Appalachian Men’s basketball should get its first true test tonight against the High Point Panthers. The Mountaineers defeated the Panthers in their last meeting in 2011. High Point is flying high after a big win over cross town rival UNC-Greensboro, who was picked to finish first in the SoCon North. High Point led by as many as nineteen points before holding off a rally from the Spartans. High Point is making their first trip on the road this season.
It is highly unlikely a spread will come out for this game. High Point only had a line in three games last season, and two of those games were in their conference tournament, which oddsmakers love. We are hopeful we can get a line up for the Campbell game, but if not, East Carolina will certainly have a line. The RPI is a little funky this early in the season, because it is based solely on wins and losses, which neither team has many of. High Point bolted up to 41 with their win. Appalachian is currently ranked 256, with their win over Montreat not counting as it was outside of the Division I.
Appalachian could not overcome a High Point team that could not miss the basket on Tuesday night. The Panthers built a 22 point halftime lead and cruised in the second half to 86-64 win. High Point shot 57% for the game while the Mountaineers countered with 37.5% shooting. The Mountaineers assisted on only five made baskets on the night while turning the ball over 16 times.
Jay Canty and Chris Burgess were the lone bright spots for the Mountaineers. Burgess made six of his nine shots for sixteen points but did not record an assist while turning the ball over four times. Jay Canty scored 23 points and grabbed five rebounds. Nathan Healy had perhaps his worst game as a Mountaineer as he missed all five of his shots, did not score and committed three turnovers. Tab Hamilton never got into the flow of the game. Michael Obacha was a surprise starter in place of Brian Okam. Tevin Baskin recorded all four of the Mountaineer steals in only 17 minutes of play, and also chipped in with ten points.
There is not much you can do when another team comes into your gym and shoots like High Point did. However, the Mountaineers were never in this game from the start. There was no energy and no flow to the game. The Mountaineers looked like a group of individuals, compared to an actual team that was working together. I expect Jason Capel to juggle the starting lineup until he finds something he likes, but by then it may be too late. Fans are already calling for his job and if he wants to keep it, this team must show some signs of playing together.