App. State Men and Women advance at SoCon Tournament


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.

Appalachian opens tournament against Furman

Furman pulled off the upset of the evening last night if you want to believe most SoCon experts. The fact is, there is not a huge gap between the bottom teams of this conference and the lower middle teams. Samford, who Furman beat on Friday, prefers a slower pace of basketball, which induces a game of half court basketball where execution is vital. Samford and Furman both play very short benches and a Furman victory to us was not as surprising as it was for most. Furman had been playing much better down the stretch, despite losing ten games in a row.

Furman won their eighth game of the season last night while getting several players back from injury. Stephen Croone came back from a foot injury, playing in only his second game back from injury and scored eleven of Furman’s 55 points. Croone drilled the Mountaineers for twenty points in their only meeting earlier this year in Boone. Charlie Reddick scored eight points and grabbed ten rebounds in a game where the Paladins outrebounded the Bulldogs 34-24. Furman also had a big game from Bobby Austin who scored seventeen points in 34 minutes.

Appalachian must regroup and focus after an emotional week of basketball last week. The Mountaineers were able to win two games in order to clinch the bye. Furman may have gained some confidence last night, but will have to play after less than a day of rest. The only meeting between the two schools earlier this year featured another one of Appalachian’s games where they blew a big lead and had to hold on late. Appalachian had an 18 point lead in the first half before eventually allowing Furman to cut the lead to one point late in the game. March is not the time for loss of focus and Appalachian must keep its down and grind this win out before worrying about who they may play tomorrow.

We are still waiting on Vegas to chime in on this game. This usually happens where we cannot find a line for tournament games until right before tipoff. Considering other high profile games that are being played across the country, it is very possible that we do not see a line in this game at all. We will keep checking until game time. Our guess is the Mountaineers are favored by 5.5 points, but that could be generous. It is possible this line could be as high as 7 points.

11:25 UPDATE: Appalachian has opened as 6 point favorite. This is what we were expecting. We will keep waiting for movement before we make a pick.

Samford buzzer-beats Appalachian…again

Samford’s Jazmine Martin nailed a three pointer with three tenths of a second on the clock to beat Appalachian on Monday night in Boone. It was second time this season that Appalachian had lost to the Bulldogs on a last second shot. In both instances, Appalachian connected on their final possession to tie the game. In the game from earlier this season, Samford hit a running layup, and this time around, Martin’s three pointer came from the baseline and rattled in.

The game began in an odd fashion, with one official calling in sick just moments before tip-off as the game started with two officials. The two officials who began the game went on to call three seconds in the lane on both teams in the first half. They also called twelve fouls on Appalachian while only calling six on Samford in the first half. Samford would knock down eleven of their twelve free throws in the first half. In the second half, the foul totals were equally inconsistent, as Samford was whistled for five fouls while Appalachian was called for ten. Samford would hit eleven of thirteen free throws in the second half. So, for the game, Appalachian was called for twice as many fouls, that led to Samford shooting ten more free throws, and scoring thirteen more points than Appalachian on the line for the game. Over a third of the Samford points (22 of 63) came on the foul line.

The result keeps Appalachian solidly as the fourth seed in the SoCon Tourney, but also caps off an unspectacular 13-7 conference record. The fourth seed still provides Appalachian a bye, and will face off against Charleston on Saturday at 2:15pm at Kimmel Arena on the campus of UNC-Asheville.


Men’s Basketball pounds Mocs, earns SoCon bye


Line opened at 5, favoring the Mountaineers, and has dropped throughout the morning, now down to 3.5. This is free money today. If this line keeps dropping, or even settles back to 4, the Mountaineers are the play here. I was lukewarm on Chattanooga at +5.


The season was basically on the line, and Appalachian responded in a way they had not all season long. Appalachian could not miss in the first half, scoring a season high 55 points in the first half that included nine three pointers. The Mountaineers cruised in the second half as Chattanooga never really threatened. The Mountaineers were led by their outgoing seniors who played their last game in the Holmes Center. Jamaal Trice scored 13 points in his final home game, where Appalachian donned black uniforms for the first time in the thirteen year history of the Holmes Center. Nathan Healy scored 20 points and grabbed fourteen rebounds on his senior day. Healy was emotional in an awestruck way while trying to find out how she acknowledge the just over 2100 fans in attendance.

