JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Jan. 10, 2011) - By producing a 19-0 offensive run midway through the first half and holding Stetson to just 42 points for the game, the ETSU men's basketball team picked up its sixth straight victory with a 62-42 Atlantic Sun Conference win over the Hatters Monday evening inside the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center.
The 42 points allowed matched the 2000-01 Buccaneers, who held Lynchburg to just 42 in a 65-42 victory 10 years ago. Against Division I opponents, it was the lowest point total for an ETSU opponent since 1997-98, when Coastal Carolina scored just 41 against the Bucs.
On the offensive end, senior guards Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.) and Micah Williams (Manchester) were the difference, posting 23 and 19 points, respectively. With the win, ETSU improved to 10-7 overall, 5-1 in league play, while Stetson dropped to 5-11, 3-3.
"We were very concerned about this game," said ETSU head coach Murry Bartow. "Stetson had just beaten Upstate on the road and Lipscomb at home. Defensively we stepped up and played well. We just have to give our guys the credit for that."
The Bucs initially got off to a slow start, as the Hatters for the third straight year attempted to slow the game down and get ETSU out of its running and gunning style. It worked until the 8:19 mark, when Stetson went up by three at 14-11 thanks to a pair of free throws from Aaron Graham.
At that point, the Bucs manufactured a 19-0 offensive run and built a lead of 30-14. During that stretch, ETSU held the Hatters scoreless until a 3-pointer from Aaron Graham with 30 seconds left in the half made it 30-17. The 17 points for Stetson in the first half matched the lowest point total of the season for an ETSU opponent, as Milligan only managed 17 as well.
In the second half, Stetson pulled to within nine at 34-25, but from there the Bucs methodically built their lead to as many as 21 points at 54-33 with just under five minutes left in the game.
For the contest, the Bucs shot 50 percent from the floor and out-rebounded the Hatters 36-31. ETSU held Stetson to just 31 percent shooting and forced the Hatters into 18 turnovers. The Bucs also outscored Stetson 30-10 in the paint and held a 22-12 edge in points off turnovers.
ETSU will return to action Thursday evening on the road at North Florida. Tip is set for 7 p.m. The Bucs will then face Jacksonville at 3:15 p.m. on Saturday.
For more on ETSU men's basketball, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the men's hoops link.