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In their sixth NCAA Tournament appearance in program history, the Lenoir-Rhyne Men's Basketball Team lost to No. 3-seeded USC Aiken in the First Round of the Big Dance by a final score of 84-71 on Saturday afternoon. Cory Thomas led the team in scoring with 24 points as the Bears fell to the Pacers in the NCAA Tournament for the second time.

The Bears trailed by as many as 23 in the second half but surged to within seven thanks to an outstanding effort from senior Cory Thomas. Thomas scored 22 of his 24 points in the second half, including 14 in the first 10 minutes to bring the Bears back. Despite picking up two early fouls and missing most of the first half, Thomas finished with a double-double in 24 minutes. The Louisville, Ky. native had 10 boards.

Bertrand Awana was a force on both ends of the court, finishing with six points, nine rebounds and five blocked shots.

The Bears couldn't contain All-Region player Xzavier Barmore who went off for 31 points on 12-of-22 shooting. Barmore went 3-of-7 from three and added five boards and four steals. Backcourt mate Ty'like Evans finished with 21 points and 10 rebounds.

LR was held to just 35.9 percent shooting on the game and 32 percent from long range. The Bears held a 45-43 advantage on the glass and each team finished with 28 points in the paint.

The Bears are now 3-6 all-time in the NCAA Tournament, with two of those wins coming in the 2015-16 season.

The 21 wins matches the highest total in the past 11 years.

In his two games in the Levine Center, Charlotte native Emmanuel Wembi was a perfect 9-for-9 from the field.

The careers for Djibril Diallo, Jon Jean, Thomas, Filip Leskovar and Wembi came to a close with the loss. Leskovar appeared in the NCAA Tournament as both a freshmen and senior. L-R season ends with a record of 21-11.

The Lenoir-Rhyne Men's Tennis Team easily dispatched Lincoln Memorial by a final score of 6-1 on Saturday afternoon at the YMCA of Catawba Valley. The Bears dominated a Railsplitters program that ended the 2017-18 campaign ranked No. 31 in the nation.

"I was really pleased with how our guys played the important points today," said Head Coach Tom Rees. "We had worked on that over the past few practices and today their hard work paid off."

Lincoln Memorial came out of the gates with an early 6-2 win in third doubles but the Bears rebounded with wins in first and second doubles to secure the point. In the second spot, Paul Lenz and Rhodri Atkinson took a 6-3 victory over LMU's second pair and Hamed Gandouz and Shane O'Dea sealed the doubles point with a win in the first line. The preseason All-Conference duo recorded a 6-4 win to improve to 7-3 on the season.

In singles action, Lenoir-Rhyne dominated and won in five of the six spots. Atkinson took a 7-6, 6-1 win in the third line and Lewis Scott earned a straight set victory in the fifth spot. Gandouz iced the LR victory with a 7-6, 6-2 win in the first line to send LR to it's eighth win in it's last nine matches.

The Bears are 11-2 overall and 2-1 in the South Atlantic Conference. L-R will remain at home when they host Catawba on Wednesday at 1 p.m.

A game after the Lenoir-Rhyne Women's Tennis Team saw its seven game winning streak come to an end against No. 15 Queens on Wednesday, the Bears outlasted Lincoln Memorial 4-3 on Saturday afternoon to move to 2-1 in South Atlantic Conference play.

"I'm so proud of our ladies fight tonight," said Head Coach Tom Rees. "We overcame numerous obstacles and never gave up. It was an awesome team win."

The Bears clinched the doubles point with wins at the number two and three spots. Diana Babinets and Gemma Southwick took a 6-3 victory, while Iulia Ponomareva and Emily Murchland grabbed an identical 6-3 win. Lincoln Memorial was able to edge out a 7-6 win in first doubles but LR had the early 1-0 lead.

In singles action, LMU secured a 6-2, 6-2 win in second singles to even the contest but Murchland took a dramatic 6-3, 3-6, 6-2 win in the number six spot to give LR a 2-1 advantage. Southwick also dominated in first singles, winning 6-0 and 6-2. The Railsplitters answered with a victory in fourth singles and then earned a forfeit win in third singles to even the match at three. It all came down to Ally Garofoli in fifth singles and she prevailed 7-6, 7-6 over Kristin Vogel to give the Bears the dramatic 4-3 win.

The Bears are 11-2 overall and 2-1 in South Atlantic Conference action. L-R will remain at home on Wednesday as they host Catawba at 1 p.m.

he bases were loaded when Tyler Leek drilled a ball to deep center field, leading to a rare two-run sacrifice fly.

