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Huntley’s buzzer-beating tip-in proves dramatic winner for App State vs. Coastal Carolina, 63-62

By David Rogers. BOONE, N.C. — If there can be such a thing, Jan. 5 was a night of organized mayhem at the Holmes Convocation Center where the Appalachian State men’s basketball team pulled off a stunning, 63-62 win over Coastal Carolina.

It was a wild finish, to be sure. With just 8.4 seconds remaining in the game, a controversial foul call against the Mountaineers put CCU guard Jomaru Brown at the charity stripe. Brown appeared to make a stumbling “walk” toward the basket before anything resembling a foul. And the call was made even more controversial when the official deemed that Brown was in the act of shooting, awarding the “super senior” two shots. Of course, he made them both and put the Chanticleers ahead, 62-61, with just that 8 seconds left before the final whistle. Whatever the circumstances that got him to the foul line, Brown certainly proved “clutch” with the opportunity and the ball in his hands.

For a rodeo cowboy trying to stay atop a bucking bronco, 8 seconds may seem like an eternity. For a basketball team trying to negotiate 94 feet of hardwood flooring, under pressure, 8 seconds could easily define a fleeting opportunity.

App State, it turns out, seized the moment. An inbound pass then three dribbles up the floor and another pass got the ball into the hands of graduate student transfer guard Tyree Boykin who, with two seconds remaining, launched a 3-point attempt from well-behind the arc, along the sideline in front of the Mountaineer bench. The ball clanged off the front of the rim into the arms of junior forward C J Huntley, who quickly put the ball back up and in for a second chance layup, a 63-62 Mountaineer lead, and just 0.9 seconds remaining.

Coastal couldn’t convert with a bad inbounds pass and its interception by Mountaineer freshman Justin Abson. With the final buzzer, Appalachian State celebrated its first Sun Belt Conference win of the still young 2022-23 season, evening its overall record to 8-8 and improving its SBC mark to 1-2.

Key thoughts about the win:

  • Five of C J Huntley’s nine rebounds were on the offensive end of the court and contributed greatly to the Mountaineers’ 14-6 advantage in second chance points.
  • The Mountaineers did a good job of spreading the ball around, offensively. Boykin scored a team-high 16 points, followed by 12 each from Donovan Gregory and Tamell Pearson. Key stat reinforcing the night’s teamwork: 15 assists.
  • App State’s defense was disruptively effective, including an 8-4 advantage in steals and a 6-1 advantage in blocked shots and forcing 14 Coastal turnovers.
  • The Mountaineers’ ball-handling was fairly clean, with only 9 turnovers.
  • If there was a glaring weakness on the night among the Mountaineers, it was in not taking advantage of opportunities at the charity stripe, only making 1-of-7 free throws (14%), compared to the Chanticleers making good on 7-0f-8 (88%).

Appalachian State continues Sun Belt play on Saturday, Jan. 7 (8 p.m.) with a trip up I-81 to Harrisonburg, Va., where they will take on the James Madison Dukes, to be nationally broadcast on ESPNU. After a narrow, 63-62 loss to Texas State at home on Jan. 5, the Dukes will take an 11-5 overall, 2-1 record into Saturday’s encounter with the Mountaineers.

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