For ETSU, senior guard Tim Smith (
"The turnovers killed us," said ETSU head coach Murry Bartow. "We were not very efficient tonight on offense. We wanted 12 to 13 turnovers for the game and instead we had 20 in the first half. The defensive effort had a lot to do with our offense. When you don't execute on offense, it makes defending that much harder."
In the first half, the Bucs committed 20 turnovers and the Vols capitalized on the mistakes by scoring 20 points off the miscues. Tennessee would lead by as many as 17 points three times in the first half, but the Bucs did manage a rally midway through the first half, cutting the lead to eight points at 32-24 with 4:51 left before the intermission.
However, from there
In the second half,
At that point, Smith - who scored just four points in the first half - scored 10-straight points in a 47-second span to cut the lead to 14 at 77-63. However, from there the Vols held off the ETSU momentum, scoring 11 straight and leading 88-64 with over six minutes left in the game.
Smith finished with 26 points and eight assists, but also picked up nine turnovers. Along with Smith, senior forward Dillion Sneed (Chicago) collected a double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds, while freshman guard Courtney Pigram (Memphis) and senior guard Ben Rhoda (Dayton, Ohio) netted 16 and 11 points, respectively.
ETSU shot a strong 53.3 percent from the floor and held its own on the boards with
The Bucs will return to action Tuesday night at non-conference foe Radford. Tip for the game is set 7 p.m. Check ETSUBucs.com for updates on ETSU basketball throughout the year.