The Mountaineers survived on Thursday to beat Jacksonville by a score of 67-56. The game was littered with 51 combined fouls called on the night which provided for 62 free throw attempts between the two teams.
Appalachian led almost the entirety of the game, never surrendering after it took a 9-7 lead with 17:13 to play in the first half. The Mountaineers led by ten points at the break and pushed their lead to twelve in the second half. The Dolphins wouldn’t give up, cutting the Mountaineer lead to four on five different occasions in the final half.
Appalachian tallied four different players in double figures, with Frank Eaves leading the way with 18 points. Jake Babic added 13 points and five rebounds. Chris Burgess and Dustin Clarke chipped in ten points each.
For the game, five different Mountaineers combined to hit nine three pointers in the contest. Clarke, Burgess, Eaves and Babic hit two each while Tab Hamilton hit one off the bench.
Jacob Lawson served a one game suspension for a violation of team rules that stemmed from missing a class.
No spread was available for the game. That is common with schools from low-major conferences. Some books marked the game as a PK, but we won’t count that in our yearly standings. Today, Hofstra is 6 point favorite which seems to be an appropriate line. In each of the Mountaineers five games, their shooting percentage has improved from the field and behind the arc. This will be the fourth game this season that Appalachian is an underdog, but the first time they have a lined game at home this season. Hofstra has not lost this year against the spread. I think 6 points is plenty for Hofstra to cover in this game.
Last time out, Appalachian fell hard in a huge loss at Ohio by a 73-47 count. You can count on one finger the number of Mountaineers that played well. Tommy Spagnola led the Mountaineers with 11 points and nine rebounds, narrowly missing the double-double in thirty-one minutes of action. Starting point guard Frank Eaves could not have played any worse. Eaves was 2-12 from the floor, including misfiring on all four of his three points attempts, while also leading the team with four turnovers compared to just two assists. Surprisingly, Tab Hamilton was ruled out of the game, and his playing time is doubt until his eligibility is straightened out due to playing too many games in a summer league.
Ohio was favored by ten points and covered the spread easily. We expected the Bobcats to cover and they did. Appalachian is 0-1 against the spread on the season and we are 1-0 with our picks.
Tonight, Appalachian faces Furman in Greenville, SC. I still do not understand why this game was scheduled, against a former SoCon opponent, nor do I understand why its being played in Greenville. The Paladins were drilled in their first game of the season, 75-40, by College of Charleston, but were without last years leading scorer in Stephen Croone who sat out due to a concussion.
This could be an ugly game tonight. Neither team was able to shoot the ball very well in their season opener. The Mountaineers slashed 33/25/44 (field goals/three pointers/free throws) while Furman countered with a 24/17/51. For those counting, thats not good. Furman has always played Appalachian tough in auditorium that is Timmons Arena. The Paladins are 2.5 point favorite, which is basically home court. However, I believe this number favors the Mountaineers slightly. I like the line better at three points, but I’ll take App at +2.5.