ASHEVILLE, N.C. (Dec. 3, 2003) - Senior forward Jerald Fields (Gainesville, Fla.) scored 28 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, while fellow senior Zakee Wadood (Lonoke, Ark.) added 23 points and six steals to lead defending Southern Conference champion East Tennessee State to a 78-56 victory over homestanding UNC Asheville Wednesday night at the Justice Center.
Both Fields and Wadood set career highs for field goals made and attempted. Fields tied his previous high with a 12-for-18 effort from the field, while Wadood set new personal bests with an 11-of-19 showing from the floor. In addition, sophomore guard Tim Smith (Newport News, Va.) finished with a career-high 10 assists.
The Bulldogs were led by Oliver Holmes with 11 points, while Joseph Barber added 10 points. Freshman center C.J. Walker tied a school record for blocked shots with eight.
The Bucs broke open a close game right before the end of the first half. The Bucs led 32-30 with 1:00 to go in the half but scored six points in the final 50 seconds to grab a 38-30 halftime lead.
In the second half, East Tennessee State (4-1) pushed the lead to 17 at 58-41 on a dunk from Wadood with 11:54 left. The Bulldogs (1-4) fought back and cut the lead to 59-49 on trey from Oliver Holmes with 10:22 remaining.
However, UNCA went ice cold from the field the rest of the game as ETSU quickly went on a 10-0 run to lead 69-49 as the Bucs cruised to their third straight victory. The Bulldogs only scored seven points in the final 10 minutes of the game. Asheville was just 9-of-30 from the field for 30 percent in the second half.
ETSU also dominated the boards in the second half. The Bulldogs had a 23-19 edge in the first half but the Bucs changed that in the second half as they outrebounded Asheville, 27-12.
East Tennessee State started out the game with a 6-0 run off two steals and dunks and maintained a six to seven-point lead for the first 10 minutes of the half. UNCA rallied and took the lead at the 7:49 mark on a tip-in from Bryan McCullough. The lead changed hands five more times as the Bucs led 32-30 with 54 seconds left in the half.
The Bucs will return to action Saturday at 2 p.m. in Memorial Center, when they open Southern Conference play on their home floor against Georgia Southern.