UNCG wins OT thriller at Appalachian St. behind Eargle double-double
BOONE, NC – Freshman forward Damian Eargle scored 25 points and grabbed 11 rebounds as UNC Greensboro topped Appalachian State in overtime, 85-83, in Southern Conference men's basketball action Saturday afternoon.
The Spartans (2-11, 1-3) snapped a 10-game losing skid with the win. Eargle's 25 points were the most by a Spartan freshman in 16 seasons – since Scott Hartzell scored 25 in an overtime win at Chicago State on February 1, 1993. A native of Harding, OH, Eargle went 10-for-16 from the floor and 5-of-5 at the line.
Mikko Koivisto added 16 points, 12 of them coming after halftime, and a career-high seven assists. Ben Stywall also had a double-double with 19 points and 11 rebounds. UNCG shot 59.4 percent from the floor after the intermission (19-for-32) and a season-best 51.7 percent for the game – the first time this season the Spartans have been over 50 percent in a game. The Spartans committed just 10 turnovers, resulting in a season-low nine points. The 10 turnovers were nearly eight below their average.
Ryann Abraham had 21 points to lead Appalachian State (6-6, 3-1), who had four players in double figures. Donald Sims added 15 points, including an off-balance, controversial three-pointer to tie the game at the buzzer of regulation.
It was a case of Déjà vu for the Spartans, who last won in Boone the last time they started SoCon play 0-3 – January 8, 2005. Unlike the previous four meetings between the teams, which were all blow outs, the game was a see-saw affair with 26 lead changes and 13 ties. Neither team had a lead of more than five points until the 7:17 mark of the second half.
A put back by Eargle gave UNCG an 82-81 lead with a minute left in overtime. Eduardo Bermudez missed a three-pointer on the other end and Eargle was fouled with 26.5 seconds to play. He knocked down both to give UNCG a three-point lead.
Abraham drove the lane and was fouled with 14.3 seconds left, which was Eargle's fifth foul. Abraham knocked down both free throws to cut it to 84-83. Stywall was then fouled with nine seconds left and made one out of two.
Abraham drove the lane again and missed with three seconds left. A last ditch three-point attempt by Sims was well after the buzzer this time and UNCG had snapped its losing skid.
"It was a good basketball game," said UNCG coach Mike Dement. "Possession-by-possession with both teams making big plays each time. Damian got two big free throws, the one that bounced around. Sims with the big three at the end of regulation. I thought our young guys did a great job – (DeAngelo) Jackson and Eargle, fighting those big guys on the inside. Stywall had a great game, as well.
"For a while, we would only get one guy in double figures each game. This time we had three, the other night at Western Carolina we had three. I think the other night at Western we gained a little confidence. Tonight we had the lead at the break and I think we gained some confidence out of that. A great game and a great win for us with having not won in a while and as great at Appalachian State has been playing."
Late in the second half, after Appalachian State opened up a seven-point lead and looked like it was maybe gaining momentum, UNCG came storming back, capped off by Mikko Koivisto's first three-pointer of the afternoon to tie it, 65-65, with 2:43 to play.
Abraham and Daniel Oliver traded three-pointers to make it 68-all. After an Abraham miss from three-point range, Oliver was fouled with 1:23 to play. He made the front end of the bonus to give UNCG a one-point lead. The Mountaineers went down low to Isaac Butts to regain the lead, but Ben Stywall answered on the other end for a 71-70 lead with 54.4 seconds left.
The Mountaineers turned it over with 34 seconds left and fouled Koivisto with 23.1 to play. He knocked down both to give UNCG a three-point lead that looked safe after a miss by Sims. But the loose ball made its way out to Sims for an off-balance three-pointer that was ruled to have beaten the buzzer and force overtime.
Each team had early spurts to open the game. Behind 10 early points by Eargle, the Spartans held a one-point with eight minutes left in the first half, 21-20.
Keeping their turnovers to just four in the opening 20 minutes, UNCG was able to take a lead into the intermission. Despite UNCG leading scorer's Koivisto scoring just four points on 2-of-7 shooting from the floor in the opening half, the Spartans managed to take a 31-30 halftime lead into the locker room.
Both teams' frontcourts got into foul trouble early in the second half. For UNCG, DeAngelo Jackson picked up his fourth foul just 3:16 into the second half, while Pete Brown got his with 14:33 to go. The Mountaineers Isaac Butts was whistled for his fourth a minute after Brown. Brown came back after Eargle got his third, but picked up his fifth with 9:26 left trying to take a charge.
The Mountaineers ran off seven straight to erase a four-point Spartan lead and gain a 55-52 lead with eight minutes to play – the 17th lead change of the afternoon.
UNCG 85, APPALACHIAN STATE 83
UNCG (2-11, 1-3 SoCon)
Damian Eargle 10-16 5-5 25; Ben Stywall 8-11 3-6 19; Mikko Koivisto 5-13 4-4 16; Kendall Toney 2-5 2-2 7; Daniel Oliver 2-4 1-2 7; Landon Clement 1-3 2-2 4; Deangelo Jackson 2-5 0-1 4; Pete Brown 1-2 1-2 3; Montel Smith 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 31-60 18-24 85.
APPALACHIAN STATE (6-6, 3-1 SoCon)
Ryann Abraham 7-15 4-4 21; Donald Sims 5-12 0-0 15; Kellen Brand 4-11 2-2 11; Isaac Butts 4-6 3-3 11; Josh Hunter 3-7 3-5 9; Eduardo Bermudez 3-6 0-0 7; Andre Williamson 2-3 0-0 4; Marcus Wright 1-3 1-2 4; Tyler Webb 0-3 1-2 1; Jeremi Booth 0-3 0-0 0; Donterious Hughes 0-0 0-2 0; Quinche Dowdell 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 29-70 14-20 83.
Halftime: UNCG 31-30. 3-point goals--UNCG 5-17 (Daniel Oliver 2-2; Mikko Koivisto 2-8; Kendall Toney 1-4; Montel Smith 0-1; Landon Clement 0-2), Appalachian State 11-29 (Donald Sims 5-11; Ryann Abraham 3-7; Marcus Wright 1-2; Eduardo Bermudez 1-2; Kellen Brand 1-3; Jeremi Booth 0-3; Tyler Webb 0-1). Fouled out--UNCG-Damian Eargle; Pete Brown, Appalachian State-None. Rebounds—UNCG 36 (Ben Stywall 11; Damian Eargle 11), Appalachian State 41 (Josh Hunter 11). Assists--UNCG 17 (Mikko Koivisto 7), Appalachian State 18 (Ryann Abraham 6). Total fouls--UNCG 20, Appalachian State 22. Technical fouls--UNCG-None, Appalachian State-None. A-1424
FREE THROWS: Elhanan Bone did not dress for Saturday's game due to his injured ankle. The good news, though, is that he was not wearing the boot that he has had for the last week and he did go through some light running prior to the contest...Eargle's performance was the first 20-point game by a freshman since Ben Stywall against Delaware on December 23, 2006 (23 pts, 15 reb. at Fleming Gym)... It was the first time in 31 meetings that overtime was needed to decided it... Replay was not available for the final shot of regulation play, but all three officials did confer for a decision...Stywall is now two rebounds away from 500 for his career... Koivisto moved into fourth place on the UNCG career list for three-pointers, now with 167. He passed Derrick Nix on Saturday (166)... UNCG came into the game averaging 17.6 turnovers per game... Appalachian State, which came into the game ninth in the nation in rebounding margin at +9.3, held a 41-36 advantage on the boards.
- UNCG -