Mountaineers extend win streak with tight victories in Peach State


Courtesy of AJ Henderson, Georgia Southern Athletics

Senior guard Justin Forrest elevates for a deep jumper against Georgia Southern Saturday.

Ben Brady and Cameron Burnett

Coming off two home conference wins, App State men’s basketball entered a pair of away games in Georgia with Georgia State and Georgia Southern over the weekend. The Mountaineers stepped up to the challenge thanks to heroics from their veteran guards and came out with two big conference wins Thursday and Saturday, moving up in the Sun Belt standings.

In the first game, the Mountaineers came out firing against the Georgia State Panthers. Following a three-pointer from sophomore forward CJ Huntley, App State held a 26-15 lead with 8:35 left in the first half. Georgia State didn’t back down, using four late Mountaineer turnovers to close the lead to four before App State regained a 35-27 lead at halftime. 

Continuing his dominant season, senior guard Adrian Delph led all scorers with 29 points and made five three’s in the contest. 

Regardless of Delph’s heroics, the Panthers kept the score close on the shoulders of Justin Roberts and Corey Allen, who combined for 29 in the game. In the final minute, a pair of jumpers from Roberts gave Georgia State a one-point lead with 14 seconds left. Although
Delph dominated the game, the Mountaineers went to their senior leader Justin Forrest, who was just 1-9 from the field to that point with the game on the linet. Forrest spun away from a defender and drilled the fadeaway to give App State the 61-60 nailbiter win on the road.

Despite the win, the Mountaineers were dominated on the glass 39 to 26, including 16 offensive rebounds from the Panthers. App State overcame the physical disadvantage with their guard play and moved to three straight Sun Belt victories.

The Mountaineers traveled a few hours northwest Saturday to Statesboro for their matchup against Georgia Southern, where they won 70-62, notching yet another close victory. 

Delph led the App State offense again, finishing with 24 points for his sixth game scoring 20 or more points this season. Super senior Michael Almonacy contributed 16 points along with a career-high five steals. 

The Mountaineers started the first half strong, reaching an early 24-13 lead. The Eagles came back on a run and came within one point of a 30-29 deficit, but App State closed out with a 7-0 run, heading into halftime with a 37-29 advantage. 

App State extended its lead to 48-36 in the second half, but Georgia Southern came storming back with a 7-0 run. While the Eagles came within two points of the 57-55 deficit with just over six minutes left in the game, the Mountaineers regained control with a 13-7 advantage in the remaining minutes.  

The Mountaineers capitalized on their defensive opportunities, tallying up a season-high 12 steals and scoring 21 points off of turnovers. They also limited the Eagles to just 4-of-21 shooting from deep. 

With their fourth straight victory, App State improved to 12-9 on the season and 6-2 in conference play. The Mountaineers challenge Arkansas State for first place in the conference Thursday at 6:30 p.m. in Holmes Convocation Center. The game will be streamed on ESPN+.