UNCG falls to Appalachian State on late three-pointer
GREENSBORO, NC – A. J. Highsmith's three-pointer with 29 seconds to play gave Appalachian State a 70-69 win over UNC Greensboro in Southern Conference men's basketball action at Fleming Gym on Thursday night.
Kellen Brand had 15 points to lead the Mountaineers, but it was
his back-to-back steals with a little over two minutes to play that
sparked the Mountaineers late. Donald Sims had 13 points for ASU
(11-15, 8-10 SoCon).
Junior guard Kendall Toney had a season-high 18 points to lead UNCG (4-22, 3-14). Ben Stywall added 17 points and eight rebounds, while Mikko Koivisto chipped in with 13 points.
The Spartans were hurt, however, by free throw shooting. UNCG was just 19-of-35 from the foul line and missed 10 front ends of two-shot sequences.
UNCG had a 65-63 lead with 2:30 to play, but back-to-back steals by Kellen Brand and ensuing breakaway layups by ASU gave the visitors a two-point advantage with 2:05 lead. UNCG's Kendall Toney, countered, however, after a timeout with a three-pointer from the left wing for a 68-67 lead.
After an ASU miss, the Spartans' Damian Eargle drove to the basket and was fouled with 49.6 second left. He rattled one of two home for a two-point lead. Highsmith answered that, though, with 29 seconds left with a trey from the left corner to give the Mountaineers a 70-69 lead.
UNCG called timeout to set up a final play. The Spartans isolated for Stywall on the left side, but his turnaround jumper rattled out and UNCG was forced to foul. Kellen Brand missed both free throws, however, and UNCG got a timeout with 3.2 seconds left.
With 94 feet to go, the Spartans turned to speedy Daniel Oliver. Oliver dribbled through traffic, but was double-teamed as he lunged at a 28-footer, but it fell short as time expired.
The Mountaineers led by as many as 11 in the first half. Andre Williamson made one of two at the line to give Appalachian State a 27-16 lead with 5:36 left before halftime. However, the Spartans closed out the half on a 10-3 run. Capped off by Kendall Toney's three-pointer with three seconds left, UNCG cut the deficit to one, 35-34, at the break.
The Mountaineers held UNCG without a field goal for the first three minutes of the second half to extend the lead back to six. But the Spartans went on a 7-1 run to tie at 41-41 on a pair of free throws by Montel Smith. UNCG finally get its first lead of the night with 11:10 to play on a Stywall turnaround jumper in the lane, 48-47.
APPALACHIAN STATE 70, UNCG 69
APPALACHIAN STATE (11-15, 8-10)
Kellen Brand 5-14 4-7 15; Donald Sims 3-7 4-5 13; Donterious Hughes 3-8 4-6 10; A.J. Highsmith 3-4 0-0 9; Josh Hunter 3-4 3-4 9; Quinche Dowdell 2-4 3-4 7; Andre Williamson 2-2 1-2 5; Isaac Butts 1-6 0-2 2; Tyler Webb 0-1 0-0 0; Marcus Wright 0-4 0-0 0; Eduardo Bermudez 0-0 0-0 0; Jeremi Booth 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 22-55 19-30 70.
UNCG (4-22, 3-14)
Kendall Toney 7-14 0-0 18; Ben Stywall 5-10 7-13 17; Mikko Koivisto 5-10 0-0 13; Damian Eargle 2-8 3-8 7; Montel Smith 0-2 4-4 4; Pete Brown 0-4 3-4 3; Deangelo Jackson 1-1 1-2 3; Daniel Oliver 1-4 0-0 3; Elhanan Bone 0-1 1-4 1; Sean Spooner 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 21-54 19-35 69.
Halftime: Appalachian State 35-34. 3-point goals--Appalachian State 7-15 (A.J. Highsmith 3-4; Donald Sims 3-6; Kellen Brand 1-3; Jeremi Booth 0-1; Donterious Hughes 0-1), UNCG 8-19 (Kendall Toney 4-9; Mikko Koivisto 3-7; Daniel Oliver 1-2; Montel Smith 0-1). Fouled out--Appalachian State-None, UNCG-None. Rebounds—Appalachian State 45 (Isaac Butts 8; Andre Williamson 8), UNCG 31 (Ben Stywall 8). Assists--Appalachian State 9 (Kellen Brand 3), UNCG 7 (Daniel Oliver 4). Total fouls--Appalachian State 23, UNCG 22. Technical fouls—Appalachian State-None, UNCG-None. A-1124
FREE THROWS: UNCG used its 18th different starting combination to open the game on Thursday night – Mikko Koivisto, Kendall Toney, Montel Smith, Damian Eargle and Ben Stywall. Eight of the 11 active players have started 10 or more games this season. Elhanan Bone might also be in that group had he not missed nine games due to injury. Bone has started eight games this season. Koivisto (20) and Stywall (23) have both started 20 or more... Appalachian State now leads the all-time series, 16-15. The Spartans had won the last three meetings to pull even in the series... The most two most telling quotes of the postgame came from Kendall Toney and Ben Stywall. Toney: "The coaches put us in position to win. We missed free throws." Stywall: "It is inexcusable for us to go 19-of-35 from the foul line. We practice free throws every day; multiple times in each practice. We are in our home gym. It is inexcusable to shoot like that from the foul line in our home gym."... The Spartans will now either be the fifth or sixth seed in the North. They got no help on Thursday as Elon knocked off Western Carolina to hold a 2-1/2 game lead over the Spartans with three to play. UNCG still has a trip to Davidson, as well, next week.
- UNCG -