To the basket

Appalachian State’s Justin Forrest (1) goes up for a layup against East Carolina’s Brandon Suggs (4), Tristen Newton (2) and Jayden Gardner (2).

BOONE — Appalachian State’s football team beat North Carolina and South Carolina this fall. The Mountaineers’ basketball team added another direction to the school’s athletic victories.

The App State basketball team took an early lead and held it for most of the game in its 68-62 win over visiting East Carolina in front of 1,892 fans at the Holmes Center. The Mountaineers (2-1) made it two straight wins at Holmes and picked up their first against a Division I opponent.

Appalachian State turned to its guards for offense, and everybody for defense. Point guard Justin Forrest scored 21 points to lead the Mountaineers and fellow guard Adrian Delph added 19 points.

Appalachian State had to deal with the size of the Pirates (1-2), who are collectively, the tallest team in the country. But rebounding was not an issue as East Carolina held a 36-35 edge on the boards.

Maintaining a lead after taking an early 11-0 lead after both teams struggled to score early was the main mission of the Mountaineers. East Carolina took a 40-37 lead with 13:35 left in the game, but the Mountaineers took it back for good on an Isaac Johnson layup that gave App State a 52-50 lead with 7:03 left in the game.

“It’s college basketball and that team is going to win a lot of games,” App State coach Dustin Kerns said. “We harp on it and I thought our guys did a good job doing it — just guard and this game will take care of itself. But if we let those early missed shots in the first few minutes affect the way we were guarding, then we’re not as good in the game and it could have went a different way.”

Defensively, the Mountaineers held East Carolina to 35.6 percent shooting and converted 14 turnovers into 14 points. App State made 44.4 percent of its shots and turned the ball over 13 times, but the Pirates converted them into just six points.

“I’m very proud of our defense,” Kerns said. We let our defense dictate our offense to start the game. We made some winning plays in the end that I am very proud of.”

East Carolina got 20 points from Seth LeDay and 12 points from Brandon Suggs.

Kerns thanked the fans who made it to the Holmes Center despite the cold conditions outside. He said the fans helped energize the team, especially in the second half when the game got close.

“I felt that they really helped us,” Kerns said. “They brought a lot of great energy and so we appreciate that and we hope that will continue.”

Appalachian State begins its three-game series in the Spartan Invitational Nov. 15 against Montana State, which is followed with a game against Tennessee Tech on Nov. 16. App State wraps up the tournament with a game against host UNC Greensboro on Nov. 18.

Appalachian State 68,

East Carolina 62

East Carolina 62 (1-2)

Gardner 2-7 7-8 11, Debaut 0-2 0-0 0, Newton 1-6 2-2 5, Miles 3-11 0-0 8, James 0-1 0-0 0, LeDay 9-11 1-4 20, Suggs 3-7 5-5 12, Curtis 0-1 0-0 0, Baruti 2-9 0-0 4, Coleman 1-4 0-0 2. Totals 21-59 15-19 62.

Appalachian State 68 (2-1)

Johnson 2-4 2-3 6, Lewis Jr. 1-2 2-4 4, Forrest 5-12 10-11 22, Williams 2-3 0-2 4, Delph 5-15 5-6 19, Seacat 3-4 1-2 6, Bibby 2-3 0-0 6, Lewis 0-2 0-0 0, Gregory 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 20-45 20-28 68.

Halftime score—App State 31, ECU 27. 3-point goals—ECU 5-22 (Miles 2-9, LeDay 1-2, Suggs 1-3, Newton 1-4, James 0-1, Curtis 0-1, Baruti 0-3); App State 8-20 (Delph 4-8, Bibby 2-3, Forrest 2-6, Lewis Jr. 0-1, Johnson 0-1, Williams 0-1). Assists—East Carolina 11 (Gardner 3), App State 11 (Delph, Johnson 2). Turnovers—East Carolina 14, App State 13. Total fouls—ECU 22, App State 19.

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