BOONE, N.C. - True freshman Chris Burgess hit
a contested three-pointer from the left wing with 12 seconds remaining
in overtime to lift Appalachian State University men's basketball to a
thrilling 64-62 victory over Georgia Southern on Thursday evening at the
Appalachian State (8-10, 4-3 SoCon) led by as many as 17 points in the second half but saw the lead evaporate with starters Jay Canty and Mike Neal sidelined with injuries.
The Mountaineers struggled in particular after Neal, their starting point guard, left the ballgame with 10:35 to go in the second half. Appalachian led 47-33 when Neal sustained an ankle injury but Georgia Southern (8-12, 2-5 SoCon) outscored the Mountaineers, 24-10, down the stretch and sent the game to overtime on C.J. Reed's three-pointer with nine seconds remaining in regulation.
It looked like the Eagles would complete the big comeback when they took a 62-61 lead on a pair of Reed free throws with 29 seconds to go the extra period. However, with time ticking away, Burgess pulled up from 24 feet and knocked down the biggest shot of his career to give Appalachian the two-point advantage.
Georgia Southern had two attempts to attempts to extend the contest again but Cleon Roberts' jumper from the corner was off target and Brian Holmes' fadeaway follow from the left block fell short as time expired.
Nathan Healy led the way for the Mountaineers with 17 points, including eight in the second half and four in overtime, and 13 rebounds. Freshman Michael Obacha also recorded a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds, giving Appalachian two double-doubles for the first time this season. Burgess and Tab Hamilton rounded out four Mountaineer scorers in double-figures with 12 and 10 points, respectively.
The Eagles were paced by C.J. Reed's team-high 16 points and nine rebounds while Roberts and forward Eric Ferguson scored 10 each.
Appalachian State shot 43.1 percent (25-of-58) from the floor while limiting Georgia Southern to just 36.9 percent (24-of-65) on the night. GSU finished with a 44-42 edge in rebounds but could not overcome the strong efforts of Healy and Obacha on the inside.
The Mountaineers return to action at 2 p.m. on Saturday when they play host to SoCon favorite Davidson.
GAME NOTES: Appalachian State improved to 23-17 all-time against Georgia Southern... the Apps extended their home winning streak to five games, the best mark since the 2009-10 team won six-straight... the Mountaineers moved to 11-6 when facing the Eagles at home and upped their home winning streak against GSU to six in a row... Thursday's game marked the first time that the Apps have had two players with double-doubles since Isaac Butts and Andre Williamson accomplished the feat in a win over College of Charleston in the first round of last year's SoCon Tournament... the game also marked the fifth-straight game that the Apps have had four or more players in double figures... Canty played just two minutes after injuring his thumb in the first half... both his status and that of Neal will be determined tomorrow.