JOHNSON CITY (Nov. 3, 2012) – Leading by 18 points with just over 10 minutes left in the game, the ETSU men’s basketball team was forced to weather a furious rally by the Carson-Newman Eagles and held on for a 71-63 victory Saturday night in exhibition basketball action at the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center.
With a team that includes just two seniors to go along with four freshmen, two junior college transfers, and two sophomores who saw only limited minutes a year ago, ETSU head coach Murry Bartow has admittedly called his team a “work in progress.”
“I saw a lot of good things on the defensive end and we rebounded well,” Bartow said. “But we didn’t make enough shots and we just looked bad offensively at times. I love our guys and loved the energy tonight, but this is going to be a growing process.”
Redshirt freshman Lester Wilson (Knoxville) led the way offensively for the Bucs, scoring a game-high 17 points in 17 minutes of play – including seven critical points in the final two minutes of the contest. In addition, sophomore John Walton (Memphis) posted a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds on the night.
For Carson-Newman, Cody Henegar and Odell Parker both pitched in a team high 16 points. Parker netted 10 of his points during the Eagles’ rally late in the game, while Henegar nailed a pair of 3-pointers in the final minutes to keep C-N close.
But the game was not that close most of the way.
After putting together a 19-2 run midway through the first half, the Bucs held a lead of as many as 17 points and ultimately enjoyed a 34-20 advantage at the break. However, after leading 53-35 with 10:06 left in the game, ETSU did not score a field goal for the next seven minutes of game action and looked on as the Eagles put together a 19-2 run of their own to make it 55-54 with 4:35 left in the game.
From there, the score moved to 65-63 with less than a minute remaining before senior Marcus Dubose (Hartsville, S.C.) overcame a tough shooting night to drain his first field goal of the contest – a 3-pointer from the left wing that gave ETSU a 68-63 cushion. At that point, Wilson capped the scoring by going 3-of-4 from the foul line and icing the 71-63 victory.
ETSU shot just 38 percent from the floor for the game, but defensively held Carson-Newman to 33 percent from the floor. The Bucs out-rebounded the Eagles 50-39, but both teams eclipsed more than 20 turnovers in the game.
With the only exhibition game of the season now behind them, the Bucs will continue to prepare for their regular season opener, which is set for Saturday, Nov. 10 at Virginia Tech. Tip time in Blacksburg, Va., is set for 2 p.m.
For more on ETSU men’s basketball throughout the 2012-13 season, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the men’s basketball link.