Mountaineers outlast Bucs with last-second shot
Mountaineers outlast Bucs with last-second shot
Wednesday, January 5, 2005

BOONE, N.C. (Jan. 5, 2005) - In a battle of two Southern Conference teams in desperate need of a win, the Appalachian State Mountaineers came away with the prize thanks to a last-second play from sophomore guard D.J. Thompson.


With the game tied at 79, Thompson took the inbounds pass and raced the length of the court to hit a running layup and give the home-standing Mountaineers an 81-79 victory over East Tennessee State Wednesday night at the Holmes Convocation Center.


"It's a tough loss, but give Appalachian State credit because their guy made a play," said ETSU head coach Murry Bartow. "A loss is a loss, but I feel much different after this one. I think our guys battled and fought even though we had just seven guys out there."


With the loss, ETSU drops to 4-8 overall, 0-2 in SoCon play, while Appalachian State improved to 6-5, 1-1. The Bucs got a game-high 29 points from junior guard Tim Smith (Newport News, Va.), while junior forward Dillion Sneed (Chicago) had his third double-double of the year with 13 points and 17 rebounds.


            Trailing by 12 points at halftime, the Bucs shot a blistering 74 percent from the field in the second half and rallied to tie the game for the first time in the second half at 79. Trailing 64-48 with 12:34 left, the Bucs managed to put together a 29-15 offensive run to knot the game up.


            The Bucs actually had the ball in the final seconds. Smith attempted a shot that missed and the ball was knocked out of bounds with 5.6 seconds remaining, giving Appalachian possession of the ball. From there, Thompson took the momentum and the game with his running layup over Sneed.


            The Bucs raced out to an early advantage and led 13-4 with 16:20 left in the first half. Appalachian State head coach Houston Fancher called timeout at that point, settling his players and setting the stage for a Mountaineer rally.


            Over the next six minutes, Appalachian State chipped away at the ETSU lead and pulled to within five points at 20-15. At that point, the Mountaineers really turned it on, taking advantage of poor guard play by the Bucs and promptly going on a 27-8 run to lead 40-28 at the intermission.


            Along with Sneed and Smith, the Bucs also got 19 points from junior guard Travis Strong (Memphis) and 13 points from freshman forward Andrew Reed (Port Richey, Fla.). ETSU shot 51 percent from the floor and out-rebounded the Mountaineers 43-36.


            For Appalachian State, Noah  Brown led the way with 15, following by 13 from Derek Thomas.


            ETSU will return to SoCon action in a regionally televised contest Saturday as the Bucs host the Furman Paladins in Memorial Center. The game, which will air on Fox SportsNet South, will tip at 2 p.m. Meanwhile, the Mountaineers will stay at home to take on conference rival UNC Greensboro Saturday at 3:30 p.m.