Johnson City, Tenn. (Feb. 12, 2002) - East Tennessee State men's basketball team continued its hot late season play, racking up its fifth straight win and climbing into second-place in the SoCon North Division as the Bucs raced past UNC Greensboro, 90-76 in front of 3,113 in Memorial Center this evening.
It was ETSU's (15-9, 8-5 SoCon) starters who got the job done against the Spartans, with all five scoring in double figures and playing all but 18 minutes of the game. The Bucs had another strong shooting performance, hitting on 58.2 percent of their shots compared to 46.4 for UNCG (15-9, 8-5 SoCon).
East Tennessee State held a slim lead for the first eight minutes of the game. Leading 15-13, the Bucs put together a 16-2 run that was started by a pair of layups by Dimeco Childress (Columbia, Tenn.). Ryan Lawson (Rogersville, Tenn.) then had a five-point play; hitting a basket and a free throw on a foul on the shot, and then sinking another pair of free throws when UNCG head coach Fran McCaffery was hit with a technical. A layup by Zakee Wadood (Lonoke, Ark.) capped the run at the 6:42 mark, giving the Bucs a 31-15 edge.
UNCG fought back with its own run, a 10-2 spurt that was fueled by a pair of treys from Jay Joseph and Ronnie Taylor that cut the lead to 33-26 with 3:10 to play. ETSU managed to halt the run, however, and pulled back to an 11-point lead before Tiras Wade (Tampa, Fla.) was fouled on a three-point attempt at the buzzer. He sank two of the three shots and the Bucs had a 43-30 advantage at the half.
East Tennessee State maintained its advantage early in the second half and led by 16 points when Wadood slammed home a shot with 15:51 left. The Spartans would not go away and answered Wadood's dunk with a 13-2 run, with Joseph hitting a pair of treys. With 11:41 to go UNCG had come back within five on a layup from Luke Boythe that made it 57-52.
Lawson then picked up the Bucs with big three-point shot that put ETSU back up by eight. That basket seemed to seal the fate of the Spartans, who could not get closer than six the rest of the way. Jerald Fields (Gainesville, Fla.) then hit back-to-back three-pointers with five minutes to play that iced the game for the Bucs.
Fields and Wadood each had 22 points to lead the Bucs, with Wadood adding 10 boards for his ninth double-double of the season. Lawson wound up with 18 points, with Childress adding 13 and Wade 11. Fields also matched his season high with six blocks, which also ties the school record he shares with Greg Dennis.
UNC Greensboro got outstanding games from Joseph, who had 25 points on 8-of-18 shooting, 5-of-11 from the three-point line, and David Schuck, who finished with 24 points and six rebounds.
ETSU will play its final home game of the season in its next outing, hosting Western Carolina on Saturday, Feb. 16 at 4:00 p.m. UNCG will be home also, hosting VMI at 7:00 p.m.