Thomas, Taylor, Nuckles lead Bucs past Stetson, 75-61
Thomas, Taylor, Nuckles lead Bucs past Stetson, 75-61
Saturday, December 2, 2006

Bucs win third straight, improve to 2-0 in A-Sun play


DELAND, Fla. (Dec. 2, 2006) - Senior forward Eryk Thomas (Fremont, Calif.) and sophomore guard Tayloe Taylor (Memphis) netted career high scoring nights and senior forward Brad Nuckles (Council, Va.) picked up his second straight double-double as the ETSU men's basketball team made it a two-game road sweep in Atlantic Sun Conference play with a 75-61 win over Stetson Saturday evening inside the Edmunds Center.


With the win, ETSU improved to 5-4 overall, 2-0 in A-Sun play, while Stetson dropped to 3-5, 1-1. The Bucs play once more on the road as part of its current seven-game road swing Tuesday night at Vanderbilt, and will then return home for three games at Memorial Center later in December.


"Eryk just played a great game, Tayloe Taylor continues to give us a lot of positives and Brad is just playing really well right now," said ETSU head coach Murry Bartow. "It's really nice to get our first two on the road and we don't have another league game for a month, so it's nice to be at 2-0 for that long. A lot of guys are really starting to step up for us now."


The Bucs seemed to have the game well in hand with 6:56 remaining in the game and leading 59-42, however Stetson put together a final offensive run at that point, outscoring the Bucs 11-3 over the next three minutes to make it a nine-point game at 62-53. ETSU was able to stop the Hatters' momentum though, hitting enough foul shots down the stretch to put the game away.


Once again, the Bucs 1-3-1 zone defense gave their opponents fits in the first half, as ETSU turned several Stetson turnovers into points on the other end. In fact, the Bucs built a lead of 8-0 before Stetson finally got on the scoreboard with a 3-pointer from Gabe McMillan at the 15:18 mark. The Hatters managed to rally to within four points, but ETSU weathered the storm and took advantage of a technical foul on Stetson head coach Derek Waugh with 1:16 left to hold its largest lead of the half at 34-22. Thomas led the way for the Bucs offensively, matching his career high with 14 points before the intermission.


For ETSU, Thomas led the way with 20 points, while sophomore guard Courtney Pigram (Memphis) netted 18 points, Nuckles pitched in 16 points and Taylor finished with 14. Nuckles picked up 11 rebounds to collect his ninth career double-double, while Taylor hit 11-of-15 from the foul line to ice the game in the final minutes.


For Stetson, Garfield Blair led the way with 14 points, while Eric Diaz netted 13. Gabe McMillan and Kris Thomas both picked up 10 points each.


The Bucs return to action Tuesday night in Nashville against SEC foe Vanderbilt, completing their current road trip. The game with Vanderbilt will air on CSS at 9 p.m. (EST). ETSU will return to play its first game at Memorial Center in nearly a month Saturday, Dec. 9 against nearby Milligan. Tip for that game will be 4 p.m.