App State men’s basketball erased a 16-point second half deficit in a 66-63 victory over Georgia Southern on Friday evening.
Georgia Southern (7-5, 1-2 SBC) took a 39-29 lead into the half and scored the first six points out of the locker room to open a 45-29 edge with 17:29 to go. App State (8-4, 2-1 SBC) came right back with a 10-2 run to trim the Eagles lead to 47-39. Georgia Southern pushed its lead back to 12, but the Mountaineers chipped away and pulled within six points at 58-52 with 7:45 remaining.
The Black and Gold continued to draw closer and got a basket from Donovan Gregory with 3:14 left to pull within two points at 63-61. The Mountaineers then tied the game with 1:53 left on a driving layup by Michael Almonacy.
On Georgia Southern’s next possession, Justin Forrest drew a charge to give App State the ball, but the Mountaineers turned it over on their ensuing possession. The Eagles took a 3-pointer with 20 seconds left that was no good and Gregory was fouled on App State’s next possession. He split his two free throw attempts to give App State a 64-63 advantage. The Mountaineers then forced a contested layup in the final seconds that was no good, with Forrest pulling down the rebound and getting fouled. Forrest made both free throw attempts with 0.5 seconds left and blocked a desperation 3-pointer at the buzzer to secure the 66-63 win.
In all, the Mountaineer defense held the Eagles to just three points over the final 6:03 and scoreless for the last 4:08 of the contest.
App State broke a 12-12 tie in the first half with five straight points from Adrian Delph. The Eagles responded with 10 consecutive points to take a 22-17 lead and opened as large of a lead at 11 points, 32-21, before taking a 39-29 lead into the break.
Almonacy paced the Mountaineer offense with a game-high 14 points off the bench. Forrest added 12 points, three rebounds and three assists and James Lewis Jr. tallied 12 points and a team-high tying six rebounds. Delph and Gregory had nine points apiece.
App State shot 50.0 percent (13-of-26) from the field in the second half and finished with a 45.1 percent (23-of-51) shooting clip in the contest. The Mountaineers also limited Georgia Southern to just 1-of-7 (14.3 percent) shooting from deep in the second half and 32.0 percent (8-of-25) shooting on 3-pointers in the game.
Prince Toyambi paced the posted a double-double for the Eagles with 12 points and a game-high 11 rebounds. Eric Boone also reached double figures in scoring with 10 points.