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Tre'Von Spillers
Tre'von Spillers led Appalachian State with 21 points in the win.
photo courtesy of Appalachian State Athletics

Appalachian State Men’s Basketball Blows Out Coastal Carolina

The Mountaineers’ suffocating defense in Conway, S.C., led to a 70-45 rout over the Chanticleers on Thursday, marking the Mountaineers’ fifth-largest margin of victory over a Sun Belt foe since joining the league in 2014. Coach Kerns’ defense held the Chanticleers to just 45 points on Thursday, which is the second-fewest points the Mountaineers have given up against a current Sun Belt foe.

App State (12-4, 3-1 SBC) jumped all over Coastal Carolina (4-11, 1-3 SBC) on the road Thursday, leading for 37 minutes and jumping in front by as much as 28 points in the game. The Mountaineer defense held the Chanticleers to just two made threes while allowing 16-first half points, which is the fewest points allowed by the Mountaineers in a half this season. The Mountaineers are now 15-0 under Coach Kerns when they allow less than 50 points in a game.

Three more Mountaineers reached double-figures on Thursday, paced by Tre’Von Spillers’ eighth-straight double-digit outing. Additionally, 11 players found the basket, marking the 10th game this season that at least nine Mountaineers have scored a basket.

It was a slow start for both teams on Thursday as neither team scored in the first 2:15 of the contest. Donovan Gregory broke the ice with a layup off a Terence Harcum offensive rebound. The Mountaineers jumped in front by three at the first media break thanks to a Justin Abson alley-oop slam off a pretty feed from Xavion Brown.

Out of the media break, Terence Harcum got his night started with five straight points to build App State’s lead to six at the 13:56 mark. But the Chanticleers would work to find their rhythm and trim the lead back to two points as Jacob Meyer and Jaland Whitehead would find the basket just before the under-eight break.

After Coastal Carolina tied things up at 13 apiece, the Mountaineers broke the game wide open, exploding out on a 19-0 run to build a first-half high 19-point lead over the next five minutes. Suffocating defense and easy transition baskets would fuel App State to 19 straight points as the Chanticleers would miss eight straight shots while the Mountaineers would tally two of their five blocks during the run.

Spillers provided all the necessary highlights during the first-half run, blocking a three-point attempt from Ian Granja and racing down the floor to slam home a vicious two-handed slam. Spillers continued to be a problem for the Chanticleer defense as he tallied another layup to give the Mountaineers a 13-point lead before Myles Tate drilled a three-pointer to extend the lead to 16 at the 2:34 mark of the first frame.

Capping off the run, CJ Huntley buried a long three to give him his first points of the game and bring the App State bench to their feet. After nearly seven straight scoreless minutes, Braeden MacVicar would hit a three to halt the run, but the Mountaineers still took a 16-point lead into the locker room.

App State’s furious first-half defensive effort was fueled by five first-half blocks and five Chanticleer turnovers. The Mountaineers held the Chanticleers to just 24 percent shooting in the half, leading to the fewest points allowed in a single half this season (16).

Spillers led all scorers at the break with 10 points on 5-7 shooting, while also swatting away two shots and grabbing three boards. Right behind Spillers was Harcum, who notched eight points and sunk two first-half threes.

The Mountaineers kept pace with their strong first-half start, scoring four quick points in the first two minutes to keep the lead at 15 points at the first media break of the final frame. The Chanticleers worked to close the gap as play progressed, trimming the lead to 11 after John Ojiako slammed home a dunk off an offensive rebound.

But the Mountaineers wouldn’t let the Chanticleers get any closer than 11 points in the second half as App State would score six straight points to jump back in front by 17, capped off by a Christopher Mantis three-ball. App State’s lead would balloon back to 19 after Myles Tate got in the lane and laid home a basket through contact for his 10th points of the contest.

Shortly after Tate’s and-one bucket, he would drill his second three of the game to push the Mountaineer lead to 20 at the 10:37 mark of the second half. App State would maintain its distance from Coastal Carolina as play continued, never letting the lead fall below 16 points for the final 11 minutes of the game.

Continuing to push the gas pedal, App State would jump out to a 28-point advantage thanks to a 14-2 run over a five-minute stretch, fueled by six straight points from Justin Abson. The Mountaineer big man fell one point and one rebound shy of his second career double-double on Thursday.

Coach Kerns would empty his bench for the final minutes of the contest, allowing Bryant Greene and Josh Hayes to score their first points in over a month to close things out. The Mountaineers played all 13 active players on Thursday.

When the final horn sounded, the Mountaineers had claimed their 12th triumph of the year and sixth win by at least 20 points this season. Suffocating defense was the story of the night for the Mountaineers on Thursday.

On a night that saw 11 Mountaineers find the basket, three players reached double-figures in the 25-point win over Coastal Carolina. Myles Tate led all scorers with 13 points off the bench, nailing five of his eight shots while dishing out three assists. Tre’Von Spillers recorded his eighth consecutive double-digit night, scoring 12 points, while being a factor on the defensive end as well, recording two steals and two blocks. Terence Harcum finished with 10 points and tallied two steals, which tied his personal best number of steals in a game.

The Mountaineers will cap off their four-game road trip on Saturday, traveling to Harrisonburg, Va., for a highly anticipated matchup with the James Madison Dukes at Atlantic Union Bank Center. Tipoff is set for 4 p.m. and can be streamed on ESPN+.