Rebounding, long-range shooting lift Wildcats to 88-65 win
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 12, 2010) - ETSU junior forward Isiah Brown (Miami, Fla.) scored a career high 25 points and picked up a double-double thanks to 14 rebounds, but the Kentucky Wildcats hit 12 3-pointers on the night and out-rebounded the Buccaneers 51-33 en route to an 88-65 victory during the regular season opener for both teams Friday evening inside a sold out Rupp Arena.
The Buccaneers, who pulled to within 10 points early in the second half, were done in by Kentucky's response - a 15-0 run that featured 10 straight points from Kentucky forward Terrence Jones. The freshman from Portland, Ore., finished with a game-high 25 points and the Wildcats never looked back.
"We knew what we were up against tonight, so we're not going to panic," said ETSU head coach Murry Bartow, whose team is coming off back-to-back trips to the NCAA Tournament. "We have a very difficult schedule to start the season, and what we have to continue to do is work and get better. I think Isiah was a big positive for us tonight and I liked what I see out of him."
Kentucky finished the game shooting 48.5 percent from the field, but an even more impressive 50 percent from the 3-point line (13-of-26). Meanwhile, the Bucs had no answers in the paint as Kentucky had 19 offensive boards compared to just seven for ETSU.
The Bucs also got double-figure scoring from senior Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.) with 15 points, while sophomore guard Sheldon Cooley (Tampa) had 13. For Kentucky, the freshman trio of Jones, Brandon Knight and Doron Lamb led the way. Lamb finished with 20 points, while Knight added 17 and junior guard DeAndre Liggins had 14.
The Wildcats' 3-point shooting and offensive rebounding was the story in the first half. Even though the Bucs shot an impressive 50 percent from the field and put up a respectable 35 points before the break, the Wildcats answered those efforts with a 10-of-17 (59 percent) clip from 3-point range and had 10 offensive rebounds compared to just one for the Bucs.
Brown's efforts powered the Bucs throughout the first half, as he scored a team-high 17 that included a layup with 14:57 left on the clock that gave ETSU a brief 9-8 advantage. However, over the next five minutes the Wildcats hit five 3-pointers to outscore the Bucs 23-10 and lead 31-19 with nine minutes left. Both teams traded baskets the rest of the way and UK led 50-35 at the break.
In the second half, the Bucs cut the lead to 10 thanks to another bucket by Brown and a 3-pointer from Smith, but yet again the 'Cats answered. Terrence Jones scored 10 straight and powered a 15-0 Kentucky run to make it 68-42 with just over 13 minutes left in the game.
The Bucs never got closer than 18 points the rest of the way, when a Smith 3-pointer made it 78-60 with 4:36 left in the game.
ETSU will now regroup before returning to Kentucky to take on Murray State Monday evening at 8 p.m. For more on ETSU men's basketball, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the men's basketball link.