CHARLESTON, S.C. (Feb. 16, 2004) -- East Tennessee State posted a Southern Conference record 17 blocks en route to capturing the Southern Conference regular season title and a victory over The Citadel, 73-51, in collegiate basketball action Monday night in McAlister Field House.
"Obviously we are excited about clinching the regular season title with two games left," ETSU head coach Murry Bartow. "It is a credit to our players as they have had a great attitude all year and our two seniors have led the way."
East Tennessee State (22-4, 14-0 SoCon) only trailed twice the whole game and that came in the first two minutes of the game as sophomore forward Dante Terry rattled home a three-pointer to open the game and put The Citadel ahead 3-0. Senior forward Jerald Fields (Gainesville, Fla.) scored a lay-up to put ETSU back down 5-3. A three-pointer from junior guard James Anthony (Tampa, Fla.) sparked a 16-1 run for the Bucs and they never looked back en route to a 40-25 halftime margin.
The Citadel (4-20, 0-13 SoCon) cut the lead to 42-32 to start the second half as Hammack connected on a three and put in a lay-up with 18:03 remaining in the game. The Bulldogs struggled from the floor as ETSU held The Citadel's shooting percentage to 27.7. The Bucs however had no problem shooting as they connected on 21-of-48 field goals and 22-of-26 free throw opportunities.
"Wadood and Fields are probably the best big man duo in the league and they did a great job in the paint against us. At one point it seemed like every shot we took was blocked," Citadel head coach Pat Dennis stated. "Overall we are improving and Kevin gave a strong night offensively."
Fields led the way offensively for the Bucs, as he was one of four players to reach double figures as he posted 20 points. Sophomore guard Ben Rhoda (Dayton, Ohio) scored 11 points and posted a career-high 11 rebounds en route to his first-ever double-double.
Hammack led the way for the Bulldogs as he posted a career-high 22 points, while senior forward Max Mombollet posted 10 rebounds.
Of note, the previous Southern Conference record for blocks was 15 on three different occasions most recently by VMI against Appalachian State in the 2002-03 season.
The Citadel takes to the road this upcoming Saturday with a game against archrival Furman at 4:00 pm, while East Tennessee State travels to take on Fresno State in the ESPN "Bracket Buster" Saturday with noon tip scheduled.