20.+App+State+finished+the+2023-24+season+27-7%2C+setting+the+program+record+for+wins+in+a+single+season.
Emily Simpson
The Mountaineers huddle up prior to their matchup against Wake Forest March 20. App State finished the 2023-24 season 27-7, setting the program record for wins in a single season.

The 2023-24 season for the Mountaineers men’s basketball team has gone down in history as one of their best seasons.  

According to Team Rankings, App State was one of 12 schools in the country. to go undefeated at home with a 15-0 record. They went 16-2 in the conference and 27-7 overall, holding them in first place in the Sun Belt conference until the very end. 

Dustin Kerns was titled Sun Belt Coach of the Year and made sure Holmes Convocation Center was packed with students to cheer on the Black and Gold. The attendance record for the 2023-24 season set new heights in Mountaineer basketball. 

App State scored 2,665 total points while keeping their opponents far behind with 2,283 points. The Mountaineers averaged 78.4 points per game with an 11.2 scoring margin. 

Sophomore forward Justin Abson was a shining light this season. He averaged 7.9 points per game while breaking the school record of blocks in a single season with 2.82 blocks per game.

 Abson’s strong defense led him to 96 blocks and he earned Sun Belt Defensive Player of the Year. The NCAA ranked Abson fifth in the country for blocks per game. 

Graduate student forward Donovan Gregory led the team’s scoring averaging 13.1 points per game while shooting 45% behind the three-point line. In District 23 for the NABC, Gregory was chosen for the second team while junior forward Tre’Von Spillers was named first team. 

Spillers started in 30 games out of 34 played. His resilience on the court became a crowd favorite while putting up an average of 12.8 points per game along with totaling 25 steals and 44 blocks on the season. 

Junior guard Terence Harcum showed App State fans that he was truly valued in the High Country. 

He averaged 12 points per game while starting in 33 out of 34 games played. Harcum had the best free throw percentage on the roster, shooting 80% at the line. Harcum also shot 35% from the three-point line. 

Although the season may have started rocky with losses against Northern Illinois and Oregon State, the Mountaineers kicked it into high gear. 

Boone welcomed Power Five school Auburn to face the Mountaineers. A nail-biting last five minutes on the court turned into a victory for App State. 

After eight straight wins, the team fell short to UNC-Asheville, losing 76-63. Another big loss for Boone was against rival team Troy 66-62. 

With another stretch of eight victories, the Mountaineers lost to Texas State in San Marcos, Texas.

As the season drew to a close, the Black and Gold celebrated another huge win against Georgia Southern in overtime 85-80. 

Being semi-finalists in the Sun Belt Conference tournament, they lost to Arkansas State 67-65. 

The National Invitation Tournament committee selected App State to play and travel to Winston Salem to play against the Demon Deacons. The roster’s defense came to play and had four blocks and four steals.

The Mountaineers came up short against Wake Forest losing 87-76. 

Kerns and the potential new roster know what’s in store for App State fans everywhere and are hopeful for a bounce-back season. 

Due to COVID-19, senior forward CJ Huntley could return to the Mountaineers with another year of eligibility. Eight of the players on the roster decided to enter the transfer portal back in March.

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About the Contributors
Tess McNally
Tess McNally, Reporter
Tess McNally (she/her) is a sophomore journalism major from Waxhaw, North Carolina. This is her first year writing for The Appalachian.
Emily Simpson
Emily Simpson, Associate Photo Editor
Emily Simpson (she/her) is a junior Commercial Photography major. This is her first year with The Appalachian.
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