This Mountaineer already had plenty of new faces on the team, and they must learn to play together quickly. Appalachian defeated Lees-McRae 76-55 Friday night at the Holmes Center in a game that was more competitive than it should have been. Appalachian was once again without Jamaal Trice due to a variety of illness, and starting point guard Mike Neal was declared academically ineligible earlier in the week. The Mountianeers struggled throughout the game without two sure fire starting quality players. Trice should return next week, while Neal will miss the first nine games of the season before he returns against South Carolina.
Appalachian played well in two categories that has historically plagued the team. The Mountaineers only committed ten turnovers on the night, and only one player turned the ball over more than once. Appalachian also shot well from the free throw line, nailing 84% (26/31) of their attempts. Tevin Baskin hit nine of his ten free throw attempts while Jay Canty knocked down all six of his free throws.
Both teams shot poorly for the night as Appalachian led the way shooting 37.7% for the night while the Bobcats shot 31.3%. Lees McRae outrebounded the Mountaineers 45-44, helped by a 22-17 edge on the offensive boards. Four Mountaineers scored in double r, led by Tab Hamilton with 20 points on 7/18 shooting. Canty added 15 points and nine rebounds. Nathan Healy notched 13 points and six rebounds and Baskin netted 11 points and seven rebounds.
Appalachian led by as many as 27 points in a game where their lead bounced back and forth in the second half. Appalachian held Lees to only seventeen first half points. The Mountianeers primarily used a six man rotation. Reserve point guard Chris Burgess logged 36 minutes, scoring six points and dishing out three assists to only one turnover. Brian Okam played for 18 minutes, yet still managed four fouls.