JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Nov. 26, 2009) - Junior guard Justin Tubbs (Trussville, Ala.) scored a career high 29 points and the ETSU men's basketball team held off a late College of Charleston rally to drop the Cougars 77-71 in non-conference play Wednesday night inside Memorial Center.
A crowd of 3,105 looked on as the Bucs led by as many as 12 points multiple times during the game, but the Cougars used a 9-2 run late in the second half to pull within three points at 68-65 with 3:09 left in the regulation. However, from there the Bucs hit enough free throws to hold off their former Southern Conference rival, a team that is picked to win the SoCon this season.
"That is a really good win for us," said ETSU head coach Murry Bartow, whose team shot 48 percent from the field and improved to 2-3 on the year. "That's a team that's picked to win their league, and to hold them to 39 percent shooting and out-rebounding them 47-33 was huge. We got a lot of great individual efforts tonight. What can you say about Justin (Tubbs) and his offensive numbers, and Tommy Hubbard (Boston) and J.C. Ward (Marietta, Ga.) just gave us great energy."
The Bucs did dominate the glass and hold the Cougars' shooting attack in check. Meanwhile, along with Tubbs' scoring ETSU got a double-double from Hubbard with 13 points and 11 rebounds, while Ward provided 11 points and five boards in just 21 minutes of action.
Statistically, the Bucs only turned the ball over just 10 times in the game and committed just nine fouls in 40 minutes of action. ETSU improved somewhat at the foul line hitting 63 percent (15-of-24) from the line, and held the Cougars to a 26 percent clip from 3-point range.
In the first half, ETSU blitzed to a 7-0 lead behind Tubbs' pure shooting stroke and built that advantage to as many as 12 at 36-24 with just over a minute left before the break. Tubbs ultimately finished with 20 points in the first half and ETSU led 40-30 at the break.
The second half saw the Cougars cut the lead to 46-40 on a 3-pointer by Andrew Goudelock with 13:26 left in regulation, but the Bucs once again pulled away to make it 66-56 with just under six minutes left. However, the Charleston fullcourt press confused the Bucs from there on out, allowing CofC to rally and pull to within three at 68-65. ETSU withstood the charge though, outscoring Charleston 9-6 the rest of the way.
Charleston - the preseason favorite in the SoCon - got a team high 23 from Goudelock, while Jeremy Simmons and Casaan Breeden added 18 and 15 points, respectively.
The Bucs return to action Friday at 8 p.m. (EST) on the road at Arkansas. The game will air live locally on WJHL-TV 11 Connects. For more on ETSU men's hoops, visit ETSUBucs.com.