To imagine the journey that Nathan Healy went on these past fours years is inspiring. He was a freshman on the 2009-2010 team that was one game short of advancing to the NCAA tournament after losing to Wofford in the SoCon championship game in Charlotte. Healy had only played in thirty career games entering his senior season, and had only started in eleven of those games. Healy had scored 367 points in his first three years in the black and gold. This season, Healy scored 422 points. He inserted himself at the leader of the team from the first game to the last, and will always be remembered on the mountain. Healy started every game this season, leading the team in scoring, rebounds, field goals made, three pointers made, blocks, steals, and free throw percentage.

Although Appalachian earned the fourth seed and a bye in the SoCon tourney, their road is difficult without upsets. Appalachian could face Davidson if the higher seeds win their games, and Davidson provides the worst matchup in the conference for Appalachian. On the flip side, no team has ever won four games in four days in the oldest conference tournament in the nation. The Mountaineers may have given themselves a tougher road to a championship, however, it is one that will require fewer games to play.

We finished 15-9 picking against the spread in Appalachian games this season to date. Appalachian was also 15-9, as there were two games where I did not take the Mountaineers, and went 1-1 in those games. Those alternating picks evened out which provided the equal records. Last season we finished 10-14 during the regular season, which is marked improvement from one year to the next. Our season review and tournament preview will be posted later this week.

Men’s Basketball edges Samford in 2OT’s

The game between Appalachian and Samford on Thursday night in the Holmes Dome is about as big of a game that Appalachian will play this season. Elon has already wrapped up the North division crown, while Samford, Appalachian and Western Carolina will fight it out for the fourth overall seed for the SoCon tourney. Western and Appalachian play the same teams in reverse order in Samford and Chattanooga both at home, while Samford is on the road for both games. Whichever team can go 2-0 this weekend will win that fourth seed most likely, but is extremely possible that this thing gets real weird and we head to break this tie on some ridiculous rule the SoCon invented.

Samford 9-7 .563 6-3 3-4 0-0 W1 11-18 .379 7-6 4-10 0-2 W1
Appalachian State 8-8 .500 5-2 3-6 0-0 L1 12-15 .444 8-4 4-11 0-0 L1
Western Carolina 8-8 .500 3-4 5-4 0-0 L2 12-17 .414 6-5 5-11 1-1 W1

If Appalachian can go 2-0, that puts them at 10-8, and Samford could finish 10-8 at best, by beating Western, who would finish 9-7 in this scenario. Tiebreaker would go to Appalachian for beating second seeded Elon once.

If Appalachian can go 2-0, Samford goes 0-2, and Western goes 2-0, which would tie Appalachian and Western, the tiebreaker would go to Appalachian, once again for beating Elon once.

Appalachian could go 1-1 and still get the fourth seed, but it starts and begins with beating Samford. Without beating Samford, Appalachian’s seed will be out of their control.

Just for fun, if Western and Samford tie at 10-8, the tiebreaker would go to Samford for beating Charleston once.

Can the Mountaineers beat Samford. Of course, if they play to their best game and to their potential. In the first matchup, Samford played lights outs, hitting all the shots they needed to hit, quieting every Mountaineer run. The Bulldogs shot 55% from the field and 47% from three point land. Any time a shoots that well, it is going to be tough sledding beating them on the road, seven hours from your campus.

The early line is 3.5 points, favoring the Mountaineers. As has happened all year long, the line will move. Appalachian has covered in every game against North Division opponents at home this year, but has struggled recently against the South. Samford has covered the spread in twelve of its last fourteen games, with the other two games resulting in pushes. That is an incredible stretch that has to come to an end soon. We will watch the line and make our pick tomorrow.


In order to remain in contention for the bye, Appalachian did what it needed to do, even if it took them ten extra minutes. The Mountaineers led the entire first half, at one point by as many as twelve points, but as has been the case all season, Appalachian would relinquich that lead. After trailing by twelve points in the first half, Samford went on a long run that lasted close to twenty minutes of game time that put them ahead by eight points with 4:08 to play in the game. During that stretch, Samford outscored the Mountaineers 39-19.

