Appalachian State’s road season is about to end in Troy, Alabama. Question now is will it end winless in Sun Belt play? The Mountaineers come in having lost at South Alabama after a lost second half against the Jags.
Troy has won three in a row, averaging 87 points during the streak, and hasn’t scored less than 71 in a league game this season. But despite leading the Sun Belt in scoring during conference play Troy is just 7-6 coming into this game.
That’s because they’re also allowing over 77 points in league play, and that means App State has to put up 40 minutes of offense and as much defense as they can muster.
Wesley Person: Junior swingman averages a little over 19 per game in four career contests vs. App State. He’s shooting 43% from the three-point line in conference play this season and takes 65% of his shots from the arc. Troy will run him off a series of screens, where they want to see App switch defenders and get Person in a mismatch.
Jordon Varnardo: Powerfully built (6’6”, 215) and does most of his work inside the three-point line, shooting a smoldering 55% from the floor in league play. Varnardo averaged 14 points and five rebounds in the App sweep from last season, but has stepped up his game further to lead Troy in Sun Belt play scoring at 16.5 per game.
Jeremy Holliman: Senior JUCO transfer is a very efficient scoring guard who shoots nearly 50% from the floor and averages almost 14 points per game in league play. Appalachian successfully hawked Holliman last season, forcing him into 5-20 shooting in two games. But when defenses load up to address Person and Varanardo, Holliman is capable of carrying the scoring load.
Kevin Baker: Transfer point guard averages nearly a 2:1 assist-to-turnover ratio but also isn’t shy about shooting from the arc, where he makes 35% of his attempts and puts one up roughly every four minutes of game time. Again, Troy runs a lot of screens and motion so the Mountaineers will have to manage those switches effectively.
Juan Davis, Jr.: The ultimate designated shooter, Davis leads the league in three-point shooting in Sun Belt games at an unbelievable 61%. He’s not as frequent a shooter as the rest of their primary scorers but when he shoots he makes it, especially from the arc. More than anyone else in the Sun Belt.
DeVon Walker: Ultra-active small forward (6’6) who has increased his scoring output in conference play, averaging over nine points per game, and also leads the team in rebounding in Sun Belt games. He doesn’t shoot from deep very often, so prepare to deal with him off the dribble and he’s very active away from the ball.
In four games since App State joined the Sun Belt Conference Appalachian has beaten Troy by an average of four points per win. These games have been tough and tight, and the Mountaineers have needed every single point they could manage for those wins.
This one will be no different.
Troy scores in bunches and App State comes into this match-up averaging 75 points per game over the last five games. The potential return of starting point guard Kelvin Robinson from injury and the hopeful return of Ronshad Shabazz’s shooting touch (33% over the past three games) will be necessary. The best defense App State is capable of playing against an explosive Troy offense is absolutely critical.
One more chance for a final road victory.
TROY 76 – APP STATE 70