This afternoon’s game will be the final tune up of the season for the Mountaineers when they take on Milligan. From here on out, seventeen conference games will prepare Appalachian for the conference tournament. In the meantime, Millgan brings in a team that is over halfway through their season, with eight wins and seven losses. Milligan’s schedule consists of bunch of schools you have never heard of. Their Division I slate includes Liberty, and East Tennessee State, both which were lopsided losses. Montreat is the only common opponent as Milligan was able to win by by eleven points at home, while the Mountaineers claimed a thirty point win in their season opening exhibition game.
Appalachian should win this game easily, but don’t be surprised if Milligan keeps it close. Milligan held off Appalachian for a good portion of the game last year before falling by 23 points on Thanksgiving weekend. Milligan is a team that loves the three pointer and will take the shot when its there. Four players on their roster have hit twelve three pointers or more, with sixth man Scott Blake hitting 28 threes despite only averaging 16 minutes a game.
There is no spread for this game.
Appalachian opened up an eleven point halftime lead and eventually cruised pasts Milligan by twenty points. It was an uneasy win as Appalachian shot poorly in all aspects of the game. Chalk it up to the midseason blues if you want, but this was a game that was ugly to watch. Appalachian managed only 38% shooting for the game. Even worse, the Mountaineers were under 50% from the free throw line.
Somehow, Nathan Healy pulled in a massive double-double with 17 points and 15 rebounds. Jay Canty had a thumb taped up and that forced him to struggle shooting the ball, missing all six free throw attempts. In an odd twist, Mike Neal managed to get disciplined to only play seven minutes. Because of this, it’s time for some soapbox. It was later learned that Neal was late for a morning practice on gameday. So Neal, who missed nine games due to academic issues in the classroom, during his incredibly challenging freshman year of classes, has now been late to a team meeting. When is he going to understand the team means more than himself. At what point does he understand what his basketball scholarship means? It is obviously the only thing keeping him in school, considering his situation. (Hopping off the soapbox.)