BUIES CREEK, N.C. (Jan. 9, 2007) - The ETSU men's basketball team shot 68 percent from the field in the second half, taking a 45-30 game at halftime and cruising to a 100-76 win over Atlantic Sun Conference rival Campbell Tuesday night inside a sold out Carter Gymnasium.
The Buccaneers (11-7 overall, 5-1) had five players score in double figures, led by a game-high 24 points from sophomore guard Courtney Pigram (Memphis), who hit on 6-of-8 from 3-point range and added a career high eight assists. In addition to the solid offensive effort, Campbell (7-7, 2-2) entered the game with the A-Sun's top scoring offense and was averaging 97.5 points a game on its home floor, but on this night, ETSU's defense held the Camels to just 37 percent shooting.
"Coming into this gym can be scary and we're fortunate to get the win," said ETSU head coach Murry Bartow, whose team reached the century mark for the first time this season. "The last 10 minutes of the first half we really played well and that helped us going into the second half. Campbell is very improved and they've been playing good basketball. They can score a lot of points and holding them to just 30 points in the first half was big."
Along with Pigram's 24-point effort, senior forward Brad Nuckles (Council, Va.) posted his 10th career double-double with 22 points and 13 rebounds, freshman guard Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.) added 14 points, and forwards Andrew Reed (Port Richey, Fla.) and Eryk Thomas (Fremont, Calif.) netted 12 apiece. Helping lead to those strong offensive numbers was freshman guard Dequan Twilley (Shelbyville), who finished with a career high 10 assists.
It was a game of offensive spurts for both teams in the first half. The Bucs took the early lead and built a 17-7 advantage with 11:04 remaining before the intermission, thanks mainly to the 3-point shooting of Pigram and Smith, who combined for six long-range bombs before the break. However, Campbell answered with a run of its own at that point, outscoring the Bucs 16-2 over the next five minutes to lead 23-19 with 6:53 remaining.
The Camels still led at 27-26 with 4:40 left, but then the Bucs got more 3-point marksmanship from Pigram, Smith and junior forward Kenyona Swader (Smyrna) to power a 19-3 run and close out the half with a 45-30 lead. The Bucs shot 64 percent from 3-point range in the first half and forced 12 turnovers by the Camels. ETSU also enjoyed a strong rebounding half, taking 22 boards to 20 for Campbell.
The Bucs opened the second half shooting well again, hitting on 9-of-12 from the field at one point and building their lead to 28 at 69-41 with 11:54 remaining in the game. While the Camels managed to trade baskets with the Bucs the rest of the way, ETSU emptied its bench in the final minutes and finished with the 24-point victory.
ETSU enjoyed season highs for points (100), assists (31), field goals (37) and field goal percentage (56.9), out-rebounding Campbell 41-37 and forcing 21 Camel turnovers. ETSU finished with a 56 percent clip from 3-point range (9-of-16) and was 71 percent from the foul line (17-of-24).
Campbell was led by 15 points from Jonathan Rodriguez, while Stephon Griffin added 10.
The Bucs return to Johnson City for a three-game home stand beginning Saturday afternoon at 4 p.m. against North Florida. Jacksonville will follow on Monday, Jan. 15 at 7 p.m., and Kennesaw State invades Memorial Center on Jan. 19 for a regionally televised CSS tilt at 7:30 p.m.
For more on ETSU basketball, visit ETSUBucs.com.