The Mocs have not won in Boone since 2005-06. This has been a bit of a House of Horrors for the
Mocs. Now they head there to face a team that has not won a D1 game this year, but has been playing better since Jay Canty returned from injury. The Mocs are 4-0 in SoCon play. This game should have flashing red lights for the Mocs. After all (like I said in a post on Monday), the Mocs don't have much margin for error. The Mocs will not just walk into Boone and come up with a win.
How will the Mountaineers win this game? They will have to lean heavily on Jay Canty. Canty has scored 17.5 points per game in the four games that he has played in. He also is averaging five rebounds and 1.3 assists per game and 2.3 steals. The 6-6 junior has made 4 of 9 from three point range. He is shooting 57.1% from the floor. Really, his return has been nothing short of remarkable. He would be a SoCon Player of the Year candidate if he could maintain this for an entire year and if he was playing on a better team.
Michael Obacha, the 6-8 center, leads the SoCon in rebounding with 9.3 per game. But he only scores 5.1 points per game. Obacha is hardly an offensive threat. Even with his height and his rebounding ability, he is shooting just 42.1% from the floor. The Mocs will try to contain Obacha on the boards, but don't have to worry too much about him on the offensive end of the floor.
Since Canty returned, Mike Neal has disappeared. He has scored a total of fifteen points in four games. He is still averaging over ten points per game. He has only come up with nine assists and four rebounds during that stretch as well. He is shooting 29.5% from three point range. He leads the team with 2.9 assists per game.
Tevin Baskin is shooting 27.3% from three point range. He's averaging 11.7 points and 5.1 rebounds per game. The senior needs to continue to develop his offensive game. He is a very good player and the Mocs will need to find a way to contain him.
Tab Hamilton is shooting 35.3% from three point range. He is the Mountaineers most dangerous three point shooter. He is scoring 13.2 points per game. He is averaging 1.4 steals per game. Outside of Canty, Hamilton is probably the Mountaineers best player.
Appalachian State is shooting 47.4% from two point range in SoCon play, good for 10th in the conference. They are shooting 25.0% from three point range- dead last in the conference. They are allowing teams to shoot 36.1% from three point range, which is eighth in the conference. They are allowing opponents to shoot 58.3% from two point range, good for dead last in the SoCon. This is not a good defensive or offensive team, even in SoCon play, where they have been playing better. Z Mason and Casey Jones, two of the better shooters in the SoCon, could have field days. Will Rico White or Gee McGhee be able to drive the ball effectively?
The Mocs will have a battle on their hands. This game looks easier than it is...and that is why it is so scary. They will have a tough time containing Canty or Hamilton, but the Mocs will do just enough to squeak out a win. Jones and Mason should have huge games. That will be enough for the Mocs to win in Boone for the first time since 2005-06, and get off to a 5-0 SoCon start, including 3-0 on the road. Mocs 77, Mountaineers 74.