Just like that, Appalachian State was off and running in a Sun Belt Conference win against Georgia State.

The Mountaineers tied their league-opening series thanks to a 9-3 home victory Saturday afternoon, and the series finale is scheduled for Sunday at 1 p.m. in Jim and Bettie Smith Stadium.

Runs by Dalton Williams and Robbie Young on Leek's flyout gave App State (7-10, 1-1) a second-inning lead, and a three-run fifth stretched the advantage to 6-1 in support to freshman left-hander Tyler Tuthill, who improved to 4-1 by allowing two runs over seven innings.

Batting eighth and ninth, respectively, Andrew Terrell (2-for-3, two-run double) and Leek had three RBIs apiece and combined for three hits. Williams (2-for-2) tied Terrell for the team lead in hits while matching Riley Smith and Young for the team lead with two runs scored.

Terrell also totaled six assists at third base and initiated a 5-3 double play in an error-free game from the Mountaineers, who benefited from Luke Allison's diving stop at second base, Leek's ability to quickly track down balls in left field and Young's clean catch of a bounced throw to first.

Williams' leadoff single in the second inning, followed by one-out walks to Young and Terrell, set the stage for Leek. With Williams and Young tagging up, the center fielder for Georgia State (6-13, 1-1) made a running catch near the wall before brushing against it and delivering a long throw to his shortstop. Surprised by Young's push toward home, the shortstop threw home, which enabled Terrell to move from first to second.

Young's bases-loaded walk in the third inning allowed Smith to score for a 3-1 lead, and the first three App State batters reached in a three-run fifth. Bailey Welch's single and Smith's walk preceded an RBI single from Williams, and Phillip Cole picked up an RBI on an infield error. The lead grew to five runs on Terrell's RBI single to left.

Georgia State's Elian Merejo hit a solo homer in the top of the sixth, but the Mountaineers added three more runs in the seventh. Williams was hit by a pitch to begin the frame, and CJ Brown came on as a pinch-runner after Cole drew a walk. Young's one-out single put runners on first and second for Terrell, who drove in both teammates with a double in which a fielding error allowed him to reach third. He raced home on Leek's infield hit to Georgia State's diving third baseman.

With a 9-2 lead, App State turned to Jack Hartman, who struck out the first two batters he faced in a clean eighth and added his third strikeout in the ninth.

In day one of the LR Southside Power & Fitness, the first outdoor meet of the season, the Lenoir-Rhyne Men's and Women's Track and Field Teams finished with multiple people making their mark in their respective events on Friday.

On the men's side, two NCAA provisional qualifiers separated themselves. Demarius Hampton (14.97-meters, 49'1.5") and Jaquay Mitchell (14.70-meters, 48'2.75") finished first and second in the men's triple jump. Hampton's leap is also good enough to set a new Lenoir-Rhyne school record. Josh Adkins made his mark on the school record book as well, finishing the 1500-meter in 4:01.04 to finish second overall in his event.

Other winners on the men's side include an outright win in the men's 110-meter hurdles for Anthony Brown with a time of 14.90 and Lucas Besong took first place in the men's 400-meter with a time of 49.18.

On the women's side Autumn Drayton took first in the women's hammer throw with a distance of 48.99-meters. Kayonna Lewis tied for first women's triple jump measurement of 10.74-meter while Savannah Watkins made a third-place finish in the women's 400-meter hurdles with a time of 15.12. Former SAC Track Athlete of the Week during the indoor season, Saidah Hardwick, as well as Paiton Fair, finished first and third respectively in the 400-meter dash. Wrapping up the success on the women's side is Kylie Dahlberg who finished in second place in the 1500-meter run with a time 4:54.14.

The Lenoir-Rhyne Baseball Team gave up four home runs and allowed the Railsplitters to score in six of the nine innings, falling in game one of the series on Friday night against Lincoln Memorial in South Atlantic Conference play, 13-4.

LR was able to string together nine hits, but only Hunter Jackson managed multiple base knocks going 2-for-3 on the night. Zack Shoemaker and E.J. Ranel each knocked in two base-runners with their hit on the night, accounting for all four Bears runs in the game.

Nolan Flachofsky got his first start of the season, but took the loss to fall to 5-5 on the year after giving up five earned runs and allowing four free passes via a hit-by-pitch or walk and four hits. Ethan Elliott, the starter for Lincoln Memorial, earned the win improving to 5-2 on the season after allowing just five hits and two runs through 6.0 innings of work in addition to eight strikeouts.

