Johnson City, Tenn. -- The East Tennessee State men's basketball team played a preseason exhibition game against the Charleston Bombers, an AAU team from West Virginia, Thursday night at Brooks Gym. Former ETSU basketball player and 1992 graduate Greg Dennis currently plays for Charleston. The defending Southern Conference champions defeated the Bombers 97-83.
The game was close from the beginning but ETSU began to take control with eight minutes left in the first half. The Buc defense forced Charleston into making some offensive mistakes. With 7:36 left until halftime, freshman guard Keeton Brooks steals the ball from Charleston's Wayne Casey which leads to a layup by sophomore forward Jerald Fields. Next play Fields gets the steal from Dennis and Brooks connects with his own layup to bring the score 35-19 in ETSU's favor.
In the first half, the Bucs shot 46% from the field, 43% from three-point range, and 80% from the free throw line. Charleston shot just 28% from the field, 22% from behind the arc and had a 72% free throw percentage. Several Buccaneers were in double digits by the end of the first half. Fields had 11 points and a steal. Brooks had 10 points and hit every shot he took in the first half. Freshman guard Tiras Wade had 11 points by halftime.
The beginning of the second half would see ETSU's lead shrink. Charleston would take advantage of two quick fouls on senior guard Cliff Decoster with Dennis and Casey hitting their free throws to start off the half. The Bombers were able to get within one point of the Bucs when Thomas Orcutt hit a three-pointer. Freshman guard James Anthony hit his own three. After that, the closest the Bombers would get is within 13 points of the defending SoCon champions.
ETSU's leading scorer from last season, Dimeco Childress, finished the game with 13 points, a perfect 7-7 from the free throw line and was credited with three assists. Fields ended the game with 11 points, hit five of seven field goals, pulled down seven defensive rebounds, blocked two shots and had two steals. The freshmen stepped up and showed the ETSU basketball fans that they are ready to play on this level. Brooks finished the night with 14 points, hit five of six shots, went 1-1 from the three-point line, and was perfect (3-3) from the free throw line. Wade had 13 points, was 4-6 from the free throw line, pulled down seven rebounds and had two steals on the night.
The Buccaneers begin the regular season at home against Guilford at 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 16th in Brooks Gym.