JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Jan. 28, 2004) - Bolstered by a 22-0 offensive run early in the first half, the East Tennessee State University men's basketball team improved to 8-0 in Southern Conference play with a 76-54 victory over Wofford Wednesday night at Memorial Center.
Five Buccaneers reached double figures, with senior Zakee Wadood (Lonoke, Ark.) leading the way with 17 points. In addition, the Bucs' defense put together an extremely strong effort, holding the Terriers to just 35 percent shooting from the floor and forcing 21 turnovers.
"We were concerned coming in about their ability to score," said ETSU head coach Murry Bartow. "But I thought the biggest key came on the defensive end. It was really hard to complain with that aspect of the game."
ETSU, which improved to 16-4 overall, trailed 7-2 at the 18:38 mark. However, the Bucs quickly responded with a flurry of baskets that started with a layup from sophomore guard Ben Rhoda (Dayton, Ohio) and ended with a basket by junior guard James Anthony (Tampa, Fla.), as the Bucs led by 17 points at 24-7 with 11:51 left in the first half.
Wofford (6-12 overall, 2-5 SoCon) managed to cut the lead back to 12 at times in the first half, but at the intermission the Bucs led by 16 at 45-29.
In the second half, the Terriers made a charge thanks to an 8-2 run that cut the ETSU lead to 10 at 47-37, but from there the Bucs methodically built their lead to more than 20 points and finished the game up by 22.
For ETSU, Wadood was joined in double figures by Anthony and sophomore forward Brad Nuckles (Council, Va.) with 13 points apiece, while sophomore guard Tim Smith (Newport News, Va.) tossed in 12 and senior forward Jerald Fields (Gainesville, Fla.) netted 11.
On the night, the Bucs shot 47 percent from the floor (30-of-63), 38 percent from 3-point range (5-of-13), blocked nine shots and picked up 14 steals. The Terriers shot just 28 percent from beyond the 3-point-line and went to the foul line just six times. Wofford did win the battle of the boards, 40-36.
For Wofford, Tyler Berg picked up his second career double-double and a career high in rebounds with 11 boards and 12 points. Berg was joined in double figures by Howard Wilkerson, who scored 10.
ETSU will return to Southern Conference play Saturday evening, when the Bucs travel to Cullowhee, N.C., to take on the Western Carolina Catamounts at 7 p.m. Meanwhile, Wofford returns home to face Elon at 7 p.m. on Saturday.