When Samford grabbed their largest lead of the game with 4:08 to play in the second half, at 59-51, it was the last points they would score in regulation. Appalachian went on a 8-0 run themselves. Jamaal Trice scored five of his team leading 18 points during that stretch.

The first overtime period was an awful five minutes of basketball to watch. The two teams combined to shoot 1/9 in the period, with Appalachian’s two points coming on the free throw line by the most unlikely of players in Michael Obacha. The second overtime saw Appalachian score nine points in the first three minutes, and held on to win down the stretch as Samford failed to score in the final 2:18 of the game.

Appalchian improves its record against the spread to 14-9, which is our record as well. Saturday could bring about an interesting number consider the nature of how the first game between Appalachian and Chattanooga went down. Appalachian will be in a situation where they can win the game and secure the fourth seed and final bye heading into the SoCon tournament.


Women’s Basketball 77 UNC-Greensboro 46

If Appalachian had any lingering effects from their loss on Monday at Elon, they let them all loose on Greensboro. The Mountaineers never trailed in this game, and raced out to a sixteen point lead at halftime over the Spartans. The Mountaineers eventually led by as many as thirty five points in the second half before closing out the game with a twenty-nine point win. Greensboro may have still had some ill effects from their food poisoning from over the weekend.

Appalachian was led by three players in doubles figures with Maryah Sydnor scoring 18 points,  and Anna Freeman and Courtney Freeman adding 13 points each. Anna Freeman secured 11 rebounds while Kelsey Sharkey pulled down 10 rebounds. The Mountaineers bested the Spartans in every statistical category, outside of free throw attempts. Somehow the Spartans only committed five fouls the entire game. The Mountaineers hit 52% from the field, and hit more threes (5), than they did free throws (4).

Appalachian is now a full game ahead of Elon, with both teams having tough tests remaining. Appalachian hosts Chattanooga and Samford this weekend while Elon has Davidson remaining on their schedule. If the Mountaineers want the third seed, they are going to have to win at least one of their remaining games to feel good about themselves. The third seed would put Appalachian on the same side of the bracket as Davidson, who they cannot seem to beat. If the Mountaineers slip to the fourth seed, they would find themselves on the same side as Chattanooga.

Men’s Basketball 77 The Citadel 80

The Citadel is not your average six win team. Even though three of their wins came in 2012, the Bulldogs have knocked off three SoCon teams this season. All of those SoCon opponents came from the weak South Division, and by using the transitive property, all of teams Citadel has beaten, Appalachian has also defeated. Of their SoCon wins, Georgia Southern is athletic, but a poor team overall, Wofford is terribly young, and Furman is about as untalented as it gets in the conference. The Bulldogs are also 2-10 on the road this season, with two of those wins coming in Statesboro and Greenville. In fact the Bulldogs have not won a game this season played north of the NC/SC border.

Although the Bulldogs are a tough team to scout, they do stick to a zone defense and like to get the ball inside. Rarely do you see a strategy in college basketball, where on one side of the court, you try to slow the game down, and on the other, try to lenghthen the game by drawing fouls in the frontcourt. Three Citadel players average in double figures, led by Mike Groselle, scoring 15.1 points per game, while also pulling in 7.3 rebounds. PJ Horgan pours in 11.1 points per game while adding 6.4 rebounds per game. Matt Van Scyoc adds 10.9 points per game.

The key for Appalachian of late has been the play of Michael Obacha. He is easily the most improved player on the team this season. Obacha has improved his presence in the post, getting open for easy layups, and has avoided foul trouble for the most part. Add to that, Obacha was shooting well under 50% from the free throw line earlier in the season, and has improved to 50%. It does not seem like much, but his efficiency has increased and he just looks more confident on the line.

We will update the spread in the morning. Our feeling is that Appalachian will be favored, and it could be close to ten points.

1:04 PM UPDATE: Appalachian is favored by 9.5 points. This is a really tough one. App has had trouble a couple times this season covering at home to South Division foes. I am really feeling taking Citadel in this one. Only some serious line movement will point me towards Appalachian on this one.

