vs. UNCG - March 8 - 4:15 p.m.
by Appalachian Sports Information
March 1, 2008 - BOONE, N.C. Appalachian State University men's basketball closed the first half with an 11-2 run to propel it to a 74-63 win over Western Carolina on Saturday afternoon. A raucous 'Senior Day' crowd of 3,732 saw the Mountaineers send off their seniors in style with a second-consecutive Southern Conference North Division crown.
Kellen Brand led Appalachian (18-12, 13-7 SoCon) with 18 points, while Donald Sims added 15 and Doug McLaughlin-Williams 10. Jeremy Clayton came just two points shy of his 22nd career double-double career with an 8-point, 13-rebound performance.
With the win, the Apps claim no worse than a share of the North Division title and will have to wait for the result of this evening’s Elon versus Chattanooga matchup to learn their seed in next week’s SoCon Tournament. With a Chattanooga loss, the Mountaineers would claim the No. 2 seed. A UTC win would drop the Apps to the No. 4 seed.
Western Carolina (10-19, 6-13 SoCon) was led by Jake Robinson’s 19 points. Negus McKenna added 14 and Eric Wilson chipped in 11 in the team's ninth-straight loss to Appalachian.
The Mountaineers shot 48.9 percent from the field and 50 percent from three-point range for the ninth time this season en route to the victory while the defense limited WCU to just 37 percent shooting.
Starting all five seniors, the Mountaineers jumped out to an 8-3 after staring the game on a three-pointer from Jay McMillan. The Catamounts clawed back and claimed the lead twice in the half before a Clayton dunk with 9:36 left in the half gave the Apps the lead for good. From there, ASU outscored WCU, 18-9, in the half to take a comfortable 10-point, 38-28, lead into halftime.
The Cats pulled as close as eight three times in the second half, the last coming on a three-pointer from Wilson with 13:44 left. That brief charge inspired a 9-3 ASU run to extend the lead back out to a game-high 14 points with 8:05 left on a Clayton tip-in to make it 61-47. From there, ASU’s lead would stay at 10 or above until a Negus McKenna three-pointer in the final minute pulled WCU within eight, but the Apps responded by making three free-throws down the stretch to preserve the 11-point win.
The Mountaineers will return to action next Saturday at the Southern Conference Basketball Championships with a time and opponent to be announced possibly as late as Monday evening when regular-season SoCon action concludes.