Forty minutes wasn’t enough to settle one of the most competitive battles of the young college basketball season, as App State dropped a 78-76 overtime decision to Bowling Green at the Holmes Convocation Center on Monday night.
Graduate transfer Michael Almonacy converted a four-point play with 56 seconds left in regulation after being fouled on his made 3-pointer to tie the score at 69 apiece. Both teams failed to convert their subsequent attempts at the end of regulation.
The Mountaineers (2-1) and Falcons (2-1) traded baskets to start overtime. With Bowling Green up 77-73, Adrian Delph cut it to a one-point game with an off-balance 3-pointer from the corner with six seconds left. BG’s Justin Turner, who scored a game-high 25 points, made the first of two free throws before Almonacy heaved a last-second 40-footer off the rim that would have given the Mountaineers a thrilling overtime win.
Almonacy led App State with 21 points on 7-of-12 shooting, including six 3-pointers on eight tries. Delph chipped in 17 points, and James Lewis Jr. added 14 points and eight rebounds. Almonacy and Lewis both notched their most points as a Mountaineer.
The Mountaineers made 13 of 29 attempts from beyond the arc (44.8 percent) and 15 of 17 free throws (88.2 percent) on the night. Bowling Green, the preseason favorite in the Mid-American Conference, finished with 50.8 field-goal percentage, making 31 of 61 attempts. The teams both pulled down 35 rebounds.
App State led 36-34 after a back-and-forth first half. The Mountaineers took a 46-45 lead on a Donovan Gregory layup with 14:34 left in the game before Bowling Green went on a 13-2 run that gave the Falcons a 58-48 advance with just over 10 minutes left.
The Falcons still maintained a 12-point lead at 67-55 with 6:31 on the clock before a pair of Delph 3-pointers and four made free throws by Lewis made up a 10-0 Mountaineer run to pull it back to a single-possession game at 67-65 with 3:32 left in regulation.
With the score knotted at 69-69 in the final few seconds, App State had three attempts at a game winner that fell just off the mark. Delph missed a potential go-ahead 3-pointer that bounced off the rim straight to CJ Huntley, who missed a long put-back. The ball went out of bounds in App State’s possession with 0.8 seconds left, and Delph once again just missed another 3-point attempt on a catch-and-shoot play that sent the game to overtime.
The Mountaineers stay home and return to action Tuesday night against St. Andrews. Tipoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. on ESPN+.