Appalachian State Duo Lifts Mountaineers Past VU For San Juan Shootout Title

First Place: Appalachian State
Second Place: Vanderbilt
Third Place: Central Florida

Tuesday, December 19
Vanderbilt 102 UPR-Mayaguez 59
Tennessee Tech 66 Northwestern 65
Central Florida 67 Utah 61
Appalachian State 80 Virginia 69

Wednesday, December 20
Northwestern 62 UPR-Mayaguez 55
Utah 94 Virginia 70
Vanderbilt 75 Tennessee Tech 62
Appalachian State 75 Central Florida 64

Thursday, December 21
Virginia 59 UPR-Mayaguez 52 (7th)
Northwestern 77 Utah 44 (5th)
Central Florida 73 Tenn. Tech 66 (3rd)
Appalachian St. 87 VU 79 (OT) (1st)

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – Donte Minter and D.J. Thompson combined for 42 points, including 12 in overtime, to carry Appalachian State (10-3) to an 87-79 victory in the championship game of the San Juan Shootout at Mario Morales Coliseum on Thursday.

Minter showed his strength inside making 11 of 17 field goal attempts while posting a game-high 27 points to go along with seven rebounds. Thompson played well at the point producing 15 points, seven rebounds and a game-high nine assists.

Four players scored in double figures for Vanderbilt (8-4) which saw its seven-game win streak snapped. Derrick Byars scored 13 of his 19 points in the first half and Ross Neltner tallied 11 of his 16 prior to halftime. Dan Cage scored 14 while Shan Foster had 12.

“They had two guys that exposed our weaknesses,” Vanderbilt head coach Kevin Stallings said. “Ted Skuchas got into foul trouble and he was our best post defender against Minter.”

Skuchas picked up three fouls inside the final seven minutes of the first half and was whistled for his fourth with 13:18 left in regulation.

“We’ve been playing pretty good basketball recently,” Stallings said. “But it just seemed we weren’t on our game today. We seemed to always be a playing short-handed. We’re disappointed in the loss, but you have to give credit to Appalachian State. They are a very good basketball team.”

The tournament’s co-most valuable players scored Appalachian State’s first eight points in the extra period as the Mountaineers never trailed in overtime. ASU hit 8-of-9 free throw attempts in overtime to seal the win.

The contest was a battle throughout with 10 ties and 10 lead changes. Neither team led by more than seven points until the final seconds of overtime when the Mountaineers put the game away at the foul line.

Minter scored on consecutive possessions to give the Mountaineers a 34-27 lead with 4:16 in the first half. But Neltner answered, scoring on three consecutive trips, including his last which ended with a 3-pointer to give Vanderbilt a 37-36 lead at 1:41 before the half. A basket and foul shot by Byars gave Vanderbilt a 40-38 advantage at intermission.

The Commodores built their biggest lead of the game just after halftime on consecutive 3-pointers from Cage and Neltner to give Vanderbilt a 48-42 lead at 15:49. Vanderbilt’s lead never grew to more than four points the rest of the game.

The Mountaineers grabbed a 63-59 lead at 4:32 after back-to-back baskets by Minter.

However, Vanderbilt clawed back, hitting four clutch 3-pointers, including two from Alex Gordon to force overtime. Gordon had an opportunity to win the game at the end of regulation, but missed a 25-footer at the buzzer.

Cage and Byars were selected to the San Juan Shootout All-Tournament team.

Vanderbilt returns home to play host to Alabama A&M Friday, Dec. 29 at 7 p.m. CT.