Asheville, N.C. (Nov. 28, 2001) - Led by freshman Tiras Wade's (Tampa, Fla.) 19 points, East Tennessee State used a big second half rally, overcoming a 12-point halftime deficit to defeat UNC Asheville, 77-71, at the Asheville Civic Center. The win was the Bucs's first on the road this season, breaking a three-game losing streak to improve their record to 2-3. UNC Asheville fell to 0-5. It was the first time that ETSU has defeated the Bulldogs in Asheville.
UNC Asheville came out in the first half with a hot shooting hand from the outside, hitting 6-of-10 three-point attempts. The Bulldogs connected on their first three long-range attempts, and took an early 13-5 lead on Brand Carter's trey with 16:36 to play in the half. ETSU on the other hand, was having a cold first half, shooting only 32 percent from the field and committing 12 turnovers. As a result ETSU could not close the gap, and the Bulldogs, led by Carter's nine points, opened up a 40-28 lead at the half.
Sophomore Zakee Wadood (Lonoke, Ark.) got the Bucs's comeback started with a layup three minutes into the second half that cut the UNCA lead to nine. He then hit a three-pointer that cut the lead down to six at 45-39 with 15:11 to play. ETSU kept chipping away, and when Wadood, who was a perfect 6-for-6 from the field, hit another jump shot with 11:30 left, the Bulldog lead was down to four at 53-49.
Wade then took over the game, going on a personal 9-0 run over the next two minutes that put ETSU in the lead for good. When he was done, the Bucs had a 59-53 lead with 8:49 left to play. Wade, who scored 16 of his points in the second half, hit another shot with 5:12 left that gave ETSU a 70-59 lead.
UNC Asheville did not go without a fight, however, and cut the lead down to three points on Ben McGonagil's dunk with 18 seconds left in the game. UNCA then fouled Wade, who made one of his two shots, but on the Bulldogs' next possession Colin Shaw threw the ball away on an inbounds pass. Dimeco Childress (Columbia, Tenn.) then iced the win with a slam after cutting in behind the UNC Asheville defense.
Wade led all scorers with his 19 points, while also adding four steals. Jerald Fields (Gainesville, Fla.) added 14 points, five rebounds and three blocked shots. Wadood finished with 15 points and a team best eight rebounds, while Cliff Decoster (Miramar, Fla.) had a season-high 11 points while adding five assists. UNC Asheville was led by McGonagil and Carter, who each had 13 points.
ETSU will have a few days off before finishing its five-game road swing with a visit to Coastal Carolina on Tuesday, December 4 at 7:00 p.m.