It was a loss on Dec. 8 that was the low point of the season for Appalachian State men’s basketball. The Mountaineers had blown a lead to their hated rival Western Carolina, and saw a player shoot a free throw so badly that it was the water cooler joke in the workplace for the next several days.
That loss gave App State a 1-7 overall record, and an 0-1 start in the Southern Conference, and were making Mountaineer fans start the long wait until baseball season, or even football season for some.
However, ASU has seemingly turned things around, and are making fans take notice.
The Mountaineers have reeled off five consecutive wins, with three of those coming in SoCon action. App State began to right the ship with a pair of non-conference wins over Presbyterian and Milligan College at the end of December.
January started the full SoCon slate of games, and the Mountaineers were ready for the games that really count. App State knocked off Wofford on the road, 50-49, thanks to some tremendous defense down the stretch that held the Terriers scoreless for the final seven minutes of the game.
Up next, ASU had its SoCon home opener against Elon on Jan. 12. Five double-figure scorers led the team to an 80-70 win. Nathan Healy poured in 22 points, Mike Neal had 17, Tevin Baskin added 16 off the bench, Jay Canty scored 12 and Tab Hamilton added 10.
On Monday, the Mountaineers kept the winning streak rolling with an 83-70 win over UNC-Greensboro. App State trailed by seven at halftime, but stormed back with 51 points in the second half to get the win. Healy had another great outing with 24 points, Neal scored 19, Baskin had 16 and Canty dropped in 14 points.
Right now, there are five SoCon teams with just one conference loss.
SoCon Northern Division standings
1. Western Carolina: 7-10 overall, 4-1 conference
2. Appalachian State: 7-8 overall, 3-1 conference
3. Samford: 5-12 overall, 3-1 conference
4. Elon: 9-7 overall, 2-2 conference
5. Chattanooga: 7-10 overall, 2-2 conference
6. UNC-Greensboro: 3-12 overall, 1-3 conference
SoCon Southern Division standings
1. College of Charleston: 12-5 overall, 4-1 conference
2. Davidson: 9-7 overall, 4-1 conference
3. Wofford: 7-10 overall, 1-3 conference
4. Georgia Southern: 7-10 overall, 1-3 conference
5. Furman: 4-11 overall, 1-3 conference
6. Citadel: 3-12 overall, 0-5 conference