Appalachian and Charleston played a really close game until the final few minutes when Appalachian’s pressure finally got to Charleston. Appalachian was in control for much of the game, but could never really extend their lead in the first half. Charleston led by a point on one occasion, but Appalachian quickly regained the lead. For much of the game, the Mountaineers led by just under ten points as Charleston hung around as long as they could.
The Cougars were still in the game with 2:09 remaining, as they only trailed by six points. The Mountaineers would finish the game on a 8-0 run to mark the final tally at 74-60. Six of those eight points came at the free throw line via Maryah Sydnor and Anna Freeman. Bria Huffman hit a basket as well in that final run by the Mountaineers.
Anna led all scorers with 23 points and added ten rebounds. Maryah Sydnor scored 17 points and added a half dozen rebounds. Raven Gary added 14 points, six rebouns and four assists. Courtney Freeman chipped in eleven points. Three Mountaineers, Sydnor, Anna, and Courtney accumulated twelve of the nineteen Appalachian fouls as all three were called for four. Charleston threw up another twenty three point attempts, and were mostly unsuccessful, hitting only five of them. The Cougars attempted 28 more shots than Appalachian, and the Mountaineers turned the ball over 13 more times than their opponent.
Appalachian gave up 20 offensive rebounds to Charleston, and must clean that up if they want to beat Chattanooga. The Mocs pounded Appalachian just eight days ago at home. The key to beating the Mocs is playing good perimeter defense and getting in the face of the Mocs three point shooters. Appalachian must also be very aware of Chattanooga’s post players, and do everything they can to limit the Mocs to one shot on the offensive end. Appalachian and Chattanooga will face off at noon on Sunday.
(We made the tough decision and attended the men’s game on Saturday)
Appalachian jumped all over a tired Furman team in the first half and never looked back. Appalachian used a 7-0 run the jump out to an 18-7 lead early in the first half. Moments later, a 10-2 run by Appalachian up by seventeen points, a lead they would two more times in the first half before heading to the locker room with a fourteen point halftime lead. Appalachian used active hands on the defensive end, something we had not seen all year long. Their hands were in the passing lanes on the wings, and once the ball was tipped, the Mountaineers were off and running for easy fast break points.
Furman cut the lead to five points at 38-33 early in the second half, but Appalachian once again answered with a huge run, another 7-0 run, that put that back up by double digits with 16:17 to play in the game. Furman would once again cut the lead back down to single digits at 47-40, before Appalachian finally put the Paladins away. Over the next 5:23 of game time, the Mountaineers went on a 19-5 run that gave them the Mountaineers their biggest lead of the game with just over eight minutes to play.
Furman responded with a 10-0 run, but it was too little too late for the Paladins. Tevin Baskin put a bow on the game as Furman went up for a breakaway dunk with 13 seconds left and Baskin emphatically blocked it away to preserve a 74-60 final margin.
In the earlier meeting against Furman, Appalachian had very balanced scoring, as four players scored 14 points. Scoring was very balanced against Furman in the tournament as no player scored more than 13 points. Nathan Healy and Jay Canty scored 13 as Jamaal Trice added twelve points to round out the Mountaineer double figure scorers. Baskin and Tab Hamilton added nine points each while Michael Obacha scored eight points and led the team with seven rebounds.
Next up for the Mountaineers is Davidson, who blistered Georgia Southern with three pointers, nailing ten in the first half, and thirteen for the game. Five Wildcats scored in double figures in the 86-59 win. Davidson handled Appalachian in both meeting this season, so this game will be a tall task for the Mountaineers. Most consider Appalachian the weakest of the four top seeds and predicted they would make an early exit in the tournament. Davidson and Appalachian have never met in the semifinals before and Appalachian is 1-3 all time against the Wildcats in the tournament. Davidson has easily brought the most fans to the tournament, but hopefully a 6pm start will bring a few more Mountaineers to Asheville.