skip to Main Content
Terence Harcum
Terence Harcum scored 15 points to lead the way for the Mountaineers.
photo courtesy of Appalachian State Athletics

App State Men’s Basketball Suffers Loss in Sun Belt Tournament

After clawing their way back from a first-half deficit, the App State Mountaineers took the lead courtesy of a Justin Abson slam dunk for the first time since the early stages of the first half. The Mountaineers would reclaim the lead after Arkansas State took the lead back at 62-63, but the Red Wolves scored the last four points in the game, including a buzzer-beating shot as the Mountaineers fell 69-67 in the Sun Belt Tournament semifinals on Sunday.

App State (27-6, 16-2 SBC) came back from down by as much as much as 11 in the second half to take the lead, showing their resilience. Arkansas State’s (18-15, 11-7 SBC) defense stepped up in the final seconds, forcing two App State misses which allowed it to score the game-winning shot.

Arkansas State ran solid offensive sets in the first half, shooting 58 percent from the floor in the first 20 minutes while scoring 39 points. The Mountaineer defense stepped up in the second half and held the Red Wolves to just 33 percent shooting in the second half.

Donovan Gregory made his record-breaking 125th start tonight, passing both Justin Forrest and Ronshad Shabazz for the most starts in program history. He tallied nine points. Terence Harcum’s 15 points paced the Mountaineer offense on Sunday. Overall, three players reached double-figures against Arkansas State in Justin Abson and Myles Tate joined Harcum.

How it Happened
In App State’s third Sun Belt Tournament semifinal game in the last four years, Arkansas State got on the board first, using a Taryn Todd layup to get on the board. Harcum drilled a long three to put App State ahead as he tallied his first of 15 points early in the game.

It was a back-and-forth affair to start the game as the lead changed hands five times in the first seven minutes, but the Red Wolves used an 8-2 run to jump ahead by six at the under-12 break. CJ Huntley scored his first basket to break the run, but despite the basket, Caleb Fields got into the paint for a layup to send things to the break with Arkansas State up by six.

The Red Wolves continued to play well, scoring seven of the next 11 points to take a nine-point lead into the under-eight media break. The Mountaineers couldn’t seem to find the basket during the Red Wolves’ run and fell behind while Arkansas State got hot.

Jordan Marsh brought a spark to the Mountaineer bench and the fans who made the trip down to the Pensacola Bay Center as he came off the bench and scored four quick points to trim the deficit back to five. Marsh’s steal and fast-break layup jolted the fans as Arkansas State called timeout.

Arkansas State finished the half strong despite the flame lit by Marsh, making five of their last six baskets to take a 10-point lead into the locker room. It was App State’s first deficit of at least 10 points at any point in a game since trailing by 11 late in the game against Toledo on Feb. 10.

Terence Harcum’s three-point shooting helped keep App State in the game as he tallied two threes in the first 20 minutes and scored a team-high 10 points. Marsh’s six points off the bench lit a spark in the team when it needed it, shooting 3-4 from the field in his seven first-half minutes.

As a team, the Mountaineers shot it well at 46 percent, but Arkansas State used a hot-shooting half to grab the early lead.

The Mountaineers got to work immediately to cut into the deficit to start the second half, trimming the lead down to seven by the 17:52 mark in the final frame courtesy of a pair of free throws from Abson. Arkansas State countered App State’s start with a quick spurt to take its largest lead of the game at 11 by the 15:20 mark thanks to Izaiyah Nelson’s basket.

App State cut the Red Wolves’ lead back to seven after trailing by 11 and found some momentum as Xavion Brown got into the paint for a layup. Myles Tate’s pull-up jumper in the paint took the deficit down to just three, which was the closest the score was since it was 12-15 in the first half.

A Taryn Todd jumper pushed the Red Wolves back ahead by five but Terence Harcum’s long three-pointer cut the deficit to just two points with 8:58 to play as he continued to play well.

Slowly working their way back, App State trimmed the Red Wolves lead to just one point at the 5:30 mark and took a one-point lead courtesy of Abson’s two-handed slam, igniting the Mountaineer faithful as App State led for the first time since early in the game.

The Red Wolves reclaimed the lead after a pair of free throws by Caleb Fields, but a huge three by Myles Tate gave the Mountaineers the lead right back as he capped off his 11-point second-half performance.

Now trailing, the Red Wolves needed to find an answer and they did in the form of a driving layup from Caleb Fields, who had 23 points in the game. The Mountaineers came down looking to answer but couldn’t as Harcum missed a shot.

With 48 seconds to play, the Red Wolves called timeout and drew up a play from the sideline. Gregory’s defense on Taryn Todd forced a turnover and gave the Mountaineers the ball back with a chance to take the lead.

App State turned to Gregory to give them the lead. His floating jumper in the lane missed short and Tre’Von Spillers gave the Mountaineers a second chance with an offensive rebound. Spillers dished it to Tate who took a jumper from just outside of the paint that missed right, and Arkansas State called a timeout with 14 seconds to play. The Red Wolves went to Freddy Hicks who pump-faked once and threw up a shot after getting his defender in the air that went in at the horn to give Arkansas State a win.

Top Performers
Four players eclipsed double figures in the game with Terence Harcum leading the way. In 36 minutes, Harcum tallied a team-high 15 points while drilling three threes. Myles Tate’s 11 second-half points helped the Mountaineers fight their way back in the final minutes as he hit tough shot after tough shot to will App State back into it. Justin Abson’s 10 points and seven rebounds marked his second straight game at the Sun Belt Tournament with at least 10 points.