BUIES CREEK, N.C. (Feb. 25, 2008) - Watching a 12-point halftime lead evaporate in the first four minutes of the second half and trailing 58-53 with 15:38 left in the game, the ETSU men's basketball team kept its poise, going on to outscore Atlantic Sun Conference foe Campbell 37-16 over the next eight minutes to build a 16-point lead and roll to a 96-87 win over the Camels Monday night at Carter Gym.
The Buccaneers, who improved to 17-12 overall, 10-5 in A-Sun play, ruined a special ceremonial night at Campbell (10-17, 5-9), as the Camels played their final game inside historic Carter Gym. The Camels first began playing in Carter during the 1953 season, and will open the new John W. Pope Jr. Convocation Center next season.
"When you go on the road and shoot 55 percent from the floor and have 25 assists, that says a lot about what you're doing," said ETSU head coach Murry Bartow, whose team improved to 9-0 all-time against Campbell. "If we can find a way to get a few more stops, we have a chance to make things interesting the rest of the year."
In the first half, the Bucs shot 51 percent from the floor and raced out to a lead of as many as 14 points at 31-17 with 7:04 left before the intermission, ultimately leading by 12 48-36 at the break. Jocolby Davis (Meridian, Miss.) led the attack, reaching his career high in the first 20 minutes with 11 points on 4-of-4 shooting from the floor and a 3-of-3 effort from the foul line.
The second half was a different story early on, as Campbell came out hot from beyond the arc, outscoring the Bucs 19-5 to open the half and grabbing the lead 55-53. From there, though, junior guard Courtney Pigram (Memphis) scored 13 of his18 points to power the ETSU comeback. Along with Pigram, the Bucs got a team-high 20 points from senior guard Travis Strong (Memphis), who is now just four points shy of reaching 1,000 for his career.
Along with Pigram and Strong, the Bucs got double figure scoring from senior forward Andrew Reed (Port Richey, Fla.) with 14, Davis with 12, and both sophomore guard Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.) and senior forward Kenyona Swader (Smyrna) each finished with 11 points apiece. The Bucs dished out 24 assists on the night and shot 55 percent from the floor, 40 percent from the 3-point arc, and 78 percent from the charity stripe. ETSU's bench also outscored Campbell 31-1 on the night.
For Campbell, the team's standout player Jonathan Rodriguez finished with a double-double, posting game highs with 31 points and 12 rebounds. Senior Reggie Bishop added 17, while Junard Hartley and Kyle Vejraska netted 16 and 13, respectively.
The Bucs will return to action Saturday afternoon at 4 p.m., playing their final regular season game of the year at USC Upstate. For more on ETSU men's basketball, visit ETSUBucs.com.