Johnson City, Tenn. (Jan. 12, 2002) - Playing at home for the first time in 10 days, East Tennessee State's men's basketball team took advantage of its home court, breaking its two-game losing streak with a 101-90 win over Virginia Military Institute in Southern Conference basketball action this afternoon in Memorial Center. Led by senior Dimeco Childress' (Columbia, Tenn.) 22 points, the Buccaneers placed five players in double figures in scoring. The win extended ETSU's home winning streak to 17 games. It was the first time that ETSU has scored 100 points in a Southern Conference game since defeating Appalachian State 100-68 during the 1995-96 season.
East Tennessee State (9-6, 2-2 SoCon) jumped out to an early lead and built an impressive 50-36 first half advantage. Leading by two points at 11-9, ETSU went on a 16-3 run over a nearly seven minute span to take a 27-12 lead with 10 minutes to play in the half. Jerald Fields (Gainesville, Fla.) hit a pair of free throws to cap off the run for the Bucs, who took advantage of seven VMI turnovers during the stretch.
Turnovers were the key to ETSU's first half, as VMI turned the ball over a total of 20 times, with the Bucs getting 26 points off the Keydet miscues.
East Tennessee State extended its lead to 23 early in the second half when Zakee Wadood (Lonoke, Ark.) made a layup off an assist from Childress to put the Bucs up 64-41 at the 16:01 mark.
Just when it looked as if ETSU had the game under control, VMI sprang to life, sparked by the play of Radee Skipworth. His three-point shot started a 19-4 Keydet run, with eight of the points coming from Skipworth. When the nation's leading scorer, Jason Conley, hit a layup at the 7:14 mark, VMI trailed by only five at 76-71.
A Wadood layup got the ETSU back on track, and the Bucs pulled back to an 11-point lead with 4:31 to play on a Childress trey. VMI got back to within five points at 84-79 with 3:52 left, but the Bucs made 11 consecutive free throws down the stretch, five by Childress, to put the game away.
VMI, which shot 62 percent in the second half, outshot the Bucs 53.4 percent to 45.3. ETSU had its big edge in the rebounding department, outrebounding the Keydets by 18, 49-31. ETSU was active on the offensive glass, grabbing 28 offensive boards which led to 23 second-chance points for the Bucs.
Childress led ETSU with his 22 points, the fifth time this season he has eclipsed the 20-point mark. Wadood finished with 18 points, while Fields, Ryan Lawson (Rogersville, Tenn.) and Tiras Wade (Tampa, Fla.) each added 13 points. Wade and Shannon Huffstetler (Mount Holly, N.C.) each grabbed nine rebounds to lead the Bucs.
Conley led VMI with 29 points, with Skipworth adding 25 for the Keydets. Daron Pressley added 12 points, while Conley led the team with six boards.
ETSU will head back on the road for its next game, taking on UNC Greensboro on Monday, Jan. 14 at 7:30 p.m.