BOONE, N.C. – App State men’s basketball overcame a halftime deficit for the 20th time under head coach Dustin Kerns in an 83-74 win over Southeastern Louisiana on Sunday.
The Mountaineers (4-2) outscored the Lions (3-3) 52-39 in the second half when they shot 60% from the field, 40% from three, and made 13 of their 14 free throws.
During that second-half run, Justin Abson blocked three shots, giving him 18 through the first six games of his career. His total is the second-highest in the nation and first among freshmen this season. Abson finished with eight points, four rebounds, four assists, three blocks and a steal.
Dibaji Walker led the Black & Gold in scoring with 17 points on 7-10 shooting. He made three three-point field goals and also grabbed six boards and a steal. Donovan Gregory followed with 16 points, eight rebounds and two steals.
After a back-and-forth first half that ended with a score of 35-30 in favor of the Lions, Walker came into the second half with a steal that led to a three-point shot from Carvell Teasett. Teasett finished with eight points, two three-pointers and a team-leading plus-minus of 20.
The first few minutes of the second half still saw back-and-forth action until Gregory made a floater that put the Mountaineers up 50-48. App State increased and held the advantage for the rest of the contest.
Xavion Brown had the highlight of the night after Abson blocked an SLU jump shot, rebounded it and threw it to Brown in the open court. The junior guard slammed it home to cap a 15-2 run by the Mountaineers, making the score 63-50 with seven minutes left to play.
Right after that, CJ Huntley scored the next six points for the Mountaineers with two and-one finishes in a row. The Lions continued to attempt to slow down the game with fouls, but the Mountaineers missed just one of their 14 second-half free throws, led by Gregory who went 8-8 from the line.
The Lions made a couple of big shots in the closing moments but were not able to come within striking distance, thanks to the offensive consistency of the home team.
The Mountaineers will go on the road for the second time this season on Wednesday when they visit ETSU at 7 p.m.