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Myles Tate
Myles Tate led the Mountaineers with 25 points.
photo courtesy of Appalachian State Athletics

Appalachian State Men’s Basketball Runs Win Streak to Five

A sluggish first half plagued by poor shooting and tired legs led to a six-point deficit after the first-half horn sounded for the App State Mountaineers. But a strong second-half performance by Myles Tate and the Mountaineers allowed them to pull away late and secure a 65-58 victory in Huntington on Saturday. It’s the Mountaineers’ third win in front of a national TV audience this season.

Tate’s heroics in the second half helped pull the Mountaineers (14-5, 14-2 SBC) out of a first-half slump as he accounted for 18 of App State’s 42 points in the final 20 minutes, scoring almost at will to post a career-high 25 points. It’s Tate’s second 20-point game in the last weeks.

The win on the road over Marshall (12-17, 7-9 SBC) secured App State’s third season of at least 24 wins in program history. The last time a Mountaineer team posted 24 wins in a season was 2009-10. It also secured an 8-4 road record for the season. The four road losses are the fewest losses App State suffered away from home since the 1997-98 season. In nine road conference games this season, the Mountaineers lost just twice.

Defense played a major role in App State’s come-from-behind win as the Mountaineers held the Thundering Herd to just 32 percent shooting from the field and 3-23 from three. Allowing just 58 points, the Mountaineers improved to 12-0 this season when they allow less than 60 points.

App State trailed by as much nine points in the first half against Marshall before cutting the deficit to six at halftime. But App State quickly went on an 11-4 run to begin the final half and never looked back after taking a 34-33 lead. In each of the last three games where App State has trailed by at least nine points, the Mountaineers have worked to come from behind and win both, showing the resiliency of the team.

Camdyn Kurfman and the Herd started the scoring off in App State’s third nationally televised contest of the season as he helped Marshall jump ahead by four early. Tre’Von Spillers got into the paint for an easy layup and a three by Donovan Gregory trimmed the lead to one by the under-16 media timeout and got the scoring started for the Mountaineers.

App State took a brief lead out of the timeout as Gregory got into the paint for a quick bucket. Gregory’s aggressiveness was paid off again as he got to the line to tie the score at nine, accounting for seven of the Mountaineers’ first nine points.

An and-1 basket from Nate Martin built the Marshall lead to three points as play progressed to the under-12 break, but Tate’s first bucket of the game and a dunk from Abson forced the lead to change hands yet again as the Mountaineers led 13-12 at the 11:39 mark.

Both teams went on an extended scoring drought after Abson’s dunk as neither team scored for nearly two minutes. Kevon Voyles broke the drought, scoring Marshall’s next four points and fueling Marshall ahead by four. A dunk from Obinna Anochili-Killen propelled the Herd ahead by six at the 7:14 mark, which was their largest lead to that point. App State struggled to score during Marshall’s spurt, and the Herd took advantage.

Two free throws from Cameron Crawford extended the Marshall lead to eight, but the Mountaineers answered with a 7-2 run to trim the deficit back to three by the final media break of the half. Tate scored four of his seven first-half points to break App State’s scoring spell as his impact was felt early.

Despite the run from App State, the Herd scored the next four points to take their largest lead of the game at nine after Curfman hit a layup. A Terence Harcum three and a defensive stop gave the Mountaineers some momentum heading into the break, but it was Marshall who took a six-point lead into the locker room.

Shooting woes plagued the Mountaineers in the first 20 minutes as they only made nine field goals. The defense picked up the slack, keeping the Herd to just two threes and 32 percent from the field. Offensive rebounding and second-chance points kept App State in the game as they tallied nine offensive rebounds which led to eight second-chance points.

Gregory and Tate paced the Mountaineer offense in the first 20 minutes, both recording seven points. Overall, six players recorded a basket in the first half and three players hit a three.

The Mountaineers immediately got to work to begin the second half, scoring 11 of the first 15 points to take a one-point lead into the first media break. Harcum’s five points and a bucket from Tate and Gregory fueled App State to begin the half as the large crowd of 5,711 quieted.

Marshall took a brief lead at 35-34 after Kurfman nailed a pair of free throws, but another 5-0 run put the Mountaineers ahead by its largest lead to that point of four courtesy of a three from Tate to give him 12 points.

A slick turnaround basket by Tate ballooned App State’s lead to six by the 9:48 mark and another long three by Tate kept the lead at five heading into another break. To that point, Tate accounted for 10 of App State’s 23 points and was just three points away from a season-high.

Anochili-Killen’s jumper cut the lead to three with just over five minutes to play. However, two straight slick feeds from Tate to Xavion Brown led to dunks and a Gregory basket put App State back in front by nine. The lead grew to 12 as Myles Tate’s dazzling performance concluded with a step-back three to give him 22 points.

Tate reached the 25-point mark with a trio of free throws, helping to ice the game at the line. Tate’s outburst was his first 25-point game in his career and his second 20-point game in the last two weeks.

When the final horn sounded, the Mountaineers claimed their 24th win of the season, marking just the third season of at least 24 wins in program history. App State needs just one more win to tie the program record for wins in a season.

Myles Tate, Donovan Gregory and Terence Harcum each finished in double figures, marking the 35th straight game that App State has seen at least two players reach double figures. Tate’s career game highlighted play in Huntington as his 25-point performance led all scorers. Additionally, Tate recorded six rebounds and five assists while shooting 9-14 from the field with four threes. Gregory’s calming presence at the free-throw line led to 15 points, which is his fourth game in his last five outings where he has scored at least 15 points. Harcum’s hot start to the second half helped get the Mountaineers out of their funk as he finished with 12 points. Nine of his 12 points came in the second half.

The Mountaineers wrap up the regular season with two straight home games next week, starting with a rematch against Old Dominion on Wednesday. The Mountaineers will look for their sixth season sweep of the season against the Monarchs. Tipoff is set for 6:30 p.m. and can be streamed on ESPN+.