Healy’s play was especially clutch down the stretch, as the senior scored seven points and made a big steal in the final 101 seconds of the game to help Appalachian State (9-12, 5-5 SoCon) hold on for only its second win in its last six meetings with Western Carolina (8-14, 5-5 SoCon).
Appalachian, which never trailed, led by as many as 14 points in the first half and held an 11-point advantage with 9:30 left to play but a 19-9 Western run cut the Mountaineer lead to one at 65-64 with 2:06 to go in the ballgame.
With momentum firmly in the Catamounts’ corner, Healy took a pass from Jay Canty on the left wing and knocked down a huge three-pointer with 1:41 left on the clock, stretching the Mountaineers’ advantage back to four points at 68-64.
It was far from over, however, as WCU cut the lead to 68-65 by making 1-of-2 free throws and got the ball back on a turnover by Mike Neal with just over a minute to go in the one-possession game.
On the Catamounts’ ensuing possession Healy poked the ball away from WCU’s Preston Ross with 50 seconds left for his seventh and biggest steal of the afternoon. Healy would go on to score four of the game’s final six points, highlighted by a thunderous fast-break dunk with 17 seconds remaining that ended any hopes of a Western comeback.
Healy made 8-of-11 shots from the field, including a 4-of-5 mark from three-point range, and sank 4-of-6 free throws to account for his third-career 24-point game. His seven steals were tied for the third-most in school history and the most since Eduardo Bermudez also had seven against Charlotte in the 2008-09 season opener.
Canty finished the day with 19 points, eight rebounds, five assists and two steals while Jamaal Trice (Los Angeles, Calif./Midland College) added nine points off the bench.
Trey Sumler led the Catamounts with 21 points while James Sinclair added 17. Tawaski King scored nine points and pulled down a team-best nine rebounds.
The Mountaineers shot 52.9 percent (27-for-51) on the day including 7-of-14 from beyond the arc. Western was held to just 41.1 percent (23-for-56) but was an impressive 15-of-19 from the charity stripe. The Catamounts finished with 35 rebounds to App State’s 28 but committed 17 turnovers and dished out just seven assists.
Appalachian State returns to action on Thursday when it travels to Georgia Southern for the first of a two-game road trip.
GAME NOTES: Appalachian State improved to 112-67 all-time against the Catamounts including a 60-22 mark at home... the Mountaineers scored 28 points in the paint to Western’s 26... the Appalachian bench outscored WCU’s bench by a 17-8 tally... the Apps picked up their seventh home win of the season to mark the ninth-straight season with at least seven wins at home.
Sun Belt Conference