7:37 PM UPDATE: Holy bonkers the spread moved to 10.5. This is shocking. I just don’t feel it. App may lead by more than 10 before the game is over, but I don’t think they hold it. I am taking The Citadel to cover 10.5.


We are going to make this short and sweet because complaining is not going to change the result. Appalachian led by nine points in the first half, playing against a glorified intramural team, and squandered the lead and was forced to tie the game at halftime on a 75 foot, one-handed heave by Tevin Baskin that hit off the backboard and found the bottom of the net as time expired. Once again that tied the game at 34 at halftime.

Without some three pointers by Mike Neal and Tab Hamilton late in the game, Appalachian would have never found themselves in contention for overtime. The Mountaineers hit eight threes in the second half, which accounted for 24 of their 34 second half points. Even though Michael Obacha has played better of late, he has yet to play against a player like Mike Groselle, who plays a different style of center than any player in the league. He is their point guard in the post and their entire offense goes through him. Appalachian’s post players never make the pass back out of the post to an open shooter while The Citadel lives on it.

Somehow, Appalachian still finds itself in position to secure the bye in the SoCon Tourney that they should not want, nor deserve. The bye will come down to the game next weekend, starting with Samford on Thursday night. Appalachian trails Samford by one game in the North standings. Appalachian and Western Carolina are tied for fifth overall, and working out the tiebreaker scenarios will be futile until after Thursday’s results. This is much is certain, if Appalachian wants the fourth seed and the bye that comes with it, beating Samford comes first.

Appalachian did not cover the spread, and did not cover in a very lopsided manner. The Mountaineers were nearly 11 point favorites and perhaps turned that into the worst loss in school history. I went with The Citadel, the first time I had taken the opponent since East Carolina. Now Appalachian and myself are 14-8 against the spread this season. After starting 10-0 to start the season, App is 4-8 since.

Women’s Basketball 74 Charleston 65

Appalachian has played some of its best defense in the last week or so, and they will need another effort like the last few games to hold off Charleston. The Cougars are a very interesting team this season. After two years of being well below average, the Cougars have found some momentum and find themselves in sixth place in the SoCon. Charleston sits only a half game out of fifth place Samford, which would put them in great position in the tournament if they could get there. The top five seeds would have to play one fewer game to get to the conference final. Equally as interesting, if the Cougars finish 6th, which is most likely, they would potentially meet the third seed in the quarterfinals, which right now, would be Appalachian. The thought that these two teams could meet again in ten days makes this matchup even more intriguing.

In the first matchup of the season, Appalachian held on for an eight point win on the road, just a little over a month ago. Charleston was dominate on the offensive glass, with 25 for the game, something that has been a problem for Appalachian all season. Charleston only hit four of their thirty three point attempts and were 11/25 from the free throw line. Conversely, it was a game where Appalachian was successful shooting from long range, hitting six three pointers. Both shooting stats where the exact opposite of how both teams had played prior to their game. Add that Charleston has played well of late, and you have an opportunity for an upset here. Appalachian has only lost one home game this season, but have always been good for losing one game they should not have at home in the past. If Charleston can hit a few threes early it will give Appalachian a run for their money.


Even thought the final margin was nine points, Appalachian led by as many as nineteen points in the late second half while cruising to their eighteenth win of the season. Charleston battle with the Mountaineers early in a very physical contest that eventually took a toll on the Cougars. Forty-five fouls were called in the game, but Charleston’s key players took a bigger hit than did the Mountaineers. Appalachian was able to build its lead late in the second half, and was never really threatened for the remainder of the game.

The story of the game, and of the past couple weeks is the play of Kelsey Sharkey. She has shown more offensive skill recently than she has in her career. Sharkey takes high percantage shots, and has played to her strengths just about as well as Mountaineer. Against Charleston, Sharkey scored fourteen points and grabbed fourteen rebounds, while adding five blocks and three steals. Anna Freeman continued her run of strong defensive play. Anna has put up a double-double in four straight games. Her line was 18 points, 18 rebounds, 5 blocks and 5 assists. Anna has blocked 12 Cougar shots in two games this season, and has 13 of her 55 blocked shots this season in her last three games.

