HONOLULU (Dec. 29, 2003) - The East Tennessee State University men's basketball team rebounded from a first round loss in the Rainbow Classic, downing Lamar 75-62 in the consolation bracket of the tournament Monday at the Stan Sheriff Center on the campus of the University of Hawaii.
The Buccaneers, who got a game-high 18 points from senior forward Jerald Fields (Gainesville, Fla.) and 16 points from sophomore guard Tim Smith (Newport News, Va.), withstood an early offensive run in the second half to pick up the victory. With the win, the Bucs (8-3) are off to their best start since the 1990-91 season.
"That's a good win," said ETSU head coach Murry Bartow, whose team suffered an emotional 85-81 loss to IUPUI on Saturday. "Any time you lose a game like the one the other night and can win it's huge. It was kind of like the Tennessee Tech game, when we came off the tough loss at Clemson to bounce back and win."
ETSU built a lead of as many as 13 points at 27-14 with 7:51 left in the first half, and led 37-25 at the intermission. Senior forward Zakee Wadood (Lonoke, Ark.) was listed as doubtful for the game with a right ankle injury, but was able to start the game and played 23 minutes.
In the second half, Lamar (6-5) surged to within three points thanks to a jumper by Terrell Petteway with 15:24 left in the game. However, after the play, Petteway punched ETSU's Brad Nuckles (Council, Va.) from behind and was whistled with a technical foul - his fifth foul of the game. The play sent Lamar's best offensive big man to the bench and the Bucs went on a 16-2 run to put the game out of reach at 62-45 with 8:46 left in the game.
Along with Fields and Smith, Nuckles finished with 12 points and sophomore guard Ben Rhoda (Dayton, Ohio) added 11. Freshman guard Aaron Scott (Houma, La.) was also solid in helping spell Wadood, adding four points and a season-high four steals.
"I thought Brad was really big off the bench and Aaron Scott played well, too," Bartow said. "Both those guys gave us valuable minutes with Zakee out."
The Bucs move on to the consolation championship game on Tuesday, where they will face the winner of Bowling Green-American. The game is scheduled to tip at 6:30 p.m. (EST).