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Co-MVP Minter leads ASU to title

Staff report

Donte Minter amassed 29 points in his final high school game and accepted the MVP plaque after leading West Rowan to the 3A state title.

He turned in another award-winning performance Thursday.

Minter scored a career-high 27 points and collected seven rebounds in 23 minutes to lead Appalachian State to an 87-79 overtime win against Vanderbilt in the championship game of the San Juan Shootout.

Minter, who was named co-MVP along with guard D.J. Thompson, totalled 50 points in three tournament victories. Minter fouled out in seven scoreless minutes of ASU’s last game before the trip to Puerto Rico, but the Mountaineers (10-3) are 5-0 since he regained his eligibility on Dec. 14.

“Anybody that would question him or anything that he’s going to bring to our program is an absolute buffoon,” head coach Houston Fancher said during the ASN postgame radio show. “He’s going to be one of the best low-post players that’s ever put our uniform on. We’re going to be patient with him, and today he came through for us in a major, big-time way.”

ASU beat Virginia (ACC), Central Florida (Conference USA) and Vanderbilt (SEC) to win its first regular-season tournament since 1988.

“Our football team won the national championship,” Thompson said on the postgame show, “but hopefully everybody will know we have a basketball team now.”

Minter made his first six shots against the Commodores, and he finished 11-for-14 from the field.

Overtime started with the score even at 71-all, and Minter had five of ASU’s first six points in the extra session.

“I scored a couple of baskets and got going, and I just felt good for the rest of the game,” Minter said on the postgame show. “My teammates helped me out a whole lot. They came through with everything as far as penetration, and I just tried to attack the offensive boards when I got the chance.”

Former Central Cabarrus star Nathan Cranford joined Thompson and Minter on the all-tournament team, and the Mountaineers won the final game before their Christmas break for the first time since 1998.

“We just came ready to play the whole week,” Minter said on the postgame show. “We had great team chemistry from the time we got on the plane to the time we got down here.”

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