BLACKSBURG, Va. (Nov. 10, 2012) – The youthful ETSU men’s basketball team knew the early portion of its 2012-13 schedule would be a learning process. The first lesson of the year came Saturday afternoon at Virginia Tech.
Despite quality play from their batch of freshmen and newcomers – including a team-high 20 points from redshirt freshman Lester Wilson (Knoxville) – the Buccaneers had no answers against Atlantic Coast Conference opponent Virginia Tech, as the Hokies made 10 shots from beyond the 3-point line and shot over 50 percent in the first half en route to an 80-62 win at Cassell Coliseum.
“This is a process for this team because we’re so young, and we’re going to go through games like this right now, but I am seeing a lot of things I like,” said ETSU head coach Murry Bartow. “We were out there with a lot of young guys, but all of them are eager to learn and want to win. The effort is there and they are willing to work to do what it takes to get better.”
Wilson joined a group of five ETSU players who were making their first ever appearance in an NCAA Division I game. The group included true freshman guards Petey McClain (Mobile, Ala.) and Yunio Barrueta (Miami, Fla.), along with junior college transfers Kinard Gadsden-Gilliard (Georgetown, S.C.) and Hunter Harris (Nashville).
While Wilson scored 20 points and grabbed nine rebounds, McClain made the start at point guard and responded with six points and three assists in 29 minutes of action. Meanwhile, Barrueta pitched in four points and a rebound in 15 minutes of play.
The first half started well for the Bucs, as they jumped ahead 6-2 on three straight layups. It stayed close from there and ETSU made it 15-11 on a free throw by Gadsden-Gilliard with 12:21 left.
However, at that point Tech went on to outscore the Bucs 28-17 and led 43-28 at the break. VT finished the half shooting 52 percent from the floor and 46 percent from 3-point range, while the Bucs hit on just 32 percent of their shots and were just 1-of-9 from outside the arc.
In the second half, Virginia Tech continued to shoot well as the Bucs remained unable to get make enough stops to produce a rally.The Hokies’ frontcourt of Erick Green, Robert Brown and Jarell Eddie were fantastic in the game, combining for 54 of VT’s 80 points. Green led the way with a game-high 21 points.
But there were plenty of positives for the young Bucs.
ETSU out-rebounded this ACC foe 39-37 and swiped 14 offensive rebounds. In addition, the Bucs outscored the Hokies 36-26 in the paint and held a 36-17 edge in points off the bench.
Tech shot 47 percent from the floor, 40 percent from 3-point range and 67 percent from the charity stripe. ETSU hit on just 39 percent of its shots from the field, and was just 19 percent from the 3-point line.
The Bucs will return to action next Saturday, taking on former Ohio Valley Conference rival Tennessee Tech inside the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center. Tip is set for 4 p.m. For more on ETSU men’s basketball throughout the 2012-13 season, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the men’s hoops link.