Johnson City, Tenn. - East Tennessee State's men's basketball team got its 2001-02 season off to a solid start with a 91-61 win over Guilford in front of 1,847 fans in Brooks Gym tonight. Four Bucs reached double figures in the contest, led by freshman Tiras Wade's (Tampa, Fla.) 18-point effort.
Both teams were tentative at the start in their first game of the season. No team could gain more than a five-point lead during the first 10 minutes of action.
After a three-pointer by Guilford's Paul Kindem gave the Quakers a 20-19 lead at the 11:06 mark, ETSU went on an 8-0 run highlighted by treys from Wade and Dimeco Childress (Columbia, Tenn.) to retake the lead, one that it would not surrender the rest of the evening.
Guilford drew within two on another Kindem three-pointer, but Childress answered by scoring the Bucs next six points and ETSU coasted into the locker room at the half with a 44-37 lead.
East Tennessee State used its defense in the second half to put the clamps on Guliford, holding the Quakers to just 31 percent shooting. Riding the strong defensive effort, ETSU gradually extended its lead from the start of the second half, building to 18 on a Jerald Fields (Gainsville, Fla.) layup with 11:19 to play. Guilford could not get any closer than 11 points the rest of the way as the Bucs came home with the win.
ETSU outshot Guilford, hitting 48 percent of its shots to 39 percent for the Quakers. Wade and Cliff Decoster (Miramar, Fla.) each hit 6-of-10 shots to lead the Bucs shooting effort. Wade finished with 18 points and five rebounds in his collegiate debut. Fields had his first career double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds. He also tied a school record with six blocked shots, tying the mark set by Greg Dennis against Western Carolina on Feb. 17, 1992.
Other double figure performers for the Bucs were Decoster with 13 and Childress with 11. Decoster added six assists with Childress chipping in with five. Jevon Clarke led Guilford with a career-high 20 points, with Josh Connor and Kindem adding 12 and 11 respectively.
East Tennessee State will now embark on a five-game road swing, beginning with a contest at No. 11 Virginia on Sunday, Nov. 18 at 2:00 p.m.