Thursday's High Country Sports Report.... (2016-11-24 14:29:53)

Jones’ Buzzer-Beater Lifts App State Past ETSU....JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. - With the clock winding down in the final seconds and the game tied, Joi Jones (Duluth, Ga./Duluth) banked a running 3-pointer at the buzzer to lift Appalachian State University women’s basketball (3-2) past ETSU in a thrilling 71-68 victory Wednesday evening at Brooks Gymnasium. 


After Jones had hit a pair of free throws to put the Apps ahead, 68-65, ETSU’s Tianna Tarter drilled a 3-pointer with five seconds left to tie the game. That’s when Jones took the ball and ran up the floor to hit the monumental game-winner. Jones stepped up scoring the final seven points for Appalachian in the final 20 seconds of the game. 

The senior leader was more than clutch scoring 18 of her game-high 20 points in the second half while grabbing a season-high eight boards in the process and dishing out a team-high three assists. 

Madi Story (Maiden, N.C./Bandys) scored a season-high 12 points and grabbed seven boards while Ashley Bassett-Smith (Pickerington, Ohio/UT Martin) scored 12 points on three buckets and a 6-of-8 performance from the line. The senior forward was big down low with a season-best eight boards and a block.

Bria Carter (Spotsylvania,Va./Spotsylvania) recorded season highs in points and rebounds with nine and seven, respectively. 

App State came out of the gate strong with a 13-4 jump in the first 5:39 of the game. Story scored seven of the team’s first nine points with the Apps getting the start they have been looking for recently. Later in the quarter, Mikaya Wilson (Raleigh, N.C./Knightdale) drove the lane for a layup before Carley Lytton hit a trifecta to put the Mountaineers’ lead at six,15-9.

The second quarter belonged to ETSU as it outscored Appalachian, 26-16, shooting 55.6 percent from the floor and out rebounding the Black and Gold, 15-4. After Jones hit a jumper to extend the lead back to nine (24-15) with 6:18 left in half, the Bucs would score 20 of the next 27 points to take a 35-31 lead into halftime. 

ETSU came out of the locker room with the first four points of the second half to stretch the lead to its largest at eight, 39-31. But the Apps showed grit and toughness slowly clawing their way back with a 15-6 run over 6:31 that was sparked by back-to-back buckets by Story and Q. Murray (Baltimore, Md./George Mason).  The starting five took charge during the run as all five contributed in the scoring column. Both teams had traded baskets before Carter and Bassett-Smith hit three foul shots in the last 41 ticks to hold a 48-47 edge going into what was an exciting fourth period.

The Black and Gold’s defense clamped down on ETSU, holding the hosts to a 22.2 percent shooting clip from the field, which was the second time the Bucs shot 25 percent or less in a quarter. 

Quarter four was neck-and-neck with both teams as neither team led by more than four points. The Bucs would take a 50-48 lead to open the fourth quarter before Jones’ jumper started a quick 6-0 spurt. Murray scored the next four points including her lone 3-pointer that proved to be clutch after struggling from beyond the arc. 

Appalachian stayed in front for the majority of the final period until ETSU hit two from the charity stripe to take a 63-62 lead with 1:06 left in the game. 

With Carter and Bassett-Smith fouling out earlier in the frame at the 3:50 mark, the Apps were thin in the front court, but freshman Bayley Plummer (Thomasville, N.C./East Davidson) stepped up when her name was called. Plummer scored six of her eight points in the quarter including a pair of crucial free throws that gave Appalachian the lead back with 48 seconds left. Plummer’s defense on the other end played a factor as she altered Dean’s go-ahead attempt and came down with the rebound. 

From that point on, Jones would take over to help push the Apps to their seventh win the last eight meetings against ETSU. 

The coaching staff put in a perfect game plan on defense to contain Shamauria Bridges and Tarter and give the Bucs different looks on the defensive end. Despite the duo scoring 31 points, the points didn’t come easy. The Mountaineers limited the pair to 9-of-27 shooting from the field. 

App State outscored ETSU in the paint, 34-24, and took advantage of 19 ETSU turnovers and scored 11 points. 

Appalachian will begin its home slate on Sunday with a 2 p.m. contest against College of Charleston at the Holmes Center.

“ What a fun finish and a great effort from our entire team. I’m really proud of how we fought and the execution we displayed tonight. Our team showed tremendous FIGHT, and we played really hard for each other. I am happy for Joi (Jones) and really grateful I was able to share that buzzer-beater with her and our team tonight”. - Angel Elderkin


- App State shot 30 or more free throws for the fourth time in five games this season.
- The Mountaineers are 3-0 this season when at least three-student athletes score in double figures. 
-  Bassett-Smith has scored in double figures in four-straight outings. 
-  The Mountaineers have dealt ETSU two of its six all-time losses in Brooks Gymnasium.
-  Story (16), Murray (13) and Bassett-Smith (10) led the team in the plus/minus category.
-  Jones showcased a team-high 20 Player Efficiency Rating
-  The Bucs' nine points in the first quarter is the lowest they have scored in any game this season
-  Head Coach Angel Elderkin improves to 3-0 all-time against ETSU.


App State Men’s Hoops Subdues Hawks on the Road

WEST HARTFORD, Conn. –- Appalachian State University men’s basketball used a 19-4 run at the beginning of the second half to propel themselves to a 70-61 road victory at Hartford on Wednesday afternoon.

The Mountaineers (2-2) for the fourth-straight game outrebounded their opponent, 41-30, including a 12-7 advantage on the glass. App State shot 46.9 percent from the floor in the second half.

