Bucs takes advantage at foul line, drop Stetson, 81-72
Bucs takes advantage at foul line, drop Stetson, 81-72
Thursday, January 19, 2006


DELAND, Fla. (Jan. 19, 2006) - Bolstered by a 33-of-41 effort from the foul line, the ETSU men's basketball team held off a desperate Stetson rally in the final minutes of Thursday night's game, holding on for an 81-72 victory over the Hatters in Atlantic Sun Conference play at the Edmunds Center.


With the victory, ETSU has now won eight of its last nine games and improves to 9-7 overall, 6-3 in A-Sun play. Meanwhile, Stetson drops to 2-14, 2-6.


In the first half, the Bucs held a slim five-point advantage at 14-9 with 12:53 remaining before the break. However, at that point, the Hatters completely substituted five new players for their starting lineup and the Bucs capitalized with an 18-2 run over the next four minutes to make it 27-16 with eight minutes left. The two teams would trade baskets the rest of the half and ETSU led 42-31 at the intermission.


Stetson managed to cut into the ETSU advantage in the second half thanks mainly to a 9-1 run that culminated at the 12:35 mark with a foul shot by Garfield Blair, making it 52-47. ETSU withstood that charge and actually regained a 14-point lead at 71-57 with 3:34 remaining in the game. It was then that Stetson went to a full court pressing attack and once again cut the lead to five at 71-66 with 1:55 left. The Bucs used their solid foul shooting from there to hold on and get the win.


Senior guard Tim Smith (Newport News, Va.) led the way for ETSU with a team-high 21 points, while senior forward Dillion Sneed (Chicago) came off the bench to post a 14-point, nine-rebound effort. The Bucs also got solid efforts from senior guard Ben Rhoda (Dayton, Ohio) and junior guard Travis Strong (Memphis). Rhoda returned to action after missing three games with an ankle injury, scoring 12 points and grabbing six rebounds, while Strong added 13 points on 4-of-7 shooting.


The Bucs shot 80.5 percent from the floor, with players like Sneed - who have struggled from the line so far this season - going 8-of-11 from the line. ETSU out-rebounded the Hatters 37-34, forcing 16 turnovers and grabbing 10 steals.


Stetson was led offensively by E.J. Gordon, who scored a game-high 26 points. He was joined in double figures by Kris Thomas, who netted 10 points. Stetson forced 20 turnovers by the Bucs and grabbed 14 steals.


ETSU now continues on its road trip, as the Bucs will travel to Macon, Ga., to take on Mercer Saturday at 2 p.m. Meanwhile, Stetson will welcome Kennesaw State to the Edmunds Center at 7 p.m.