OXFORD, Miss. (Dec. 18, 2010) - A 13-0 run to open the game and another 9-0 offensive burst at the end of the first half were the difference Saturday afternoon inside the Tad Smith Coliseum, as the Ole Miss Rebels dropped the ETSU Buccaneers 71-50 in non-conference basketball action.
The Buccaneers, who dropped to 4-5 on the season, will return to Johnson City and prepare to leave for Cancun, Mexico, on Monday, where they will compete Dec. 22-24 in the Cancun Governor's Cup. ETSU could face Ole Miss (7-2) again next week in Mexico, as the Rebels will also be playing in the same event.
"We had it to five and were in pretty good position, but the last four minutes really hurt us in the first half," said ETSU head coach Murry Bartow. "Our offense obviously wasn't good, and it's a work in progress, but we can't overreact. Of our remaining 23 games, this was going to be our toughest test and we knew that. We just didn't play well enough."
The game started poorly for the Bucs, as the Rebels hit three of their first five 3-point attempts and opened the game with a 13-0 run over the first eight minutes. Meanwhile, in that same time frame, the Bucs were dismal, going 0-of-8 from the field and committing six turnovers.
ETSU woke up in a big way though, as senior guard Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.) finally got the Bucs on the board with a three-point play at the 12:21 mark, and that sparked an 8-0 run to make it 13-8 with just over 12 minutes left before the break. The Bucs got to within five points on three different occasions in the half and trailed just 31-26 after back-to-back 3-pointers from senior guard Justin Tubbs (Trussville, Ala.). However, at that point the Rebels closed the first half with their 9-0 run to make it 40-26 at the break.
In the first half, the Bucs shot just 36 percent from the floor and committed 12 turnovers compared to four turnovers for Ole Miss. While the Bucs outrebounded the Rebels 21-15 in the first half, the turnovers by ETSU allowed Ole Miss to take eight more shots from the floor.
The Bucs' offense opened the second half poorly once again, scoring just eight points over the first eight minutes and allowing the Rebels to build their lead to as many as 21 points. ETSU never got closer than 14 after the break.
For the game, the Bucs were led offensively by Smith, who finished with 18 points, while junior forward Isiah Brown (Miami, Fla.) finished with 12. ETSU shot just 31 percent from the floor and committed 20 turnovers on the night.
While they outrebounded the Rebels 40-35, Ole Miss took 12 more shots on the night and hit on 49 percent from the floor and 32 percent from beyond the arc.
Ole Miss got a game-high 22 points from Chris Warren, while Reginald Buckner scored 16 and Zach Graham added 14.
Buc Bits: With the loss, the Bucs dropped to 5-8 all-time against the Rebels … Senior forward Tommy Hubbard (Boston) missed his second straight game, and is not expected to play again until after the Cancun Governor's Cup. There is an increasing chance that Hubbard will not play again this year and will request a medical redshirt from the NCAA.