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Mountaineers continue historic quest

The+Mountaineers+walk+back+onto+the+court+against+Ragin+Cajuns+Feb.+17.+The+Black+and+Gold+have+won+five+straight+games.
Taneille Jordan
The Mountaineers walk back onto the court against Ragin’ Cajuns Feb. 17. The Black and Gold have won five straight games.

With two games remaining in the 2023-24 regular season, the Black and Gold have an opportunity at history by finishing the season undefeated at home in addition to earning their first Sun Belt regular season title.

Standing in the way are App State’s final two regular season opponents: Old Dominion and Arkansas State.

The Monarchs come into Wednesday’s matchup having snapped a six-game losing streak against Coastal Carolina on their senior night Saturday. ODU has struggled this season, going 7-22 and a Sun Belt worst 3-13 on the season. They are 1-10 on the road.

The last time the Monarchs and Mountaineers faced off, the Black and Gold won 82-67 despite a slow start to the first half. Junior guard Terence Harcum had a team-high 22 points, with 18 coming in the second half. Junior forward Tre’Von Spillers finished with a double-double at 12 points and 11 rebounds. 

App State’s offense shined against Old Dominion, shooting 48% from the field and 50% from downtown. They outrebounded the Monarchs 47-29, leading to 19 second-chance points.  The defense held ODU to 41% and 29% shooting splits. 

On Friday, the Sun Belt’s current No. 4 team, Arkansas State, comes to the High Country for the Black and Gold’s senior day. Before the game, graduate student forward Donovan Gregory, senior forward CJ Huntley and graduate student guard Bryant Greene will be honored.

The Red Wolves have won five straight games, with their last loss coming against James Madison Feb. 7. They are led by guards Taryn Todd and Caleb Fields, who both average over 12 points per game. Fields leads the Sun Belt at six assists per game and is seventh in minutes per game. Forward Izaiyah Nelson is the third leading shot blocker in the conference at two per game.

Arkansas State leads the Sun Belt in three-point percentage and average the second fewest turnovers. Additionally, they are second in scoring average at 80.6 points per game on 45% shooting from the field.

Before facing the Mountaineers, the Red Wolves travel to Conway, South Carolina to play against 8-19 Coastal Carolina.

If App State defeats Old Dominion or Arkansas State, they will clinch their first Sun Belt regular season title as well as the No.1 seed in the Sun Belt Tournament. If James Madison, No. 2 in the conference, finishes with the same conference record, the Black and Gold will still clinch the regular season title due to owning the tiebreaker.

The Mountaineers undefeated home streak is on the line as they square off against Old Dominion Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. The game will be streamed on ESPN+.

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About the Contributor
Ethan Smith, Sports Editor
Ethan Smith (he/him) is a senior journalism major, media studies minor. This is his third year writing for The Appalachian.
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