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Donovan Gregory
Donovan Gregory leads the Mountaineers averaging 12.5 points per game.
photo courtesy of Appalachian State Athletics

Appalachian State Men’s Basketball Falls Short in Comeback Attempt

Donovan Gregory and Terence Harcum led a fierce comeback that sparked incredible energy in the Holmes Center, but the Mountaineers fell short in the final moments to James Madison, 63-57.

After a 19-point first half that ended with a double-digit deficit, App State came out of the locker room and tripled its point total.

The squads went back and forth in the opening minutes of the second period, with the Dukes taking a 37-26 advantage at the 16:47 mark. The Mountaineers answered with a 10-0 run, beginning with a second-chance bucket by Gregory.

In the following play, Gregory got a defensive rebound and found his way to the basket again to increase his point total to 11.

With that shot, the senior forward became the 35th member of the 1,000-point club at App State. Gregory is one of at least 13 players in program history with 1,000 points and 500 rebounds. The Charlotte native grabbed his 500th rebound on Thursday night against Marshall.

On the very next play, Gregory stole the ball, becoming the seventh player in Mountaineer history to record 150 career steals. He then passed it behind his back to Harcum on the fast break as the sophomore nailed one of his five 3-pointers to cut the lead to four.

Harcum hit another fast-break triple on the next play, cutting the lead to one. During that stretch, Gregory scored or assisted on 14 of App State’s 17 points, as JMU built another small lead.

Down seven with four minutes to go, Xavion Brown found the net on two straight plays, followed by Harcum’s final 3-pointer with two minutes left to tie the game at 56. James Madison would be the only team scoring in the final two.

Justin Abson grabbed a career-high 11 rebounds and blocked three shots, increasing his season total to 57, the most ever by an App State freshman and third-most by an App State player. He ranks ninth in the nation in the blocks column. The record for the most blocks by a Mountaineer in a season is 75, set by Jeremy Clayton during the 2007-08 season.

Gregory finished with 21 for the third time this season and tied his season-high of nine rebounds. Harcum added 20, scoring in double figures in nine of his last 10 games.

App State held its second straight opponent to a 35% game from the field, posting a season-long percentage of 39.6%, which is the 21st-best defensive rate in the nation.

The Mountaineers will go on the road next week, visiting ULM on Thursday and South Alabama on Saturday.