ETSU pounds UVa.-Wise 105-60 in season opener
ETSU pounds UVa.-Wise 105-60 in season opener
Saturday, November 20, 2004


JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Nov. 20, 2004) - The East Tennessee State University men's basketball team opened its 2004-05 season in style on Saturday afternoon, dropping UVa.-Wise 105-60 in front of 4366 fans at Memorial Center.


The Buccaneers had six players score in double figures, led by junior forward Ben Rhoda (Dayton, Ohio) with a career-high tying 20 points and senior James Anthony (Tampa, Fla.) with 18 points on 7-of-11 shooting from the floor. In addition, the Bucs got double-double efforts from a pair of newcomers, as junior transfer Chris Mitchell (Chicago) scored 17 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, while true freshman Andrew Reed (Port Richey, Fla.) pitched in an impressive 16 points and 12 rebounds.


"There were a lot of encouraging signs and a lot of bright spots," said ETSU head coach Murry Bartow. "Ben was really good and James shot the ball very well. I think double-doubles from two of our new players was also a good sign. But there were some discouraging signs as well. We didn't shoot free throws well and we had way too many turnovers. There's room for improvement."


While UVa.-Wise eventually put together some offense to finish with 60 points in the game, it was ETSU's tenacious defensive effort in the first half that dug to deep a hole for the Highland Cavaliers. In fact, the Cavs did not reach double figures on the scoreboard until the 4:30 mark of the first half and trailed 55-16 at the break.


The Bucs kept the pressure on in the second half despite playing without the services of junior guard Tim Smith (Newport News, Va.) and junior forward Brad Nuckles (Council, Va.). Smith suffered a minor ankle injury and was kept out as a precautionary step, while Nuckles' injured his left foot and is listed as doubtful for ETSU's game at Marshall on Tuesday night.


For the game, the Bucs shot a blistering 68.8 percent from the floor and posted a 52.9 percent clip from 3-point range. Meanwhile, UVa.-Wise hit on only 32.3 percent from the floor and shot 42 shots from outside the 3-point arc. ETSU out-rebounded Wise 47 to 28.


In addition to the efforts of Rhoda, Anthony, Mitchell and Reed, junior transfer Dillion Sneed (Chicago) also reached double figures with 12 points, while senior Sam Oatman (Neenah, Wis.) dished out a career-high seven assists.


For UVa.-Wise, Blake Mellinger led the way with 20 points, while teammates Joey Blackwell and Jarred Soles added 18 and 14 points, respectively.


The Bucs will be back in action on the road Tuesday night at Marshall. Tip is set for 7 p.m. and Buc fans can listen to the action live on the Mountain States Health Alliance Buccaneer Sports Network's family of affiliates or at