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App State drops Austin Peay, 78-58, for third straight win

By David Rogers. BOONE, N.C. — It was not a pleasant “first date” — at least as far as one party is concerned. In the first ever meeting of their men’s basketball teams, Appalachian State rolled over Austin Peay (Clarksville, Tenn.), 78-58, on Nov. 26 in the Holmes Convocation Center in front of paid attendance of 1,298.

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The Governors came into the game with a known offensive commodity in sharpshooting playmaker Demarcus Sharp, one of six transfers from Northwestern State (Natchitoches, La.) who followed head coach Corey Gipson, now in his first year at Austin Peay. Sharp is a graduate student transfer, averaging 19 points per game and eight rebounds per game, including the App State results and the team leader in most statistical categories.

The Mountaineers’ Donovan Gregory launches a 3-pointer on Nov. 26 vs. Austin Peay. Photographic image by David Rogers

Although Sharp was coming off a 33-point performance in the Governors’ last outing against Sacramento State at a tournament in San Juan Capistrano, Calif., the Mountaineers “contained” him to a game-high 22 points.

“Demarcus Sharp is such a challenging player to defend,” conceded Mountaineer head coach Dustin Kerns afterwards. “He does so many things well and they have surrounded him with good (players).”

Head coach Dustin Kerns gives instructions and words of encouragement to the App State men’s basketball team on Nov. 26 vs. Austin Peay. Photographic image by David Rogers

For a third straight win after back-to-back victories over UNC-Wilmington and Murray State in a Fort Myers, Fla., the Mountaineers used disruptive defense and opportunistic offense from up and down the roster. Eight players scored, contributing to a 51 percent field goal percentage (29-of-57), 39 percent from long distance (9-of-23), and 92 percent from the charity stripe (11-of-12).

App State held a 36-22 advantage inside the paint, as well as a 32-15 edge in points contributed from the Mountaineer bench. Underlining the defensive performance were seven blocked shots from five different players, including two each from Justin Abson and C J Huntley. As a team, the Mountaineers collected 28 defensive rebounds, led by 6-7 junior transfer from Charleston, S.C. native Tre’Von Spillers (seven total rebounds, six on the defensive end).

Freshman guard Jordan Marsh handles the ball at the top of the key on Nov. 26 vs. Austin Peay at the Holmes Convocation Center. Photographic image by David Rogers

Spillers poured in a team-high 20 points. Graduate student forward Donovan Gregory and freshman guard Jordan Marsh also scored in double figures with 17 and 13 points, respectively.

Next up for App State is a midweek date at home vs. East Tennessee State (3-3) on Nov. 28, then a much anticipated (sold out) test in hosting SEC power, Auburn (4-1), on Sunday, Nov. 3.

App State freshman guard Jordan Marsh passes around an Austin Peay defender on Nov. 26, finding the open man just outside the key along the baseline. Photographic image by David Rogers



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