JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Dec. 21, 2009) - Trailing by five at 27-22 with 6:39 left in the first half, the ETSU men's basketball was able to find its stride offensively and ultimately outscored Jacksonville by 28 points the rest of the game, winning 93-70 Monday evening in a key early season Atlantic Sun Conference matchup at the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center.
A crowd of 3,271 looked on as four ETSU players scored in double figures, while junior forward Tommy Hubbard (Boston) posted his seventh double-double of the season with 15 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Buccaneers' attack. The Bucs - who will not play again until a Jan. 4 road trip to USC Upstate - enter the Christmas break with a perfect 2-0 A-Sun record and 6-7 overall mark. Meanwhile, Jacksonville - the preseason league favorite - falls to 1-7, 0-2.
"That was a great performance from our team," said ETSU head coach Murry Bartow, whose team defeated Jacksonville 85-68 in last season's A-Sun Tournament final. "Jacksonville was the preseason pick in our league, so to come out here and have our players respond like this was nice to see.
"What more can you say about Tommy (Hubbard) and what he does for us - and then to have other guys continue to step up like Micah (Williams), Justin (Tubbs) and Jarvis (Jones) - that's the type of performances we need from our guys as we head into the league."
While Hubbard finished with yet another double-double, junior guard Micah Williams (Manchester) pitched in a team high 17 points, junior guard Justin Tubbs (Trussville, Ala.) tossed in 16, and sophomore guard Jarvis Jones (Memphis) added 14 in the winning effort. Meanwhile, freshman point guard Bruce Grimm (Rochester, Ind.) made just his second career start and responded with six points, six assists and four steals, while turning the ball over just twice.
For Jacksonville, A-Sun preseason player of the year Ben Smith finished with a game high 32 points, while Travis Cohn netted 15.
Early on, this meeting of regular A-Sun contenders and a rematch of the 2009 league tournament title game looked liked the battle that was expected. Both teams traded the lead in the opening 14 minutes and the Dolphins even pushed out to their largest advantage of the contest at 27-22. However, the Bucs answered that charge by outscoring JU 19-5 to close out the half and lead 41-32 at the break.
After the intermission, the Bucs kept the pressure on and never let up, outscoring the Dolphins 25-12 over the first 10 minutes of the second half, and ultimately holding a lead of as many as 35 at 93-58 with 2:32 left.
ETSU shot 56 percent from the floor and an impressive 48 percent from 3-point range, outrebounded JU 43-24 and forcing 18 Dolphin turnovers on 11 steals. The Bucs outscored the Dolphins 29-8 on second chance points, and also held a 28-14 edge in the paint.
Meanwhile, the ETSU defense held the Dolphins to 39 percent shooting from the floor, but Jacksonville did manage strong numbers from beyond the arc (48 percent) and at the foul line (78 percent).
The Bucs will now enjoy a 14-day break before returning to action Monday, Jan. 4 on the road at USC Upstate. ETSU will not return home until a Jan. 14 meeting with Stetson inside the Mini-Dome. For more on ETSU men's basketball throughout the season, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the men's basketball link.