APP STATE vs. COASTAL CAROLINA GAME PREVIEW

Welcome to the Sun Belt Coastal Carolina. Despite the reasonable proximity Appalachian State and Coastal have never faced one another on the court. This inaugural match-up will feature an experienced rotation with a combination of six juniors and seniors. Meanwhile, App State comes off their first league win of the season over Arkansas State.

Appalachian State comes into this week’s lone game 1-3 in Sun Belt play, against opponent Coastal Carolina at 3-1. Honestly, there very little difference between the two in terms of either results or opponent in those four games. Yet, the respective records tell of distinctly different results.

- Both Appalachian (15) and Coastal (21) lost to UT-Arlington by double-digits.

- Coastal beat Texas State 60-53, whereas App State lost 67-58 in San Marcos

- App fell at home 76-68 to Little Rock and Coastal beat the Trojans 66-63.

Same schedule, similarly close games, but a veteran Coastal Carolina squad found ways to edge out wins, and the youthful Mountaineers struggled to finish the tight contests.

Yet, both teams recently defeated Arkansas State on their respective home floors, with App State claiming the 70-57 win and Coastal triumphing 80-65.

CASOSTAL CAROLINA CHANTICLEERS

Elijah Wilson: Four-year standout guard, Wilson takes a little over 60% of his shots from the three-point line and shoots just 38% inside the arc. Force him to use the dribble, switch quickly and over the top of screens against him. He’s also the most turnover prone of a turnover-prone team (#318 nationally in margin), so make him handle the ball.

Jaylen Shaw: Dual-threat playmaker and scorer from his point guard spot. Shaw is very efficient offensively and truly the catalyst for their success. More reluctant from the three-point arc, but still effective at nearly 39%, you have to check him all over the floor. In fact, in conference games Shaw is leading Coastal in scoring at 17.0 points per game..

Demario Beck: Powerful 6’8” JUCO transfer has made an instant impact with 9.5 points and 8.2 rebounds per game. Beck is not a polished scorer but will sting you on offensive rebounds and even chucks about four three-point shots per game. Let him, he’s only a 32% shooter from there. He’s killing it in Sun Belt games at 9.5 boards per game.

Colton Ray-St Cyr: Despite a last name that looks like a bowl of floating Alpha-Bits you have to be mindful of Ray-St Cyr’s all-around game. He makes contributions in just about every area of play on the court. He’s a long, slender swing man, the type that gives Appalachian fits from time to time. His scoring average has jumped by almost five points per game in league play.

Joseph Williams-Powell: Williams-Powell is Coastal’s version of App’s Isaac Johnson. The JUCO transfer is 6’7”, bouncy, and very active. His 40-minute scoring and rebounding averages are 16 points and 8.2 rebounds. Williams-Powell is also the most foul-prone Chanticleer, so attack him with both Tyrell and Isaac Johnson.

Amidou Bamba/Josh Coleman: Interchangeable big-men who have swapped the starting center duties this season. Neither is overwhelming statistically individually, but together they’re a nine-point and nine-rebound combination. And, they offer 10 fouls per game, so again Appalachian needs to attack these guys with their rangy forwards.

Artur Labinowicz/Jaylan Robertson: The standard Euro-guard and another JUCO transfer, both fill in with a little under 20 minutes. Both are effective three-point shooters at 37%-41% between them and, much like the post reserves, combine for about 10 points per game. Again, nobody kills you individually but together they add up to wins.

APP STATE MOUNTAINEERS

Ronshad Shabazz: In Appalachian’s four DI wins this season Shabazz is averaging 20.5 points on 48% shooting overall and 46% from the three-point line. When he plays that way the Mountaineers win games. Shabazz plays with a physicality that Coastal’s guards may find hard to contain, especially off the dribble and in transition.

Griffin Kinney: Kinney is averaging 11.0 points on 69% shooting and nearly eight rebounds per game in Sun Belt play. In short, Kinney has become that consistent inside offensive threat that has been missing for Jim Fox’s first two seasons. With that threat has come more room to work on the perimeter for the entire offense.

Emarius Logan: As crucial as Shabazz’s productivity is to App State success, Logan’s success is often another key contribution in wins. In those same four DI wins isolated above, Logan scored six points in a nine-point win, seven points and six assists in a 12-point win, 21 points and three assists in a 21-point win, and 12 and two in a 15-point victory.

Tyrell Johnson: Here’s another opponent that an active and intentional Johnson could exploit. His quickness and reach will be tough for Coastal to contain, if Johnson is attacking relentlessly. Appalachian needs more Tyrell production in Sun Belt play especially, where physicality and defense are an every-night event.

Kelvin Robinson: Robinson gets Jaylen Shaw duty, which is a huge battle within the war. Both are tough and physical, so it should be a great match-up. After opening the season shooting 52% through the first half of non-conference play he’s in a 10-game stretch at 33% from the floor. Still, Robinson contributes in other ways, leading the team in assists.

Isaac Johnson: Johnson’s impact on both ends of the floor continue to bely his freshman experience. Johnson is a tough match-up for Coastal, who won’t see many face-up guys with Isaac’s size and handle. Interesting stat for you; App hasn’t played Tyrell and Isaac together often but did for 9:19 in the Arkansas State win – App outscored Arkansas State 20-7 during that time.

Patrick Good: In a game against a high-scoring team (Coastal averages nearly 73 a game) Good’s additional scoring punch is likely to be important. He and Shabazz actually lead the Sun Belt in total three-pointers made so far this season. He’s shown the kind of explosive ability that can totally turn a game.

Craig Hinton/Jake Babic: Arkansas State’s guard-heavy lineup got Hinton extra minutes last time out, but his newfound offensive confidence could keep him in the rotation for more minutes. That and his defensive versatility are unique on the roster. Babic was 0-3 from the floor in that game but handed out four assists in just 13 minutes.

GAME ANALYSIS

Coastal Carolina beat Arkansas State by bombing them out from the three-point line (plus-24 points) and Appalachian beat the Red Wolves by choking them out defensively (35% shooting from the floor).

In those facts alone may come the two keys to winning this game. Coastal has won just one game all season where they didn’t make at least eight three-pointers. App State has allowed a league-worst 42.6% shooting from the arc in conference play.

Without a consistent inside scoring game Coastal needs perimeter points and Appalachian, struggling to score of late, needs to prevent them from establishing range at the three-point line.

App State has lost its last five road games and has to find a way to start this game quickly.

COASTAL CAROLINA 70 – APP STATE 66


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