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Tyree Boykin
Tyree Boykin led the Mountaineers with 20 points.
photo courtesy of Appalachian State Athletics

Appalachian State Men’s Basketball Gets By NC Central in Overtime

App State men’s basketball won its second game of the season with a 79-74 overtime victory over N.C. Central.

This was the 19th game under head coach Dustin Kerns that the Mountaineers won after trailing at the half.

The Mountaineers (2-0) trailed the Eagles (0-2) 33-28 after the first half where they forced nine turnovers.

After zero points and just eight minutes of play due to foul trouble in the first half, Donovan Gregory sparked App State’s comeback, opening the second half with a gritty and-one finish, and scoring or assisting on the Mountaineers’ first 11 points of the second half.

Gregory finished with 12 points, six rebounds, five assists and two steals.

N.C. Central held a short advantage as App State continued to climb until the Black & Gold forced a 9-0 run to tie the game at 54 with six minutes left in regulation. That scoring run saw a physical driving layup by Terence Harcum, a pull-up mid-range jumper from Tyree Boykin, a layup by Gregory, and a three-pointer from Harcum that caused an uproar in the Holmes Center crowd that would not cease from that point on.

The teams began to brawl back and forth. After an N.C. Central basket, Gregory dished to Justin Abson who slammed home a dunk, plus the foul to make the score 57-56, N.C. Central. Gregory then ripped the ball out of an Eagle player’s hands, leading to a fast-break bucket from Harcum to take the lead for the first time since the 10-minute mark in the first half.

With 10 seconds to go, App State was up 64-61 when N.C. Central’s leading scorer, Justin Wright, hit a buzzer-beating three-pointer to force overtime.

Boykin opened the overtime period with his second drawn charge of the game. He immediately followed it with his fourth three-pointer on the night. The Clarksville, Tenn. native finished with a team-leading 20 points.

After a layup from N.C. Central’s Eric Boone, CJ Huntley kept App State’s momentum going with a catch-and-shoot three-pointer to put the Mountaineers up, 70-66.

The Eagles turned it over, leading to a pull-up jumper from Boykin that increased the lead to six.

After another three-pointer from Wright, Huntley answered with his fourth triple of the game with two minutes to go. The junior forward finished with 18 points, nine rebounds, a steal and a block.

Abson had three blocks in the final two minutes as the Eagles desperately tried to cut the lead. Abson finished his second career game with six points, eight rebounds and five blocks, the fourth-most of any player in the nation so far this season in the blocked shots category.

The Mountaineers will go on the road for the first time this season as they visit ACC opponent Louisville on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m.