BOONE, N.C. -- Three double-digit scorers and a 12-0 explosion out of the gates gave Appalachian State University men’s basketball the advantage, toppling Arkansas State, 70-57, on Monday night at the Holmes Center.
The Mountaineers (6-9, 1-3 Sun Belt) used a confident 51.9 percent shooting percentage in the second half to nab their first conference win of the season, while the Red Wolves (11-6, 2-2 Sun Belt) fell in their second straight league game.
Leading all-scorers for the game was Mountaineer guard Ronshad Shabazz who finished with 18 points, six rebounds and two steals. Shabazz finished 7-for-15 from the floor and a stellar 4-of-6 from long range.
Emarius Logan also chipped in 12 points, including a clutch 4-4 from the line late in the game, while Isaac Johnson came off the bench to give key bench minutes, grabbing six boards to go along with 10 points, two steals and a block.
Chances from the charity stripe, while hard to come by in a physical battle, also went in the Mountaineers favor as they shot 72.7 percent from the line, while the Red Wolves mustered just 56 percent.
Appalachian raced out to a 12-0 lead into the first media timeout of the game with 15:51 left in the opening half. Five different scorers led to the early advantage for the Black and Gold. Despite the run from the Mountaineers, the Red Wolves answered with a 23-5 run themselves for a 23-17 lead.
The Apps would slowly crawl back in the game behind stellar defense and a keen sense for the rim, using eight free throws combined with a three from Patrick Good and a layup from Shabazz to trail by just two, 32-30, at the break.
With the score in A-State’s favor at 39-38 with 13:09 left in regulation, Craig Hinton banged a 3-pointer to give App State the two point edge.
After the Red Wolves tied the score, App State regained the lead and pushed it to five points on an unearthly play that saw Shabazz save a ball from going out-of-bounds on the App State baseline only to return to the corner and drill a 3-pointer and give App State a 46-41 lead.
App State held its advantage, leading by just four with 5:14 left to play before Hinton hit his second big 3-pointer to put the Mountaineers up by seven. The Apps would maintain its lead with clutch free throw shooting winning by a game-high lead of 13 points.
The Mountaineers finished 16-for-22 at the line with Logan and Kelvin Robinson finishing a perfect 4-for-4.
Tyrell Johnson led the Mountaineers with seven rebounds, while Shabazz contributed six and Hinton added five.
The Mountaineers now head on the road for three-straight, beginning at Coastal Carolina on Jan. 14 at 4:30 p.m.
Notes: With the win, App State extended its winning streak over Arkansas State to three games … App State leads the all-time series with A-State, 4-2 … The Mountaineers earned its first Sun Belt win of the season … Ronshad Shabazz led App State with 18 points — good for his 32nd double-digit scoring game of his career and 14th this season in 15 games … Emarius Logan netted double-figures for the third time this season …with 10 points, Isaac Johnson netted his fifth career double-digit scoring game.