App State men’s basketball erased a 22-point second half deficit in an 84-78 double overtime victory at Georgia Southern on Friday evening.
The 22-point comeback is the largest since at least 2002. It also marks the first deficit overcome of 20 or more points for the Mountaineers (13-10, 7-7 SBC) since erasing a 20-point deficit at James Madison on Dec. 30, 2002.
In addition, App State has now won five consecutive contests over Georgia Southern (12-12, 6-9 SBC), overcoming double digit deficits in each victory. The Mountaineers last won five consecutive games over the Eagles from 1998-2001.
Georgia Southern took a 36-20 edge into the break and pushed its lead to 46-24 with 15:08 remaining. App State answered with a 7-0 run to pull within 15 and used another 7-0 spurt later in the half to trim the Eagles lead to 50-41 with 10:47 to play.
The Eagles pushed their lead back to 56-43, only to see the Black and Gold respond with a 13-2 run to pull within 58-56 with 4:17 remaining. The Eagles pushed their lead back to four points with a basket, but App State responded with five straight points to jump in front 61-60 on a dunk from Xavion Brown with 1:34 left to play. Georgia Southern scored the next three points, but Justin Forrest hit a floater in the lane with 15 seconds left to tie the score at 63-63 and force overtime.
Donovan Gregory gave the Mountaineers a 64-63 lead early in the first extra session. Georgia Southern answered with a 7-0 run to open a 70-64 advantage with 2:13 remaining. The Mountaineers used a Forrest layup to pull within four and following a stop, trimmed the Eagles lead to a point on a 3-pointer from Adrian Delph. The Eagles scored with 51 seconds remaining to open a 72-69 edge, but Forrest drained a trey with 38 seconds left to tie the score at 72-72. Georgia Southern took two shots in the closing seconds and a block by Brown on the final attempt sent the game to a second overtime.
The Eagles opened the scoring in the second overtime frame, but the Mountaineers scored seven straight points, capped by another 3-pointer from Forrest, to take a 79-74 lead with 1:09 left. Georgia Southern hit a pair of free throws with 43 seconds left to pull within three. Gregory was fouled on App State’s next possession and drained a pair of free throws. Following another stop, Michael Almonacy hit a pair of free throws with 23 seconds remaining to give the Black and Gold an 83-76 edge. Georgia Southern scored with 13 seconds left, but Delph was fouled and hit a free throw with 10 seconds left to put the game away and cap the comeback.
Delph finished with a team high tying 24 points and a team best eight rebounds. Forrest also had 24 points, knocking down five 3-pointers, while adding four rebounds, three assists and three steals.
Gregory finished with 17 points on 5-of-6 (83.3 percent) shooting and six rebounds. Almonacy had 13 points and a team high six assists off the bench, while Brown pulled down a career high five rebounds and had a career best three blocks in a reserve role.
In the second half and overtime sessions, the Mountaineers shot a combined 52.3 percent (23-of-44) from the field and held Georgia Southern to a combined 32.4 percent (12-of-37) in that same timeframe, including 18.2 percent (2-of-11) shooting in the second overtime.
In all, App State forced the Eagles into 20 turnovers, scoring 20 points off the miscues.
The two teams will conclude the regular season tomorrow at 3 p.m. on ESPN+ and the Appalachian Sports Network from Learfield IMG College.