Girls Catawba Valley Athletic 2A Conference East Burke: 68 Newton-Conover: 39 Northwestern 3A/4A Conference Watauga:…
In the final leg of a three-game road trip, the Mountaineers fell to the Bobcats of Texas State, 63-56 on Wednesday in San Marcos. App State couldn’t string multiple buckets together and take control of the game despite never trailing by more than nine points.
Shooting struggles plagued App State (19-5, 10-2 SBC) as the Black and Gold shot just 41 percent and made just four threes, while Texas State (10-14, 4-8 SBC) capitalized on its offensive possessions and played at its pace to get the win. The Bobcats led for 33 minutes in the game.
Sophomore forward Justin Abson swatted away three shots against the Bobcats, which puts him at 75 for the season and ties the App State single-season blocks record set by Jeremy Clayton in the 2007-08 season. As a team, the Mountaineers blocked eight shots, with three players tallying at least two, eclipsing their season average of seven blocks per game.
In the Mountaineers’ first trip to the state of Texas since 2021, Texas State jumped ahead early, scoring the first four points of the game. But Donovan Gregory answered the Bobcats’ quick start with each of the first four points for the Mountaineers to tie the score at four at the 17:16 mark.
The Bobcats took the lead right back courtesy of two straight buckets by Christian Turner just before the first media timeout of the game. Before leaving the game in the second half, Turner played well, scoring 11 points on 4-6 shooting in the game.
App State took its first lead of the game out of the media timeout, hitting three straight shots to take a 12-14 lead at the 12:06 mark after a CJ Huntley three-pointer at the top of the key. Huntley made an instant impact in his early minutes off the bench as he also blocked two shots and forced a turnover on Texas State before drilling his three.
After Huntley’s three, the Bobcats took control, using good free-throw shooting and a fast-break three by Dylan Dawson to jump ahead by seven points at the under-eight break. Texas State hasn’t been a great free-throw shooting team this season, shooting just 68 percent from the line as a team this season, but it shot well against the Mountaineers, scoring 11 of its 63 points from the line.
The Texas State lead grew to nine after Kaden Gumbs got into the paint for a layup, but as they have done all season long, the Mountaineers fought adversity with a scoring run as they rattled off a 7-0 burst to pull within two by the last media timeout. A Terence Harcum three capped off the minute-long spurt.
The two teams jostled back and forth as play neared the halftime break Texas State maintained a slim margin thanks to Christian Turner’s strong first-half play. App State cut its deficit to just one point at the 1:47 mark after Tre’Von Spillers nailed a free throw, but Jordan Mason stormed down the floor and hit a driving layup to give the Bobcats a three-point lead as play hit halftime.
It was a struggle from beyond the arc in the first half for the Mountaineers as they found the net on just two first-half threes. Despite the struggles, App State kept it close thanks to efficient two-point shooting and strong first-half defense. The Mountaineers shot 47 percent from the field in the half while keeping the Bobcats under 40 percent.
Spillers led all scorers in the first half, tallying nine points on perfect shooting. Right behind Spillers was Gregory who notched six points, including the first four scores of the game for App State.
Trailing at the half for the second game in a row, the Black and Gold fought their way back into the game, taking their first lead since it was 14-12 at the 17:53 mark. The Mountaineers got out in transition to start the final frame as Gregory took a sweet feed from Myles Tate and emphatically slammed it home for the lead.
Despite the quick burst by App State, Texas State quickly reclaimed the lead thanks to a 7-0 run that was fueled by five straight points from Jordan Mason. The Bobcats extended their lead after the first media break of the second half after a dunk from Davion Sykes, who led all scorers with 17 points.
App State steadily crept back into the game after falling behind as Gregory and Huntley combined to score six of the next eight points in the game to trim the deficit to just three by the 11:36 mark. Gregory reached double-figures for the 15th time this season, scoring 12.
After Texas State responded with an Elijah Tate layup, Harcum sunk a three-ball to cut the lead back to two points. The lead stayed at two after Harcum drilled two more free throws to make the score 47-45 at the 8:33 mark.
Cold shooting by the Mountaineers began to catch up with them as they would miss their next four shots, which allowed Texas State to go on another 7-0 run to take a seven-point lead by the under-eight timeout. It was a mixture of players that contributed to the Bobcats’ run as Coleton Benson, Davion Sykes and Christian Turner each tallied buckets.
The Bobcats worked to maintain their lead while App State fought to keep the small deficit at that, but Sykes’ put-back layup at the 3:18 mark extended the lead back to seven. However, the Mountaineers and Myles Tate scored the next five points to trim the deficit back to just two and forced a Texas State timeout with 51 seconds left in the game.
With the deficit now at two, the defense stepped up when it needed to, blocking a shot out of bounds with 26 seconds to play. But out of the out-of-bounds set, Dylan Dawson got the ball in the short corner and nailed a jumper while being fouled to ice the game. The Bobcats scored four points at the line to secure the win and defend their home court.
Three Mountaineers eclipsed double-figures in the loss with Terence Harcum leading the way with 13, marking the third straight contest he has paced App State on the offensive end. Donovan Gregory notched his second consecutive game in double-figures with 12 while also being efficient from the floor as he hit five of his 10 shots. Myles Tate scored 11 points off the bench for App State while also grabbing a season-high seven rebounds and dishing out five assists.
The Mountaineers return to the Holmes Center for the first time in the month of February, hosting the three-time reigning MAC champion Toledo Rockets on Saturday. Tipoff is scheduled for 1 p.m. and can be streamed on ESPN+.