Lexington, Va. (January 30, 2002) - Jerald Fields (Gainesville, Fla.) scored a career-high 27 points and Zakee Wadood (Lonoke, Ark.) added 22 points, a career-high 17 rebounds and four steals to lead East Tennessee State to a 96-77 thrashing of VMI Wednesday night at Cameron Hall. The Bucs earned a season sweep of the two-game series and have claimed seven straight in the rivalry. It was also the first SoCon road win of the season in five tries for ETSU.
Redshirt freshman Jason Conley scored 38 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to lead the Keydets, but was VMI's lone scorer in double figures. Conley matched his career-high of 38 points against Villanova on December 22 and logged his seventh double-double of the season, tying him with Wadood, who now has three consecutive double-doubles, for the most in the Southern Conference this year.
East Tennessee State led throughout with the exception of a trio of one-point leads by VMI in the first two minutes of the game. ETSU reeled off a 28-4 run over a seven-minute stretch late in the first half and amassed a 30-point lead, their largest of the game, when James Anthony (Brandon, Fla.) hit a layup with 5:32 left to put the Bucs up, 49-19. ETSU shot 58.5% in the first half while the Keydets shot only 29.4 % on 10 of 34 shooting.
VMI clawed back to a 54-36 halftime deficit and sliced the Buc lead to 13 points, 54-42, on a Conley jumper, but the Bucs pushed the lead back to 20 points on a 14-4 run keyed by six points from Fields. The Keydets never threatened the rest of the way.
ETSU (11-9, 4-5) forced VMI into 21 turnovers, had 18 steals and held a 44-41 edge on the boards.
VMI (7-13, 2-7) shot 40% from the floor for the game. Conley connected on 14 of 28 shots, but the rest of the squad was a combined 14 of 42 from the floor. ETSU, on the other hand, shot .521 from the field, getting five players over the 50 percent mark on the evening.
Ryan Lawson (Rogersville, Tenn.) scored 11 points and added four assists and three steals, while Michael Tolliver (Bremo Bluff, Va.) had 10 points for the Bucs, who have won two of their last three.
East Tennessee will host Georgia Southern Saturday in Johnson City. Tipoff is 4:00 p.m.