Johnson City, Tenn. (Feb. 9, 2002) - Senior Dimeco Childress (Columbia, Tenn.) hit the 30-point mark for the second straight time at home, this time coming up with a career-high 36 points to lead East Tennessee State to an 85-78 win over Davidson in men's Southern Conference basketball action. The win was the fourth straight for the Bucs and pulled them within two games of the first place Wildcats in the North Division standings.
At the beginning of the contest it looked as if it might be a long night for East Tennessee State (14-9, 7-5 SoCon) as the Bucs were held scoreless for the first 4:45 of the game. But Davidson could only manage to get a 4-0 lead in that time, and ETSU jumped back into the game on the strength of some impressive foul shooing.
Shooting just 35.7 percent from the floor in the first half, the Bucs made up for it with a 20-of-21 (.952) performance from the free throw line, including hitting their first 16 attempts. Leading 10-8, ETSU rattled off an 11-5 run take a 21-13 lead with nine minutes left in the half. Childress hit four free throws during the run, with Jerald Fields (Gainesville, Fla.) adding a trey.
ETSU held on to its lead until Davidson got hot from three-point range late in the half. Trailing by six, the Wildcats got three treys, two from Michael Bree, that highlighted a 17-5 run the gave them a 38-32 lead with 3:16 left. ETSU answered, however, closing out the half on a 9-2 run that gave the Bucs a 41-40 edge at the intermission on a pair of free throws from Ryan Lawson (Rogersville, Tenn.) with 13 seconds left.
ETSU picked up the pace at the start of the second half. Davidson took a brief two point lead, but the Bucs went on a 15-2 run that gave them a 60-49 lead at the 12:00 mark.
Trailing 67-57, the Wildcats clawed back into it, holding the Bucs without a field goal over a three-minute span to cut the lead to 69-67 on a layup by Chris Pearson with five minutes to play. That was as close as Davidson would get, with ETSU upping the lead back to seven points on a trey by Childress at the 2:54 mark. ETSU then hit 11-of-12 free throws down the stretch to hold off the Wildcats and claim the win.
Davidson shot 50.9 percent for the game to ETSU's 35.6 effort, but the Bucs shot .929 from the foul line, hitting 39-of-42 shots to hold Davidson at bay, setting a new school record for free throws made in a game. The previous mark was 36 set against Furman on Feb. 13, 1992. ETSU also had a 37-30 edge on the boards and took advantage of 20 Davidson turnovers, scoring 18 points off the miscues.
Childress hit just 10-of-21 shots from the field, but buried all 14 of his free throws to account for his 36 points. Fields added 18 points, eight rebounds and four steals for the Bucs, while Lawson added 14 points. Zakee Wadood (Lonoke, Ark.) led all players with nine rebounds.
Davidson placed four players in double figures, led by Bree's 19 points. Wayne Bernard had 15, while Martin Ides added 14 and Chris Pearson chipped in 12.
ETSU will next take on the second-place team in the North Division, hosting UNC Greensboro on Tuesday, Feb. 12 at 7:30 p.m. Davidson will host Georgia Southern on Feb. 13 at 7:00 p.m.