When App State opened Sun Belt play at Texas State on New Year’s Eve they hadn’t played in 10 days and it showed in the first half. Appalachian zombied their way through most of the first half; trailed 17-5 at 13:41, 32-19 at 4:01, and 35-19 at the half. 27% from the floor, 1-12 at the arc, 57% at the free-throw line, 10 turnovers…you get the idea.
But, what a difference halftime made. The Mountaineers came out gunning; App went on a 10-5 run to the 15:52 mark, 15-9 by 11:29, and closed the deficit down to 50-48 at 8:11. In climbing the hill the Mountaineers had to burn a lot of energy and it showed as they went 5:35 without scoring from that point.
Texas State was able to stretch the lead back out from the free-throw line (6-8 inside 4:00) and Appalachian went just 1-5 from the three-point line.
But, the App State turnaround was impressive; more than doubled their scoring from the first half, 50% from the floor, 36% at the arc, and a 40% reduction in turnovers.
Expect the staff to hyper-focus the team on being ready from the opening tip this time around.
Well, maybe we get Ronshad Shabazz involved. He’s now the second-leading scorer in Sun Belt Conference games at 20.5 and is leading the league in three-pointers per game in conference play.
Next up, Griffin Kinney had his fourth double-double against UT-Arlington and hit Texas State for 13 points and 11 rebounds last time. The Mountaineers also crushed the Bobcats on the offensive glass, with 14 extra-possession rebounds for a plus-seven point advantage in second-chance scoring.
One missing and missed element is App point guard Kelvin Robinson, who had eight points, four rebounds, four assists, a steal and a blocked shot at Texas State. And, Appalachian needs the point guard duo of Emarius Logan and Jake Babic to step up big time, having combined to go 1-14 from the floor in the past two games.
Again, if Shabazz has just one wing man it makes a difference, especially since Texas State struggles to score.
Keys to winning for Appalachian:
- Score 70: Texas State is 11th in the Sun Belt in scoring per game in league play, ahead of only 0-8 Louisiana-Monroe. They’re 2-6 in games where their opponents scored 70 points or more.
- Force Perimeter Shots: Texas State is last in the Sun Belt in three-pointers made and only 24% of their made field goals come from the arc. Perhaps we see more of that 2-3 zone App showed against UTA?
- Rebound, Rebound, Rebound: Texas State is not a strong rebounding team at minus-1.8 per game in league play. Again, in San Marcos Appalachian made up seven points on offensive boards.
- Take Care of the Ball: During this four-game losing streak App State is averaging nearly 14 turnovers and allowing 16 points per game off those turnovers. Texas State is 2nd in the league in turnover margin.
- Quit Leaving Easy Points at the Line: For a team that makes scoring as difficult as Texas State does, Appalachian can’t afford to leave points at the free-throw line. 15-28 against UTA made a difference.
It’s past time to finish a game. This is the game App State gets it done.
APP STATE 73 – TEXAS STATE 67