TAMPA, Fla. (Dec. 29, 2002) -- East Tennessee State had their two-game winning streak snapped as the South Florida Bulls downed the Bucs, 68-56, in the finals of the South Florida Shootout from the Sun Dome in Tampa, Fla.
South Florida (7-3) opened the game on fire, shooting 55 percent (17-31) in the first half, en route to a 42-28 advantage at the break. USF held the Bucs (5-5) to just 33 percent (12-36) from the floor in the first stanza.
In the second half, the pace of the game slowed, as the Bucs outscored the Bulls, 28-26. East Tennessee State fired 13 three-pointers in the half, trying to shrink the lead, but connected on only four of their attempts.
Sophomore forward Tiras Wade (Tampa, Fla.) led the Bucs in scoring for the fourth time in their last five games, tallying 13 points on the afternoon. Senior guard Ryan Lawson (Rogersville, Tenn.) and freshman guard Tim Smith (Newport News, Va.) also scored in double-figures for ETSU, adding 12 and 11 points respectively. Since entering the starting lineup six games ago, Smith has been a terror, scoring in double-digits in each game, averaging 15.2 points per contest.
Junior forward Jerald Fields (Gainesville, Fla.) led ETSU in rebounding and assists with 10 boards and three assists.
South Florida center Will McDonald led four Bulls in double-figures with 20 points. USF guard Marlyn Bryant had a game-high 17 rebounds on the day.
East Tennessee State returns to action on Jan. 2 at 7:30 from Memorial Center against Juniata College. The game is the nightcap of a basketball double-header as the East Tennessee State Lady Bucs will face in-state rival Chattanooga at 5:15.