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In the first game at the Holmes Convocation Center in nearly three weeks, the App State Mountaineers (4-2) dominated the Austin Peay Governors (3-4) from start to finish in the first ever meeting between the two teams, winning 78-58. The Mountaineers led for all but 13 seconds in the game and led by as much as 27 points on Sunday.
The depth of the Mountaineers showed out again on Sunday as 11 players saw the floor and eight players scored at least two points. App State saw three players score in double-figures while six players notched at least eight points.
It was a complete game on both sides of the ball for App State on their home floor as the Mountaineers held Austin Peay to just 36 percent from the field and forced nine turnovers. Sunday’s contest marked the third straight game that the Mountaineers have held their opponent under 40 percent shooting.
It was an electric start for App State on Sunday as Tre’Von Spillers would take a dish from Xavion Brown and flush a dunk over two defenders for the game’s first points to ignite the crowd. Spillers, who made his third consecutive start on Sunday, played his best game as a Mountaineer, scoring 20 points on 9-13 shooting.
After Austin Peay took a brief lead before the first media timeout, the Mountaineers would use a 10-0 run to jump ahead and would never trail again in the contest. The Mountaineers would hold the Governors to just 3-16 shooting in the first eight minutes allowing App State to jump in front early.
The Governors would draw as close as three points after breaking through App State’s run. A quick burst from Dezi Jones and a cold stretch by App State helped fuel the Governors’ 13-7 run to cut the Mountaineer lead to three. Jones would score 10 of his 11 points during Austin Peay’s burst.
With the game as close as it had been since it was 9-6, the Mountaineers would use their defense to generate fast break opportunities to build their lead to 12 with just over three minutes to play in the half. Austin Peay would miss four of the next five shots and turn the ball over twice in the next three minutes, allowing App State to get out in transition for easy buckets. The Mountaineers notched nine fast break points compared to Austin Peay’s three on Sunday.
Taking control of the game from there on out, the Mountaineers would end the first half on a 20-3 run to take a 20-point lead into the halftime break. The Governors would miss 10 of their last 11 shots in the first half while App State buried five of their last nine shots to take a commanding lead.
In one of their most complete halves of the season, the Mountaineers would shoot an astounding 56 percent from the field in the first 20 minutes while nailing four of their seven threes. The Mountaineers dominated the paint on Sunday, outscoring the Governors 20-10 in the first half.
Donovan Gregory and Tre’Von Spillers led the way for App State in the first frame, with each netting double-digit point tallies. Free throw shooting, which has been a struggle thus far this season, was key to building the large first-half lead on Sunday as App State shot 10-11 from the line.
Despite a slow start out of the break by App State, the Mountaineers would continue to apply pressure on the Governors and would never let their lead fall below 15 points in the final frame. The Governors would score the first four points in the second half to cut the lead to 16, but a Gregory three-ball would end that spurt.
The Mountaineers would extend their lead to 22, its largest point thus far, after Myles Tate drilled a layup with 16 minutes to play. Tate had another good game on Sunday as he would tally eight points, four assists and two steals for the day.
It was a bit of a sloppy beginning to the second half for the Black & Gold as they would turn the ball over five times in the first five minutes and change, but the stout App State defense didn’t allow the Governors to capitalize on its mistakes as Austin Peay would miss six of their first 10 shots to begin the half.
At the under-12 media timeout, App State would go on a quick 9-2 run to jump in front by 25 points before the next break. Jordan Marsh, who notched a career-high 13 points, would score four of them during this stretch and provided a nice spark off the bench for the Black & Gold.
Marsh would help push the Mountaineer lead to its largest of the game at 27 after nailing three consecutive threes and scoring nine straight points over a two-minute stretch to all but seal the deal on Sunday. The freshman guard would shoot 5-8 from the field and nail three of the four long balls he attempted on Sunday in just 14 minutes of play.
App State would maintain their distance and empty their bench by the end of the contest to secure a convincing win on its floor. The win on Sunday marked App State’s first three-game winning streak of the season.
App State’s hot shooting and stout defense helped propel them to one of their most complete outings of the season on Sunday. Offensively, Tre’Von Spillers led the way with a season-best 20 points, his most as a Mountaineer. Gregory scored 17 points on 4-5 shooting while going a perfect 7-7 from the free throw line, notching his fifth straight game scoring at least 10 points. Marsh’s 13 points off the bench and his career-best three three-pointers would seal the deal for App State on Sunday in a convincing way. App State finished with three double-digit scorers, marking the 12th straight contest that App State has had at least two double-digit scorers.
The Mountaineers will renew one of the program’s oldest rivalries on Wednesday as they welcome the ETSU Buccaneers to the Holmes Center on Wednesday. Tipoff is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. and can be streamed on ESPN+.