Bucs move into tie for first place in A-Sun, drop UNF 77-58
Saturday, January 13, 2007


            JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Jan. 13, 2007) - The ETSU men's basketball team overcame a bad shooting night by creating 24 North Florida turnovers and out-rebounding the Ospreys 47-33, ultimately dropping UNF 77-58 in Atlantic Sun Conference play Saturday afternoon in front of 4,261 fans at Memorial Center.


            With the win and Lipscomb's victory over Belmont Friday evening, the Bucs (12-7 overall, 6-1 A-Sun) move into a tie with Belmont for the league lead. Meanwhile, a tough season for an undermanned North Florida team continues, as the Ospreys drop to 2-14, 0-6.


            "We defended hard, we rebounded hard, and we forced a lot of steals," said ETSU head coach Murry Bartow, whose team has won 10 of its last 13 games. "We just didn't shoot it well so it wasn't a pretty game to watch. That makes it ugly. Now we have the quick turnaround and I can guarantee Monday's game with Jacksonville will be much different than this. They are the most improved team in the league this year."


            Five ETSU players scored in double figures, led by a game-high 15 points and five assists from sophomore guard Courtney Pigram (Memphis). Freshman guard Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.) scored 13 points, while senior forward Brad Nuckles (Council, Va.) continued to play well, picking up his 11th career double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds. Senior forward Eryk Thomas (Fremont, Calif.) and junior forward Andrew Reed (Port Richey, Fla.) rounded out the top scorers for the Bucs, netting 12 and 11 points, respectively.


The Bucs made the first basket of the game and UNF responded to tie it at 2-2, but from there ETSU never trailed, building a lead of as many as 16 points at 32-16 before eventually holding a 37-23 advantage at the break.


            In the second half, the Ospreys managed to cut the lead to 12 at 41-29, but the Bucs again pulled away and actually led by as many as 27 points at the 7:51 mark of the second half. UNF managed to get the deficit under 20 in the final minutes thanks to a 10-4 run to end the game.


            UNF was led offensively by 12 points from forward James Grimball, while Chris Timberlake and Arnold Henry each scored 11. The Ospreys did shoot 44 percent from the floor, but were only 59 percent from the charity stripe and could not overcome the Bucs' full court pressure defense.


            The Bucs shot just 35 percent from the floor and 26 percent from 3-point range, but were 83 percent from the foul line and had 11 steals in the game. ETSU also dished out 16 assists as a team.


            ETSU will return to A-Sun action Monday night against Jacksonville beginning at 7 p.m. The game will be broadcast live via video internet streaming at ETSUBucs.com. Meanwhile, UNF will meet Kennesaw State Monday evening in Georgia.