JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Feb. 2, 2004) - Sophomore guard Tim Smith (Newport News, Va.) collected his first career double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds, leading the East Tennessee State University men's basketball team to a decisive 86-65 victory over Southern Conference foe UNC Greensboro Monday night in front of 4,130 fans at Memorial Center.
Smith was joined in the double-double category by fellow sophomore Brad Nuckles (Council, Va.), who picked up his third career double-double with 12 points and a team-high 13 rebounds, helping the Buccaneers improve to a perfect 10-0 in league play and 18-4 overall. Meanwhile, UNC Greensboro dropped to 6-13, 3-6.
"I thought we did a lot of good things tonight," said ETSU head coach Murry Bartow. "The thing is we were able to jump out offensively and stay there. I really liked the 20-rebound differential, and holding them to just 37 percent shooting and 65 points was big. We liked a lot of what we saw on defense, but having five guys in double figures, and the way Tim (Smith) and Brad (Nuckles) played was nice to see."
A basket by UNCG's Ricky Hickman opened the game, but ETSU quickly answered to make it 6-4 with 16:47 left in the first half. From there, the Bucs never trailed in the contest and built a lead of 14 points at 35-21 by the intermission.
In the second half, the Spartans dropped behind by a score of 51-33, but managed to cut into the Bucs advantage wiith a 6-0 run to make it 51-39 with 12:33 left. However, from there ETSU was able to coast, gradually building its lead to as many as 24 points at 78-54 with 3:00 remaining in the game.
While Smith and Nuckles collected double-doubles, senior forward Zakee Wadood (Lonoke, Ark.) led all scorers with 22 points on 9-of-17 shooting. In addition, Wadood had nine rebounds, five assists, three blocks and five steals. Other Bucs to reach double figures included junior guard James Anthony (Tampa, Fla.) with 15 points and sophomore guard Ben Rhoda (Dayton, Ohio) with 10.
The Bucs out-rebounded UNCG 55-35 and picked up 10 steals on the evening. ETSU also held the Spartans to just 26-of-69 (37 percent) shooting from the floor, and just 6-of-21 from 3-point range (28 percent).
For UNCG, senior guard Jay Joseph scored a team-high 21 points, hitting on 4-of-8 from 3-point range.
ETSU will return to action Saturday at Memorial Center when the Bucs host longtime rival Appalachian State at 4 p.m. Meanwhile, UNC Greensboro will be at home to face SoCon North Division rival Elon at 1 p.m.