JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Jan. 5, 2009) - Shooting 61 percent from the field in the first half and holding North Florida to just 17 points before the intermission, the ETSU men's basketball team raced out of the gate and pulled away to an 88-57 win over the Ospreys in Atlantic Sun Conference action Monday evening inside Memorial Center.
With the win, ETSU improves to 10-4 overall, 4-0 in A-Sun play and maintain sole possession of first place in the league. Meawhile, the Ospreys fall to 2-12, 0-4.
"These are scary games especially coming off a big win over Jacksonville, but we came out and had a great start," said ETSU head coach Murry Bartow, whose team's 10-4 record is the best start for an ETSU squad since the 2003-04 season. "I think we outscored them 18-2 to close out the first half, and I saw a lot of good things out of our team tonight."
Following a career best 39-point effort Saturday against Jacksonville, senior guard Courtney Pigram (Memphis) once again led the way offensively with a game-high 24 points. Meanwhile, sophomore guard Micah Williams (Manchester) pitched in a career high 15 points, senior forward Kevin Tiggs (Flint, Mich.) netted 13, and true freshman post Seth Coy (Montgomery, Ind.) added 12. In addition, senior forward Greg Hamlin (Flint, Mich.) matched a historic mark for the Bucs, tying the school record with six blocks on the night while scoring nine points.
In the first half, the Buccaneers wasted little time setting the tempo, pulling ahead 10-0 in the first three minutes and pushing the advantage to 25-11 with just over five minutes left before the break. ETSU then went on to truly put the Ospreys away, outscoring them 18-2 to close out the half and hold a decisive 43-17 advantage at halftime.
ETSU shot 17-of-28 (61 percent) from the floor and 6-of-12 (50 percent) from beyond the 3-point arc in the first half, while outrebounding the Ospreys 23-13. Meanwhile UNF shot just 28 percent from the field and 17 percent from outside the arc in the first 20 minutes.
In the second half, the Bucs backed off the defensive pressure and ultimately outscored UNF just 45-40, but at that point the game was well in hand. For the contest, ETSU shot 52 percent from the floor and 44 percent from beyond the arc, while hitting the boards to a 45-31 advantage over the Ospreys.
For North Florida, Kyle Groothuis was the only player in double figures, posting 11 points.
The Bucs will hit the road again this Saturday to take on A-Sun foe Stetson in Deland, Fla., at 2 p.m. Fans can keep up with the Bucs, while getting news and notes by visiting ETSUBucs.com.