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What a way to lose a game

Gold is goodFans at the App State-Niagara game Saturday witnessed 21 lead changes, five in the final minute. And, befitting such a setup, the ending was phenominal.

With less than five seconds left, the Eagles had the ball out of bounds down by two. The Jones Arena crowd was deafening.

The ball was thrown in. The ball came loose! Richter scales went off! Clock almost out! Shrieks all around!

An Eagle got the ball! A heave from 25 feet! Buzzer! The ball is in the air. Then .. then … then …

… justlikethat, the room became a vacuum. Eagles flocked all over the court celebrating, jubilating and gyrating. App State stood deflated.

Swish. Three points. Game.

Stanely Hodge canned a buzzer-beating three-pointer to propel the Purple Eagles to a 76-75 triumph over Appalachian State before 2,103 in the Holmes Center.

Niagara coach Joe Mihalich drew up a play to give Fisher the final shot. ASU’s Eduardo Bermudez knocked the ball away from Fisher but it rolled right to Hodge, who calmly sank the 25-footer to stun Appalachian — whose football program earned national attention after winning in shocking fashion last September at Michigan.

“We tried to get it to Charron, but the ball just happened to tip out to me,” said Hodge, who finished with 18 points and nailed 3 of 5 three-pointers. “When it left my hands, I knew it was good.”

Box score here. Journal report here.

The game was billed as an ESPN Your Ad Here Bracketbuster SelfEsteemBooster and, from a certain perspective, the Apps should get a nice mental boost. Consider-

– Jeremy Clayton got his LeBron on with 17 points, 12 rebounds and 5 blocks
– Ryann Abraham is hot, scoring 18 thanks to 4-of-6 treys
– Donte Minter remains a force with 17 points on 7-of-12 shooting
– App State shot 55 percent while holding Niagara to 38 percent shooting

There’s also plenty of fuel for pessimism.

– Donald Sims struggled, finished with 8 points
– There were 22 turnovers
– App State is denied a 20-win regular season
– This was the third loss in four games
– App State is 2-5 against the RPI’s top 100

Two games remain before the SoCon tourney. The Apps are at mighty, mighty Davidson Wednesday at 7, then welcome the ‘Whee to town Saturday.

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