CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (3/3/05) -- East Tennessee State junior guard Tim Smith (Newport News, Va.) scored 33 points, but it was not enough as Chattanooga ended the Buccaneers' season with a 77-70 win in the quarterfinals of the Southern Conference Tournament Thursday night at the McKenzie Arena.
Alphonso Pugh scored 18 points to lead four Chattanooga players in double figures as the Mocs advanced to the semifinals of the 2005 Kyocera Southern Conference Basketball Championship.
Smith, who led all scorers with 33 points, ended his SoCon career with impressive postseason numbers. In eight SoCon Tournament games over the course the last three years, the junior guard has averaged 26.6 points per game including 37 in the Bucs' first round win over Furman on Wednesday.
Chattanooga trailed briefly in the first half but took the lead for good at the 17:10 mark at 7-6 when Mindaugas Katelynas hit a jumper. The Mocs led by as many as nine points in the first half before East Tennessee rallied to close to within one on two occasions. Dillion Sneed's dunk just six seconds before halftime brought ETSU to within three points at 40-37.
UTC's Charles Anderson scored 13 of his 17 points in the first half on four of five shooting from the floor and a perfect five for five at the free throw line.
Chattanooga scored the first six points of the second half on a pair of Anderson buckets and a jumper by Steve Cherry. The Bucs would cut the margin to one at 49-48 following a three-pointer by James Anthony. But East Tennessee State would not get any closer the rest of the evening.
Trailing 61-53 with 6:21 remaining, Smith hit back to back three-pointers to close the gap to two at 61-59. But Chattanooga would score 11 of its final 14 points of the game on layups, dunks and free throws. A Katelynas dunk and a Chris Brown layup pushed the Mocs ahead by six at 65-59 with 4:29 remaining. After a Smith three-pointer cut the lead to four at 66-62, Katelynas sank a free throw, a dunk and a layup to leave UTC with a 71-67 lead with one minute left to play. Casey Long's three-pointer pushed UTC ahead 74-67 and when Ricky Hood sank a pair of free throws with 35 seconds remaining, the Mocs led 76-67.
Pugh led the Mocs with 18 points while Katelynas and Anderson added 17 points each and Long contributed 15. Katelynas picked up his ninth double-double of the season as he collected 11 rebounds to go with his 17 points.
ETSU ‘s Dillion Sneed contributed a team-high nine rebounds before fouling out. Ben Rhoda had seven points and four rebounds before collecting his fifth foul.
East Tennessee State ends its season at 10-19. Chattanooga will play in the 8:30 pm semifinal on Friday against the winner of the Appalachian State-College of Charleston game.