The Railsplitters hit four home runs by four different players, and they were led at the plate by leadoff hitter Seth Hunter (2-for-3, five runs batted in) and shortstop Tyler Adams (2-for-5, three RBIs).

The Bears loss ends their four game winning streak and makes it six wins in a row for LMU.

The difference in the game were free passes. Lenoir-Rhyne allowed nine to LMU and the Bears received a free base just twice in the game.

LR falls to 4-8 at Bears Field so far this season. The Bears are 11-13 overall and 4-6 in South Atlantic Conference play.

Georgia State edged Appalachian State 2-0 in a pitchers' duel Friday between Will Sprinkle and Hunter Gaddis, a Preseason All-American.

In the Sun Belt Conference opener for both teams, the visiting Panthers pushed across single runs in the third and fifth innings against Sprinkle, who battled through seven innings. He allowed two runs on seven hits while stranding eight baserunners, and Kaleb Bowman had two strikeouts in two scoreless innings.

Gaddis struck out 10 batters and allowed four hits in eight innings before Joseph Brandon picked up the save by allowing one hit in a scoreless ninth. According to the @AppStSportsData account, Riley Smith (2-for-3) had an exit velocity of 106 mph on a single over the third baseman's head in that inning.

App State's hits off Gaddis were a first-inning infield single by Alex Leshock (who reached base twice), Bailey Welch's first-inning single that produced one out on runner interference, Smith's leadoff single off the third baseman's glove in the second inning and Luke Drumheller's sharp single to center in the bottom of the eighth inning.

That two-out hit, coupled with a one-out walk to Luke Allison, put the tying run on base against Gaddis. A running catch on a line drive to shallow right field ended the inning and App State's best chance to score.

Georgia State had two runners on with one out in the second inning when Sprinkle induced consecutive groundouts, and a leadoff single in the third inning came around to score thanks to a stolen base, sacrifice bunt and RBI groundout from Jake Corso.

After a perfect fourth inning from Sprinkle, Luke Leonard doubled to begin the fifth and advanced on a sacrifice bunt. He scored on an RBI single from Griffin Cheney.

The Panthers (6-12, 1-0) were held scoreless in the sixth even though a single, error and sacrifice bunt put two runners in scoring position with one away. Allison's defense on a slow chopper in front of third and a pop-up to Welch at second erased that threat.

Allison made several strong plays at third base for the Mountaineers (6-10, 0-1), and Bowman alertly got an out on a body-smashing comebacker to the mound with an exit velocity of 102 mph.

Sunday, 17 March 2019 22:25

App State Men's Tennis Falls in Home Opener

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Appalachian State University men's tennis (4-10) dropped its home opener to Southern Miss (5-5) in a 4-0 setback at Deer Valley Racquet Club.

Zion Heaven and Ben Webster won the first doubles match 6-2, but Southern Miss rallied in the other two matches to secure a 1-0 advantage. The Golden Eagles' No. 3 pairing clinched the point after holding off App State's Alex Brea and Campbell Stone in a tiebreaker, 7-6 (14-12).

In singles, Webster jumped out to a set advantage, but Southern Miss's Chung-Han Tsai rebounded for a 4-6, 6-2, 6-2 victory. Alex Pavkovich's match also went three sets. After a first-set defeat, the junior battled back to blank his opponent 6-0 in the second set.

Milo Bargeron's match was decided in straight sets, 7-5, 6-4.

Singles
1. Ronit Bisht (USM) def. Milo Bargeron (APP) 7-5, 6-4
2. Jorman Reyes (USM) def. Alex Pavkovich (APP) 6-2, 0-6, 7-5
3. Chung-Han Tsai (USM) def. Ben Webster (APP) 4-6, 6-2, 6-2
4. Zion Heaven (APP) vs. Matthieu Peres (USM), unfinished
5. Afonso Viana (APP) vs. Panji Setiawan (USM), unfinished
6. Campbell Stone (APP) vs. Mieszko Kwasniewski (USM), unfinished

Doubles
1. Bisht/Reyes (USM) def. Bargeron/Pavkovich (APP) 6-4
2. Heaven/Webster (APP) def. Tsai/ Kwasniewski (USM) 6-2
3. Youssef Tamimount/Peres (USM) def. Alex Brea/Stone (APP) 7-6 (14-12)

Appalachian State Director of Athletics Doug Gillin announced Friday that head men’s basketball coach Jim Fox has been released from his contract following his fifth season at the helm of the Mountaineers’ program.

