BOONE, N.C. - Appalachian State University men's basketball shot just 25 percent from the field in the first half and never recovered in a 77-59 loss to in-state rival Charlotte on Sunday afternoon at the Holmes Center.
Appalachian State (2-6) made just 8-of-32 shots in the opening 20 minutes, including a 1-for-10 stretch midway through the period that saw an 11-7 lead turn into a 25-14 deficit. Charlotte (7-2) stretched its lead to 37-22 at halftime and Appalachian never drew closer than 13 after the break.
The Apps started the game with a strong effort and look as if they may hang with the 49ers they led for the first 10:14 of the game as Tevin Baskin scored six points in the opening five minutes of play to stake the Apps to a four-point lead (9-5) with 14:57 to play.
After the Mountaineers snagged the 11-7 lead with 12:40 to go in the opening period, Charlotte clamped down defensively and did not surrender a point for the next five-plus minutes as Ty Toney broke the scoring drought with a layup at the 7:33 mark to bring the Apps within one (14-13).
But the scoring drought was too much to overcome as the 49ers rode the wave of momentum to a 15-point halftime lead as they outscored Appalachian 30-11 over the final 12 minutes of the opening period.
Even after shooting a respectable 40.6 percent in the second half (13-of-32), the Mountaineers made just 32.8 percent of their field-goal attempts in the ballgame (21-of-64), including just 4-of-24 (16.7 percent) from three-point range. Led by 26 points on 12-of-18 shooting from center Mike Thorne, Jr., Charlotte made 50.8 percent of its shots (32-of-63).
Mike Neal was the only Mountaineer in double-figures, scoring 17 points on 6-of-18 shooting. He also dished out a team-high five assists and grabbed a season-high five rebounds. Tab Hamilton and Tommy Spagnolo added nine points apiece while freshman Mike Kobani doubled his previous career-best with a team-high eight rebounds.
In addition to Thorne, Jr.'s 26 points, Willie Clayton scored 11 and ripped down 10 boards for the 49ers while Terrence Williams (12) and Shawn Lester (10) each scored in double figures. Pierria Henry, who missed Charlotte's previous game with a knee injury, scored nine points, dished out seven assists and came up with six steals.
The Mountaineers were outrebounded 43-39 as Charlotte pounded the ball inside, scoring 54 points in the paint to Appalachian's 28.
Appalachian State returns to action on Sunday, Dec. 15 when it heads to Winthrop for a 2 p.m. contest with the Eagles.
NOTES: Appalachian fell to 13-20 all-time against Charlotte and 9-7 when facing the 49ers in Boone... Spagnolo's nine points were a career-high... Hamilton came off the bench for the first time since Feb. 18, 2012... he had started the previous 42 games for the Mountaineers... Six different Mountaineers pulled down at least four rebounds and three different players came away with two steals.