JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Feb.14, 2004) - The East Tennessee State University men's basketball team tied a program record with its 13th-straight victory, defeating Elon University 73-58 Saturday afternoon in front of 5,203 fans at Memorial Center.
The Buccaneers, who improved to 21-4 overall and a perfect 13-0 in Southern Conference play, will take their unblemished league mark to Charleston, S.C., for a matchup with The Citadel on Monday. Meanwhile, Elon will return to play Monday at Chattanooga.
"It's great to get another win," said ETSU head coach Murry Bartow. "This game really concerned us because Elon had won four of their last five games and came in here playing very well. We're really pleased, though, to get the win and now we'll start focusing on The Citadel."
In the first half, the Phoenix took the early lead with a pair of free throws by junior forward Jackson Atoyebi, but the Bucs quickly responded to take a 5-2 lead on a bucket by sophomore guard Ben Rhoda (Dayton, Ohio) and a 3-pointer by sophomore guard Tim Smith (Newport News, Va.). From there, the Bucs never relinquished the lead the rest of the game and led by 15 at 44-29 by the intermission.
After halftime, Elon took to the floor with a renewed urgency and cut the ETSU lead to seven at 48-41 with 14:07 left in the game. While the two teams traded baskets over the next nine minutes, the Bucs finally pulled away again and built a lead of as many as 16 points at 70-54 with 2:33 left. ETSU hit its foul shots the rest of the way and completed the 73-58 victory.
ETSU was led offensively by Smith, who finished with a game-high 21 points on 8-of-15 shooting from the floor and 2-of-2 shooting from 3-point range. Meanwhile, junior guard James Anthony (Tampa, Fla.) added 13 points and senior forward Zakee Wadood (Lonoke, Ark.) netted 10.
The Buccaneers outrebounded the Phoenix 46-36 and shot 50.9 percent from the floor, while picking up 10 steals. From beyond the arc, ETSU hit on 53.8 percent of its shots (7-of-13).
Defensively, the Bucs held Elon to just 29 percent shooting from the floor and 14 percent from 3-point range.
For Elon, Atoyebi netted a team-high 17 points to lead the Phoenix offense, while teammate Matt Nowlin picked up 11.