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HomeCollegeApp State clinches top seed with win over Old Dominion, 89-64

App State clinches top seed with win over Old Dominion, 89-64

By Zach Smith. BOONE, N.C. — Looking to clinch the top seed in a conference tournament for the first time in nearly half a century, App State faced Old Dominion at the Holmes Center Feb. 28. The Mountaineers picked up their 25th win of the 2023-24 season, defeating the Monarchs, 89-64.

App State was firing on all cylinders, securing a dominating victory. Four Mountaineers scored in the double figures, led by an 18-point, 16-rebound double-double courtesy of Tre’Von Spillers. Christopher Mantis netted 12 points while Donovan Gregory and Terence Harcum posted 11 each to round out the home side’s top scorers.

Justin Abson flushes a dunk in App State’s Feb. 28 victory over Old Dominion. Photographic image by David Rogers.

Old Dominion saw 15-point performances from Tyrone Williams and Chaunce Jenkins. Williams was the top rebounder for the Monarchs, grabbing five boards.

The game began with a scoring drought of nearly three minutes from both sides. Gregory’s opening layup then opened the floodgates for the Mountaineers, who went on to score 24 of the contest’s first 28 points. With a comfortable 20-point margin, App State remained focused through the rest of the first half. The Mountaineers extended their lead at the end of the period, treating the 4,785 home fans to a 25-point halftime lead.

ODU looked to rally in the second half. The Monarchs drew the game to within 15 points, but App State immediately put thoughts of a miraculous comeback to bed via their ensuing 11-0 run. The Mountaineers dominated ODU, defeating the visitors by 25.

App State head coach Dustin Kerns shared his thoughts on the Mountaineers’ convincing win over Old Dominion.

“I thought we came out with some fire in our eyes,” Kerns said. “I thought we came out and imposed our will early, I thought it was very balanced, I thought we set the tone defensively. We had nine assists before we had a turnover and I thought we played a really good game.”

In recent games, App State has found themselves trailing in the second half, but have prevailed due to their depth. Kerns spoke on his team’s ability to jump in front early against Old Dominion.

“It felt good tonight to be up 25 at the half, which we’ve done before in non-conference,” Kerns said. “I was proud of our guys for coming out with some attitude from the start. It really felt like our guys came out and they knew they had a job to do.”

“they couldn’t keep me off the glass”

Tre’Von Spillers led the Mountaineers’ dominant effort on the glass in their statement victory, grabbing a season-high 16 rebounds. Spillers talked about his impressive performance.

“We saw that at some points they had small guards,” Spillers said. “I just felt like that’s a better opportunity for me to go and grab rebounds. Even when they had their bigs in, I still feel like they couldn’t keep me off the glass. Just going in there with the energy that I play with, it helped us a lot tonight.”

Donovan Gregory lays in two of his 11 points in App State’s Feb. 28 victory over Old Dominion. Photographic image by David Rogers.

App State’s victory over Old Dominion secured the top seed in the upcoming Sun Belt Tournament for the Mountaineers. The Black and Gold also clinched at least a share of the conference regular season title. Kerns spoke on what it means for the program to be at the top of the league.

“I think it’s a bigger deal than maybe a lot of people realize, us finishing first in the regular season with at least a share,” Kerns said. “We control our own destiny with that. When you talk about Sun Belt basketball and you talk about App State basketball being on top, that’s a big deal.”

As a team, App State shot at an impressive 51 percent clip, compared to ODU’s 38 percent mark. The Mountaineers out-rebounded the Monarchs, 47-27, and held the visitors without a single second-chance point. Once App State gained the lead, they never lost it, earning a wire-to-wire victory over Old Dominion.

“you talk about App State basketball being on top, that’s a big deal”

With the loss, ODU is secured in the bottom spot of the Sun Belt standings. The Monarchs travel to Georgia Southern March 1 for their regular-season finale. Tipoff is slated for 7 p.m., and the game can be streamed on ESPN+.

App State clinched at least a share of the Sun Belt regular season title with their win over the Monarchs. The Mountaineers look to break the program record for wins in a season March 1, as they take on fourth-place Arkansas State on Senior Night. Tipoff for the potentially historic night at the Holmes Center is set for 6:30 p.m., and the game will be streamed on ESPN+.


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