App State rides dominant second half to win over UNCW at Fort Myers Tip-Off

Appalachian State used sweltering defense to spur a lights-out shooting performance in the second half, securing an 86-56 win over UNC-Wilmington in the Palms Division of the Fort Myers Tip-Off on Tuesday afternoon.

UNCW (4-1) got off to a rough start in the first half, shooting 29 percent from the floor. They made up for it behind the arc however, knocking down 7-of-17 threes while committing just one turnover.

Trazari White was a force down low in the opening half, drawing contact and going a perfect 7-of-7 from the line (and the only Seahawk to get to the charity stripe in the half) while corralling five rebounds. He finished the loss with a team-high 15 points with eight rebounds and one block.

App State (2-2) had the inverse shooting struggles that plagued UNCW, shooting 50 percent from the field but going just 2-of-10 from deep in the first half while committing six turnovers. But their efficient play inside kept them within striking distance and the Mountaineers entered halftime down just 34-33.

A few minutes into the second half, the Mountaineers were a perfect 6-of-6 from the field while tightening the screws on defense, going on a 13-0 run and jumping out to a 47-39 lead with 15 minutes to play.

UNCW responded with a 6-0 run of its own, and cut the lead to 49-44 just a few minutes later. But App State continued their defensive pressure and held the Seahawks scoreless for three minutes as they went on another 9-0 run for a 59-47 lead with just under ten minutes to play.

The Mountaineers continued to get easy looks inside, getting quick transition looks and setting up good lobs. In the first ten minutes of the half, Myles Tate had nine points on 3-of-4 shooting while App State shot 61 percent from the floor as a team. Tate finished with 14 points, three assists, and two steals

The good looks increased as the Mountaineers came up with five blocks and five steals in the second half, and built a 26-point lead with five minutes to play. App State finished the second half shooting 70 percent from the floor and 50 percent from three-point land while outscoring UNCW 53-22.

Five different App State players finished in double-figures with Tre’v Spillers leading the Mountaineers with 15 points on 7-of-8 shooting along with seven rebounds and two blocks.

Donova Gregory tallied 14 points, seven boards, five assists and five turnovers while Christo Mantis had 13 points, two blocks, and one steal while going 3-of-6 from deep. Terence Harcum added 10 points to the winning effort.

This article originally appeared on Naples Daily News: App State defense lifts Mountaineers past Seahawks, 86-56

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