This week’s Conference Contemplation comes a day late as I posted on the basketball board, and I apologize. I thought my laptop would be an easy fix when I sent it in on Tuesday but I thought and I thought wrong. I’m on a “loaner” and while I’m happy to have something, I’m not happy with this thing. Oh well. Just as this basketball season, we must go on regardless of how happy we are.

What happened last Thursday night in central Tennessee has been well-documented, and I will only post the final score, because that doesn’t make it look quite as bad. T-Dog also had a good write-up in The Perils of Everyweek Existence, so if you really want to read more, go ahead. (Round of applause for TPOEE, good stuff each week) Chattanooga 91-88, in OT. That’s all we’ll say. Then SoCon North Division leader Samford handed us a 72-68 setback on Saturday night. Tough road trip for the black and gold, and there’s not really much to see here, other than I am pleased to see the team didn’t roll over at Samford, which would have been easy to do. I am not happy with a loss, but I’m also glad that the Apps didn’t lay down. Healy continued his consistent play in both efforts.

Since this is coming a day late, I have an oppurtunity to talk about the game from last night against Georgia Southern. The Apps got off to a good start, not a hot start, but a good start and built a 33-20 lead at half. Jay Canty played two minutes in the first half before injuring his right hand. He didn’t come back and is expected to be a game-time decision tomorrow afternoon vs. Davidson. The thought of another breakdown was in my mind from about the 15:00 mark on, when I decided to move due to a whole row of unruly, “Thirsty Thursday” students. C’mon, I’m just trying to watch a basketball game. Mike Neal went down with an ankle injury with 10:35 left, where we had a 47-33 Mountaineer advantage. The game shifted a few minutes later. Appalachian got the lead up to 52-35, but from that point forward, GSU put on the press and finished the 2nd half on a 22-5 run to force overtime. Chris Burgess missed a jumper at the regulation horn that could have won the game on a possession that really left me scratching my head.

In overtime, the teams traded buckets, with Healy scoring 4 points to put the Apps up 61-60. The Eagles’ C.J. Reed got away with a travel right before a Tab Hamilton foul sent him to the line with 28.9 seconds left. Reed sunk both and GSU took the 62-61 lead. The Eagles set up their 1-3-1 halfcourt defense and the Mountaineers really couldn’t get anything set up against it. It was a scramble and Chris Burgess saw a little daylight and knocked down the game winning three with around 10 seconds left. The last 10 seconds were also a scramble and GSU didn’t really get a good look on their final possession, and the Apps avoided the 2nd collapse in a week. Final score 64-62. Nathan Healy (17 and 13) and Michael Obacha (11 and 10) both finished with double-doubles, while Burgess added 12 and Tab Hamilton scored 10.

Should Appalachian have won last Thursday? Absolutely, and they probably do 9 times out of 10. Unfortunately, we witnessed the one. Should last nights game have went into overtime? Probably not, but it did, and guess what? We still won, and we’re only one game out of first in the North.

A lot of posters have been voicing their opinions on this team, Capel, and a variety of things, and here is my position.

I do not think Appalachian basketball is “in’Capel’ble.” The guy isn’t a top tier, mid-major coach, but he isn’t terrible either. I said it before, this team could have easily folded after the loss to Western, but they didn’t. They re-grouped, and I give a lot of that credit to Capel, and the rest of the coaching staff. We can’t handle pressure, we all know this. Yes, it would seem as if Capel would have a better press offense, and I would love to see it. That’s one major area of concern I have right now. I often ask why teams don’t press us more, but if they don’t want to, I’m fine with it. If you would have been told back in December that on January 25, Appalachian State would be 8-10 and 4-3 in conference, I think most people would have questioned someone’s knowledge of the game. I am dissappointed with the losses at Chattanooga, Samford, and the near collapse last night, but at the same time ecstatic with the position this team is in. There are 11 games left, and the tournament in Asheville is up for grabs. There are about 5 or 6 teams that could get hot in a weekend and win the SoCon Tournament, and go on to the NCAA Tournament. Do I believe our own Mountaineers could win a few games in a few days and advance? Absolutely. Maybe I’m being a little too optimistic about this, but I can not wait to watch the last 11 games unfold, and hopefully a run in Asheville.

As referenced earlier, the Davidson Wildcats are in Boone this weekend for a Saturday afternoon tip-off at 2 p.m. Mike Neal and Jay Canty are both reported to be game-time decisions, and if both can play that will help tremendously. The Wildcats are fresh off a 4 point victory over Western Carolina Thursday night. De’Mon Brooks (13.5 ppg, 6.3 rbg) and Jake Cohen (13.2, 5.4) pace Bob McKillop’s squad.

Now for a look around the league, and I am trying a new format…

LAST WEEK:

Western Carolina 90, Chattanooga 81
The Citadel 70, Georgia Southern 55
Davidson 77, Charleston 68
Elon 68, Wofford 61
Samford 72, Appalachian State 68
Furman 69, UNC-Greensboro 61

THIS WEEK:

Saturday

Davidson @ Appalachian State, 2:00
Georgia Southern @ Western Carolina, 2:00
Elon @ The Citadel, 2:05
Charleston @ Wofford, 7:00

Sunday

Chattanooga @ UNC-Greensboro, 2:00

Wednesday

Appalachian State @ Charleston, 7:00

SOCON INDIVIDUAL STAT LEADERS

-POINTS

Trevis Simpson, UNCG, 18.6
Trey Sumler, WCU, 18.2
Derrell Armstrong, UNCG, 16.3

-FIELD GOAL PERCENTAGE

Mike Groselle, CIT, 57%
Tawaski King, WCU, 54%
Tim Williams, SAM, 53%

-ASSISTS

Marshall Harris III, CIT, 4.6
Raijon Kelly, SAM, 4.1
Andrew Lawrence, CofC, 4.1
Stephen Croone, FUR, 4.1

-REBOUNDS

Adjehi Baru, CofC, 8.9
Mike Groselle, CIT, 7.8
Lee Skinner, WOF, 7.6

-BLOCKS

Lucas Troutman, ELON, 2.1
Jake Cohen, DAV, 1.6
Nathan Healy, ASU, 1.3

-STEALS

Karl Cochran, WOF, 2.2
Trey Sumler, WCU, 2.2
Nathan Healy, ASU, 1.8

-STANDINGS

NORTH CONF GB OVR
Elon 5-2 12-7
Samford 5-2 7-13
Western Carolina 5-3 .5 8-12
Appalachian State 4-3 1 8-10
Chattanooga 3-4 2 8-12
UNC Greensboro 3-4 2 5-13
SOUTH CONF GB OVR
Davidson 7-1 12-7
Charleston 5-3 2 13-7
Georgia Southern 2-5 4.5 8-12
Wofford 2-5 4.5 8-12
Furman 2-5 4.5 5-13
Citadel 1-7 6 4-14

-Stats and Standings courtesy of ESPN.com

-The Athletic Department has promoted Saturday to be a “white-out.” Be sure to wear white to support our Mountaineers take on Davidson. Once again, tip-off is at 2:00.

-I send my best wishes for those traveling up to the high country this weekend. Roads are icy all around, so those who are coming, I hope you have a safe and fun trip to Boone

See you at the Holmes Center, and as always, Go Mountaineers