Mountaineers end Crusade in tale of two halves


Freshman guard Emarius Logan makes a drive toward the basket in the second half of Tuesday night’s exhibition game. The Mountaineers beat Belmont Abbey 80-60. App State’s first regular season game is on November 14 at 2 p.m.

Lee Sanderlin

The Mountaineers did not play their first half of competitive basketball since March the way they envisioned. No one on the team expected they would be losing 28-27 at the half, especially not to Belmont Abbey in an exhibition.

“People saw that it was Belmont Abbey, and thought that we could veer away from the system,” sophomore forward Griffin Kinney said.

The first half shooting stats certainly supported Kinney’s claim. The Apps shot 39.3 percent from the field, 23.1 percent from 3-point territory and a measly 14.3 percent from the free-throw line.

They barely resembled the team that closed last season with a three-game winning streak against Sun Belt opposition. But the second half was a much different story.

Appalachian State played within the system during the second half, something that was discussed by the team during halftime, and saw immediate results.

“How we played within the second half, playing within the system is how we won the game,” Kinney said.

The numbers agree with that statement. The Mountaineers shot 52.8 percent from the field and 60 percent from beyond the arc, good enough for 53 second-half points and an easy 80-60 win.

Both Kinney and senior standout Frank Eaves came alive in the second half, scoring 11 and 12 in the period, respectively.

Kinney did not miss a shot all game going 7-7 from the field, totaling 17 points, including three free throws.

Eaves shot 5-11 in the game, but was 4-5 in the second with two 3-point buckets. Eaves scored 14 in the game.

Both players attributed a return to playing within head coach Jim Fox’s offense, as well as getting a rhythm for the game to their success.

“The first half I was taking some tough shots,” Eaves said. “Coach Fox told me to calm down and I came out in the second half and I just played.”

Perhaps the only negative to take away from the performance in their exhibition was the team’s free throw shooting. For the game, the Apps struggled to a 14-34 performance from the line, good for just 41.2 percent.

Senior big man Michael Obacha had the hardest time at the line, going off of 11. Fox stressed the importance of free throws as the season begins.

“We have to do a better job, we do it a lot in practice,” Fox said. “They have to make free throws in order to play.”

The Mountaineers will take on Virginia Tech on Saturday in an NCAA-approved scrimmage. The scrimmage is closed to the public. App State begins the regular season against Jacksonville University on Nov. 14. Tip-off is set for 2 p.m. in the Holmes Center.

Story by: Lee Sanderlin, Sports Reporter 

Photo by: Malik Rahili, Editor-in-Chief