Women’s Basketball 63 Western Carolina 32

One way to look at this game, is that Appalachian did a great job of playing defense and holding Western to only 32 points. Otherwise, Appalachian was fortunate that they had one of their worst offensive nights against one of the worst teams in the conference. Considering the Mountaineers only gave up 50 to Wofford on Saturday, you have to like where this team is headed. According to Darcie Vincent, Appalachian could have “scored a 100 with all of those missed layups.” That is vintage Darcie, always urging her team to play better, and that there is always room for improvement. Eventually this kind of talk may fall on deaf ears, but we are certainly a fan of giving 100% on every given night.

Western was awful on a special level. The Catamounts shot 11/52 for the night, good enough for 21%. That number is what Western had to improve to, as much of the second half, the Catamounts were shooting in the teens. The Cats somehow managed to hit two three pointers – of their nineteen attempts. Eight of their thirty-two points came on the free throw line. That one fourth of their points, on the free throw line. Usually, that is a good thing, but not when you are held under a point a minute. Western actually had two players score six points, and eleven of their players scored. Usually when eleven players score in a game, its a good thing, but not so for Western Carolina tonight.

Several Mountaineers turned out big games. As per usual, Anna Freeman was the leader in several categories, but also outhustled basically the entire Catamount team. Anna finished with 12 points, 10 rebounds, 6 steals and 4 blocks. Western Carolina only had one block. Maryah Sydnor took home the honors of the game’s leading scorer with 16 points, 5 rebounds and 4 steals. Kelsey Sharkey continues her solid play, scoring 8 points, but adding 12 rebounds, 3 steals and 3 blocks. Courtney Freeman rounded out the double digit scorers with 11 points and 7 rebounds. Next up for the Mountaineers is Charleston on Wednesday, part of a doubleheader with the men playing the Citadel. The Cougars have been hot recently, just beating Davidson last week and Samford on Monday night.

Women’s Basketball 77 Wofford 50

The Mountaineer women will face Wofford in the annual Play4Kay game for cancer research. Wofford is 0-5 on the road this season in conference play despite taking Appalachian to two overtimes earler this season. Wofford has yet to beat an Appalachian team coached by Darcie Vincent despite several close calls over the years. The Mountaineers have won eleven in a row in the series and really needs a win to keep pressure on the teams in front of them in the conference standings.

Chattanooga 14-1 .933 8-0 6-1 0-0 W11 21-3 .875 11-0 9-3 1-0 W11
Davidson 11-2 .846 5-2 6-0 0-0 L1 14-9 .609 6-2 7-6 1-1 L1
Appalachian State 9-4 .692 5-1 4-3 0-0 W1 15-6 .714 7-1 6-5 2-0 W1
Elon 9-5 .643 6-1 3-4 0-0 L2 12-11 .522 9-2 3-9 0-0 L2
Samford 9-6 .600 6-2 3-4 0-0 W1 12-12 .500 8-3 4-9 0-0 W1


This game was never in reach for Wofford. Appalachian jumped out to leads of 8-0, 15-5, and 29-14 before leading by fifteen points at halftime. Appalachian extended that lead throughout the second half en route to a 27 point victory, one where Appalachian actively pursued scoring on their last possession of the game. Anna Freeman hit a layup at the end of the shot clock, with two seconds remaining in the game to make the final score 77-50.

In a game where Appalachian dominated from start to finish, the Mountaineers hit the glass for the highest rebounding margin of the season, yet still seem to give up plenty of offensive rebounds. The Mountaineers led the battle of the boards 51-37, but nearly half of Wofford’s boards were on the offensive glass. This has been a problem for Appalachian all season long, and there does not seem to be a cure in the near future.

Wofford had problems hitting shots all game long. The Terriers only shot 28.3% from the field, 17.6% from behind the arc, and only 50% from the free throw line. In all, Appalachian made thirteen more made field goals than Wofford, shooting just under 50% for the game while also hitting fifteen of their twenty free throws.

Four Mountaineers scored in double figures, led as always by Anna Freeman, who scored 19 points and secured her second straight double-double, and third in her last five games. Anna now has six double-doubles on the season, this one no doubt being one her best with 15 rebounds. Maryah Sydnor finished with 14 points and 8 rebounds. Raven Gary scored 10 points and added five assists, without recording a turnover. Courtney Freeman finished with 11 points.