MOBILE, Ala. – CJ Huntley scored a career-high 20 points on his 20th birthday as App State men’s basketball topped South Alabama 72-64 on Thursday evening.
Huntley went 8-of-16 (50.0 percent) from the field and knocked down four 3-pointers. He also added six rebounds. His eight made field goals are also a new career-high and his four made threes tie a career-best.
Adrian Delph added 16 points, five rebounds and three assists, while James Lewis Jr. had tied his season-high with 15 points on 6-of-9 (66.7 percent) shooting to go along with seven rebounds. Michael Almonacy chipped in with 12 points, six assists and five rebounds.
In all, the Mountaineers (8-8, 2-1 SBC) saw five players pull down five or more rebounds and three players dish out at least three assists.
Lewis Jr. scored four consecutive points in the early going to give App State a 6-3 lead. Following a South Alabama basket, the Mountaineers used a 7-0 run to open a 13-5 lead with 14:18 left in the first half.
The Jaguars (10-5, 0-2 SBC) chipped away at the App State lead and pulled within three points at 21-18. The Mountaineers answered with five consecutive points to extend their lead to 26-18 with 6:43 left in the opening half. App State closed the half on an 8-0 run to take a 39-28 lead into the break.
The Mountaineers opened the second half just like they closed the first half, with another 8-0 run, to expand their lead to 47-28. South Alabama trimmed the App State advantage to 47-34, but the Black and Gold extended its lead back to 19 points at 59-40 with 8:43 left to play on a trey from Huntley.
Later in the half, South Alabama used a 11-0 run to cut the App State lead to 63-56 with 2:27 remaining. The Mountaineers countered on their next possession with a dunk from Gregory. App State expanded its lead to 69-58 with 47 seconds remaining on another Gregory slam.
The Jaguars pulled within six points down the stretch, but Almonacy drained a pair of free throws in the closing seconds to secure the victory.
The Mountaineers finished with 17 assists, which is their third most in a game this season.
Jay Jay Chandler led South Alabama with 19 points, while Marshall Kearing added 13 points off the bench. The App State defense was tough all night on Charles Manning Jr., holding the Sun Belt’s leading scorer to just eight points on 3-of-14 (21.4 percent) shooting. Manning Jr. entered the game averaging 17.3 points.
App State returns to action at Troy on Saturday at 5 p.m. EST on ESPN+.