MONROE, La. – Justin Forrest tied his season-high with 32 points, but Appalachian State men’s basketball fell to ULM by an 89-80 score in the First Round of the Sun Belt Tournament on Tuesday evening.
The tenth seeded Mountaineers see their season come to a close with a 11-21 record, while the seventh seeded Warhawks (17-14) advance to take on No. 6 seed Coastal Carolina on Thursday.
Forrest also scored 32 points earlier this season in Boone against ULM on Feb. 2. On Tuesday, he drained a career-high tying 11 field goals, to go along with six rebounds. It marks the fourth 30-point game of his career.
Adrian Delph tallied 14 points and four rebounds, while Hunter Seacat had 11 points and four rebounds.
Ronshad Shabazz added 11 points, four rebounds and three assists. Shabazz sees his career come to a close with 2,067 points, which ranks second in program history and seventh in Sun Belt history. In addition, he owns the program record for field goals made (712) and ranks third all-time in three-pointers made (269).
ULM came out of the gate strong and opened a 17-4 edge eight minutes into the game. Trailing 22-8, the Mountaineers got back-to-back three-pointers from Forrest and Delph to trim their deficit to 22-14. The Warhawks held the lead for remainder of the half and a late tip in from Delph in the final minute of the half cut the ULM lead to 42-36 at the break.
In the second half, ULM pushed its lead to 10 points, but App State stormed back and cut the deficit to a point at 57-56 on an old-fashioned three-point play from Forrest with 14:38 left to play. The Black and Gold took its first lead of the night a few possessions later at 58-57 on a layup from Seacat.
App State opened a 66-63 lead with 11:29 left on the game on a trey from Michael Bibby, but the Warhawks countered with 14 of the next 15 points to build a 77-67 lead with 6:57 remaining.
The Black and Gold got a three-pointer from Forrest to trim the deficit to 77-70, but ULM answered right back with four more points to open an 11-point advantage. App State pulled to within eight points, but could no closer the rest of the way.
The Mountaineers finished 27-of-57 (47.4 percent) from the field, while ULM went 31-of-62 (50.0 percent).
Travis Munnings paced the Warhawks with game highs of 21 points and 12 rebounds, while Daishon Smith added 16 points and nine assists. Michael Ertel and JD Williams also had 16 points apiece.