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Tre'Von Spillers
Tre'Von Spillers' 18-point, 16-rebound performance paced all scorers.
photo courtesy of Appalachian State Athletics

Appalachian State Men’s Basketball Has Strong Second Half in Win Against UNC-W

Falling to a 10-point deficit with just over four minutes to play in the first half, the App State Mountaineers (2-2) would end the game on a 62-22 run and throttle the previously undefeated UNC Wilmington Seahawks (4-1) in their first game at the Fort Myers Tip-Off Event 86-56.

The Mountaineers would hold the Seahawks, who came into play on Tuesday averaging 96 points a game, to just 33 percent shooting in the second half. UNC Wilmington’s previous season-low for points in a game was 83 coming into play on Tuesday. App State would hold them to just 56 on the day.

After struggling to find the mark in the first half, shooting just 2-10 from three, the Black & Gold would hit all but nine second-half shots, including six threes, to propel them to victory. Both Christopher Mantis and Tre’Von Spillers tallied double-digit second-half performances on Tuesday with Mantis scoring all 13 of his points in the final frame.

The Mountaineers jumped out to a quick 7-0 lead in the first three minutes of the game courtesy of four quick points by Terence Harcum. App State would force five consecutive Seahawk misses to begin the game before Maleeck Harden-Hayes drained a three to give them their first points of the contest.

UNC Wilmington would slowly cut into the Mountaineer lead thanks to Trazarien White, who scored 11 first-half points. UNCW would tie the game at 16 following a made three by Nick Farrar off a Mountaineer turnover. The Seahawks would eventually take the lead at 19-18 after a three by KJ Jenkins in transition, giving them their first lead of the game.

App State would struggle to keep control of the ball once UNCW took the lead as they would turn the ball over three times in the next four minutes, allowing UNCW to take a 10-point lead with just over four minutes to play in the opening frame.

After Kerns called a timeout coming off a Mountaineer turnover, the Mountaineers would pick up the energy and score nine consecutive points to close the half. Myles Tate would fuel the strong finish, draining a three and dishing an alley-oop to CJ Huntley to close the gap to just one at the buzzer.

It was a strong shooting half for the Mountaineers in the first half as they would shoot a solid 50 percent from the field compared to UNCW’s 28 percent in the first frame. Seven Seahawk threes in the first half would be the difference maker in the first 20 minutes as 21 of their 34 points came off threes.

Individually, Terence Harcum led the way for App State with 10 first-half points on 4-9 shooting. In his first Division I start, Tre’Von Spillers netted five points on a perfect 2-2 from the field while also pulling down a first-half high five boards.

The Seahawks would net a three to open the scoring in the second half, but a furious 11-0 run led by Myles Tate would jump start the Mountaineer bench and start them on a furious second-half barrage. Myles Tate scored a layup plus the foul with 16:24 remaining in the half to push the App State lead to eight, which was the largest of the game at that point.

Tate would start off the second half on fire as he would score nine of his 14 points in just under seven minutes to begin the second half. Helping spark the strong start along with Tate was Jordan Marsh, who buried a three-pointer and dished an assist to Tate.

Once App State extended the lead to 10 after a Tate bucket, a brief 8-1 run by the Seahawks trimmed the lead back to three. Nolan Hodge would be the beneficiary of a few strong drives as he would pour in four of his eight points during the run.

After a White basket cut the Mountaineer lead to 47-50 with just over 13 minutes to play, App State would embark on a 14-2 run to jump in front by a game-high 15 points. Chris Mantis, who leads the Sun Belt in three-point shooting, would bury two threes during the run and score eight quick points to help spark the Mountaineers.

The Mountaineers would continue their ferocious second-half charge, extending the lead to 28 points before UNC Wilmington scored their next basket. After the Seahawks cut the lead to three with 13:21 remaining, App State would force UNCW into missing 13 of 14 shots, allowing the Mountaineers to jump all over the reeling team.

After trailing by one at the half, App State would outscore UNCW by 31 points in the second half on Tuesday, including a dazzling 36-4 run to jump in front by 30 points. The Mountaineers would lead by as much as 35 points in the game.

App State would shoot an incredible 70 percent from the floor in the final frame, which included a stretch of 12 makes in 14 attempts to close the contest. The Mountaineers’ six made threes on 12 attempts ties a season high for made threes in a single half.

App State would be content to empty their bench to close out the final 90 seconds as they would secure a dominant win over a team that was previously undefeated and ranked sixth in this week’s Mid Major Top 25 poll. The win also marks App State’s largest margin of victory over a Division I opponent since Jan. 2, 2021, when the Black & Gold trounced Troy by 31.

In his first NCAA Division I start, Tre’Von Spillers provided a flame to a Mountaineer team that came into Tuesday’s contest on a two-game losing streak. Spillers would pour in 15 points on an impressive 7-8 shooting while also grabbing seven boards and swatting away two shots. Myles Tate came up huge off the bench for the Black & Gold as he would help spark a strong finish to close the first half and opened the second half scoring nine of his 14 points. Finally, freshman Jordan Marsh was a difference maker in his 22 minutes of play as he led the team in plus/minus at +42.

App State will conclude play at the Fort Myers Tip-Off Event tomorrow with a matchup against the Murray State Racers for the first time ever. Tipoff is scheduled for noon from Suncoast Credit Union Arena.