Bucs break through with win over Catamounts
Bucs break through with win over Catamounts
Monday, January 10, 2005

CULLOWHEE, N.C. (Jan. 10, 2005) - The Bucs finally broke through.


With Western Carolina just two points behind at 70-68 with 30 seconds remaining in the game, junior guard Tim Smith (Newport News, Va.) converted a three-point play by sinking a running layup and making good on the foul shot, giving the East Tennessee State men's basketball team the cushion it needed for a 76-70 win over the Catamounts Monday night at the Ramsey Center.


ETSU picked up its first Southern Conference win of season, improving to 5-9 overall, 1-3 in conference play. Meanwhile, Western Carolina dropped to 5-12, 0-4.


"It feels good to get that first win in conference play," said ETSU head coach Murry Bartow. "I think the difference in this game was our guys made plays. In our first three conference games, we couldn't make that big play when we needed it. Tim really made a huge basket at the end, but we also got great efforts from Aaron Scott (Houma, La.), Sam Oatman (Neenah, Wisc.) and Dillion Sneed (Chicago). That was the difference."


The Bucs, who shot a blistering 53 percent from the floor in the game, rolled to a significant lead in the first half as they enjoyed a 19-point advantage at 40-21 with four minutes left before the intermission. However, Western Carolina rallied to cut the lead to 12 points at 42-30 at the break.


In the second half, the Catamounts came roaring back on their home floor, cutting the lead to six at 52-46 with 13:57 remaining in the game. However, ETSU managed to push the lead back out to 12 points at 58-46 with 13:09 left, but Western Carolina would not go away.


In the end, Western pulled to within two points late, but the Bucs held on for the win thanks to Smith's drive to the basket. From there, ETSU hit its foul shots and that was the game.


Sneed finished with a game-high 19 points, while Smith put together one of his most solid performances of the year with 15 points, eight assists and two steals in 40 minutes of play. Along with Sneed and Smith, Oatman matched his career best with 14 points thanks to a career-high four 3-pointers.


For Western, Corey Muirhead matched Sneed's 19-point effort, while Rans Brempong (12), David Berghoefer (11) and Antonio Russell (11) also reached double figures.


ETSU will return to SoCon action this Saturday as the Bucs will meet Elon at Memorial Center. Tip time is set for 4 p.m. in Johnson City. Meanwhile, Western Carolina returns to play at UNC Greensboro Saturday beginning at 7 p.m.