Ronshad Shabazz (Raleigh, N.C./Huntington Prep (W.V.)) led the Black and Gold in scoring with 28 points on 10-of-22 shooting, including two threes and a perfect 6-for-6 at the line. Shabazz also finished with a team-high eight rebounds.

Isaac Johnson (Charlotte, N.C./Providence Day) finished the game with a career-high 11 points and seven rebounds. Johnson was the only other Mountaineers to finish with double-figures.

After two Johnson free throws gave App State a 14-12 lead, the Hawks (1-4) would construct a 9-2 run to take a 21-15 lead with 6:52 left in the opening half. Appalachian closed the half on a 17-8 run to take a 32-29 lead into the locker room. 

The run was keyed by Shabazz layup and capped by a layup from Patrick Good (Johnson City, Tenn./David Crockett) with 10 seconds left in the half.

App State opened the second half on a 19-4 which was sparked by a Shabazz layup and included threes from Shabazz and Babic. The run as capped by a Matt O’Boyle (Peoria, Ariz./Sunrise Mountain/Pima Community College) bucket.

With a 51-33 lead, the Hawks would try and chip away at the 18-point deficit. Hartford would close to within just four at 63-59, but down the stretch Shabazz went 4-for-4 from the charity stripe and a Jake Babic (Ontario, Canada/The Kiski School) dunk and a free throw from Kelvin Robinson (Little Rock, Ark./Episcopal) helped seal the road win for App State.

Appalachian returns to action on Saturday, Nov. 26 when it travels to Duke for a showdown with the Blue Devils at Noon from Cameron Indoor Stadium.

Notes: Appalachian outrebounded its opponent for the fourth consecutive game … under head coach Jim Fox the Apps are 19-11 when they outbound their opponent … Ronshad Shabazz narrowly missed achieving a career high in points (29) … Shabazz tied his career high for field goals in a game (10) - only achieved it twice last season … Isaac Johnson netted career highs in points (11) and rebounds (7) … despite not scoring, Griffin Kinney (Delaware, Ohio/Fork Union Military) grabbed seven boards and continues to pace the team with 5.5 rebounds per game.



The Caldwell Community College & Technical Institutes men's basketball team  was upended by Davidson County Community College 94-91 Tuesday night. The loss snapped the Cobras five-game winning streak. The Cobras were led by Shawn Robinson and Jahi Hughes who had 19 and 17 points respectively. Jahmeel Watts, Chase Byrd, Jabrie Bullard, and Dominic Gilmore each had 7 rebounds. Caldwell is now 5-2 overall and will be back in action at home Sunday at 3 p.m. taking on Fayetteville Tech.


Jackson, Allen Lead Duke Past William & Mary 88-67


DURHAM, N.C. -- Grayson Allen's foot is feeling a little better -- and so is his shot.

Allen scored 17 points to help No. 6 Duke beat William & Mary 88-67 on Wednesday night.

Allen injured his right foot in last week's loss to No. 5 Kansas, and coach Mike Krzyzewski said his star guard's health is improving "but he's not there yet."

Not coincidentally, Allen was just 2 of 18 from 3-point range during his last three games -- the Kansas loss, and wins over Penn State and Rhode Island. He missed five of his first six long-range attempts against the Tribe before making his last two to finish 3 of 8.

"It's about time I made some shots," Allen said. "It felt better to see the ball go in the net. The confidence in my shooting never left me. I just had to make them, and finally tonight I was able to make a few."

Freshman Frank Jackson scored 19 points to help the Blue Devils (5-1) win their third straight since the Kansas loss. Duke shot 50 percent and outrebounded the Tribe 39-25.

Amile Jefferson finished with 15 points and 10 rebounds, Luke Kennard had 11 points and Matt Jones scored 10 points. Duke has had five double-figure scorers in every game this season.

Jack Whitman and Daniel Dixon scored 13 points each for William & Mary (2-2), which hasn't beaten a ranked team since 1977 and has never beaten one on the road.

The Tribe hung around this one until the second half, but Duke shot 52 percent after the break and pushed its lead well into the 20s with an 18-7 run midway through the half sparked by two 3s by Jackson.

Duke: This felt like business as usual for this group of Blue Devils, who can always seem to count on a big run to blow past an overmatched nonconference visitor. They used essentially a six-man rotation during the pre-garbage time portion of the game while cruising to their 128th straight non-ACC win at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

William & Mary: All the Tribe have proven so far is that they are not one of the nation's Top 10 teams. No shame in losing either to Duke or to No. 10 Louisville, as they have done in the past nine days, and they made Duke work much harder than the Cardinals did when they beat them by 33.

"We've played two teams we were better than, and should have won, and played two teams ... in Louisville and Duke, Top 10 teams in the country that would have taken great performances for us to win," coach Tony Shaver said.

The Blue Devils figure to move up a spot next week and return to the top five -- thanks to IPFW's upset of No. 3 Indiana a night earlier -- and they gave no indication against the Tribe that they deserve any ranking lower than that.

Duke's three injured freshmen -- Harry Giles, Marques Bolden and Jayson Tatum -- seem to be getting closer to playing. They have still yet to check into a game, but for the first time they were in uniform, and Giles and Bolden even took part in warmups. Those three were a big reason why the Blue Devils were picked No. 1 in the preseason.

"In the transition from serious injury, it's not just physical, it's mental, psychological," Krzyzewski said. "I just think, to put on your uniform, to do warmups as much as you can, to be more a part of a team is something, we want to transition to that. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. We just don't know how long the tunnel is. Days like today help."

Kennard finished two rebounds and four assists shy of Duke's first triple-double in 10 years. Shelden Williams was the last to do it against Maryland in 2006.