Appalachian took care of Presbyterian on Saturday as they should have, but the game was closer in the closing minutes. After the Mountaineers opened up a fifteen point halftime lead, the Blue Hose used every opportunity they had in the first eight minutes of the second half to stymie any type of Appalachian run. Presbyterian called three time outs before the second media timeout to keep Appalachian from establishing a rhythm.
Appalachian held a fourteen point lead just under three minutes to play in the second half before the Blue Hose went on a 13-3 run over the next 2:31 to pull within four points. However, Tevin Baskin iced the game with four made free throws in the final half minute to secure the final margin. Appalachian outrebounded Presbyterian by ten for the game, buoyed mostly by an 11-2 edge on the offensive glass. Leading scorer Jay Canty was held in check, as he has been recently by teams since being named conference player of the week. However, Appalachian received plenty of help from the bench. Baskin (16), Chris Burgess (9) and Jamaal Trice (12) combined for 37 points, compared to the Presbyterian bench which only produced 16 points. Baskin added eight rebounds and hit 9/10 from the free throw line. Nathan Healy also added 16 points and 8 rebounds, four which were offensive rebounds.
Chris Burgess appeared to play with more confidence as he gambled on defense on several occasions and it paid off, despite not getting credit for a single steal, he did force several turnovers. I still wonder why Michael Obacha continues to start, as he can barely play twenty minutes due to foul trouble, and has little offensive skill. Tab Hamilton has struggled with his shot for some time. Hamilton’s typical game of late looks something like the one he played Saturday afternoon. Hamilton was 2/6 from the field and 1/5 from behind the arc, and only hit two of his four free throws.
C-Notes: There was no line for the game, which is what we expected. It will be interesting to see how the lines start shaping once conference play beings…Appalachian has improved its free shooting dramatically in the past few games, as they are 71.5% on the season, up over 5% in the just the last four games…The Mountaineers gave up 10 three pointers to Presbyterian, a season high.