BOONE, N.C. (Jan. 24, 2004) — Trailing 74-66 with 7:05 left in the game at Appalachian State, the East Tennessee State University men's basketball team again put together a late charge and outscored the Mountaineers 27-6 the rest of the way to take a 93-80 victory Saturday at the Holmes Center.
With the win, the Bucs improved their program-best 7-0 start in Southern Conference play, and moved to 15-4 overall. Meanwhile, Appalachian dropped to 3-3 SoCon, 8-11 overall. At present, the Bucs hold a three-game lead in the race for the North Division championship.
For the Bucs, six players reached double figures, with Zakee Wadood (Lonoke, Ark.) leading the way with his 24th career double-double on 18 points and 12 rebounds. Wadood was joined in double figures by sophomore guard Tim Smith (Newport News, Va.) with 18, fellow senior Jerald Fields (Gainesville, Fla.) with 17 and junior guard James Anthony (Tampa, Fla.) with 14. Sophomores Ben Rhoda (Dayton, Ohio) and Brad Nuckles (Council, Va.) finished with 12 apiece.
ETSU jumped out to a quick 10-2 lead, helped by five quick points from Wadood to open the game. A few moments later, back-to-back three pointers from Noah Brown (Keene, Texas) and Chris McFarland (Jonesboro, Ga.) cut the lead to two points. The Mountaineers took their first lead of the contest at 11:16 when Herbert Jones (Petersburg, Va.) hit a layup, an advantage that ASU extended to five points, but ETSU came back, taking the lead again at 6:25. Neither team managed to control the game, and there were 10 lead changes in the first half. As time ran down, the Bucs were up one point, and took the 43-42 advantage into the break.
Appalachian went on a 10-3 run to start the second half, spurred on by six points from McFarland, to give the Apps a 53-46 lead at the 16:40 mark. The Bucs put together a run of their own, tying the game at 52 and setting the pace for the half. Three times the Mountaineers built a lead of at least five points, and three times the Bucs battled back and tied the game.
At 7:05 a three-pointer from Brown gave ASU their biggest advantage of the game, eight points, which ETSU cut into thanks to four free throws and some missed scoring opportunities from the Apps. With 3:25 left to play, the Bucs tied the game for a final time as Fields hit a layup and was the catalyst for a 15-2 run over the final moments of the contest. Despite their best efforts, Appalachian could not get back into the game, and ETSU took the 93-80 win.
Four Mountaineers scored in double figures. McFarland led the team with 17 points, Brown contributed 16, Derek Thomas (College Park, Ga.) added 15, and Johnathan Mitchell (Stone Mtn., Ga.) had 10. Corwin Davis (Raleigh, N.C.) has five assists for the Apps.
ETSU returns to action Monday at home against Wofford (7 p.m.). Meanwhile, Appalachian takes to the road to play Elon on Monday.