“I want to thank Jim and his staff for all they have done for our basketball program,” Gillin said. “Jim inherited a challenging situation, worked hard and has brought in high-character student-athletes. Our vision for basketball is to annually compete for a conference championship and a berth in the NCAA Tournament. We will conduct a national search to find the best leader to accomplish that vision. There is significant opportunity to achieve basketball success here at Appalachian.”

In Fox’s five seasons, he led the Mountaineers to an overall record of 56-99 and a 35-59 mark in Sun Belt games, highlighted by earning the No. 5 seed in the 2018 league tournament and capturing the program’s lone Sun Belt tourney win, a 93-64 first-round defeat of Little Rock.

App State begins a national search immediately to find the program’s next head men’s basketball coach. Gillin said there is no specific timeline for the hiring process.

Associate head coach Jason Allison will serve as the interim head coach during the transition.

Appalachian State University women's basketball (18-14) fell to Little Rock (20-10), 80-64, on Friday afternoon in the Sun Belt Semifinals at Lakefront Arena in New Orleans.

App State will wait to hear the possibility of a postseason tournament with the Women's National Invitational Tournament (WNIT) and Women's Basketball Invitational (WBI) being the two possibilities.

The Mountaineers were neck-and-neck with the regular season conference champions, but a dry spell in the fourth quarter and 26 second-chance points off 15 offensive rebounds from Little Rock doomed the Black and Gold.

Four players scored in double figures with Pre Stanley (Rockledge, Fla./Rockledge) pouring in a game-high 17 points on 5-of-12 shooting from the floor. Lainey Gosnell (Demorest, Ga./Habersham Central) poured in 14 points with four of her five shots coming from behind the arc. Bayley Plummer (Thomasville, N.C./East Davidson) shot 5-of-5 from the field en route to 12 points and grabbed seven rebounds. Madi Story (Maiden, N.C./Bandys) tallied 10 points and dished out four assists, while Ashley Polacek (Ottawa, Canada/UCF) rounded out the leading scorers with nine points on top of a team-best five helpers.

The Mountaineers shot a season-high 51 percent from the field and was 8-for-20 from 3-point range against the top defensive team in the Sun Belt. It's just the third time an opponent has shot at least 50 percent against the Trojans.

App State got off to a slow start with the Trojans jumping out to an 8-2 lead in the first 3:48 contest. After a 30-second timeout, Gosnell hit a trifecta before Stanley canned two at the line to bring the deficit to one, 8-7. LR cushioned its advantage to five points, 20-15. However, Stanley ended the period with four straight points to dwindle the gap to just one, 20-19.

A bucket from Tierra Wilson (Winston-Salem, N.C./RJ Reynolds) and a layup from Plummer on back-to-back possessions gave Appalachian its only lead of the game, 23-22. LR retook the lead but the Mountaineers stayed on their heels for the rest of the half. After the Trojans went up 34-28, App five of the final seven points with the help of a Story field goal and another trey from Gosnell to bring the score to 36-33 at the half. Both offenses displayed solid execution with LR shooting 54% and App State posting a 51 percent shooting clip. The Mountaineers shot 55 percent in the second period.

Both teams traded a pair of baskets in the early goings of the second half. Little Rock went up by as much as eight, 53-45, with 2:41 left in the third quarter. Went it looked like LR was about to pull away, the Black and Gold put together an 8-2 surge after Story hit a 3-pointer to spark the burst. Stanley followed up with a jumper before Gosnell tied up the game with a 3-pointer. LR scored on the final possession to go into the fourth quarter up, 57-55.

The Mountaineers closed it to 59-58 after Story went 1-of-2 from the line. However, LR forced App to go scoreless over the next 2:54 while scoring the next six points to go up, 65-68. Appalachian came to within six points, 67-61 after Story reached double figures. The Trojans pulled away as Appalachian went cold on offense for the next 3:04, which led to LR going up by double digits and sealing the win.

Kyra Collier (25 points), Ronjanae DeGray (19 points) and Raeyana DeGray (17 points) did the damage for the Trojans.

Despite the loss, Appalachian won two Sun Belt Tournament games and advanced to the semifinals for the first time since joining the league. The 10-win turnaround this season is the highest win improvement in the conference and the 18 wins are the most since the 2012-13 season. The Mountaineers finish the season winning six of their final eight games, playing their best basketball down the stretch.

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