BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (Dec. 4, 2009) - In a game full of emotion for ETSU head coach Murry Bartow and his father, Gene, the Buccaneers' men's basketball team was unable to overcome UAB's strong inside game and fell 74-52 Friday evening in the inaugural UAB Health System Gene Bartow Classic Friday night at Bartow Arena.
The Blazers outrebounded the Bucs 52-28 on the night and held a 22-5 advantage in second chance points to hand ETSU its most lop-sided loss of the early season. Besides the nice moments for his father, there was not much to smile about for ETSU's head coach.
"We just did not play well," said Bartow, who followed his father as head coach at UAB from 1996-2002. "That was our worst performance of the year. We just did not play well defensively and they really hurt us on the boards. That's not the way we have performed so far this year and not indicative of the way this team can play."
The Bucs got double figure scoring from senior guard Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.) with 14 points, while junior guard Justin Tubbs (Trussville, Ala.) added 11. However, UAB got a double-double from Elijah Millsap with 11 points and 15 rebounds, while Jamarr Sanders scored a game high 17 points. In addition, George Drake scored a season high 16 points and Kenneth Copper pitched in 11.
ETSU got out of the gate with a strong start and led early when a Tubbs 3-pointer found the mark, making it 11-10 with 13:25 left in the first half. However, with the score 16-15 in favor of UAB at the 9:48 mark, the Blazers went on a 12-0 run to garner their largest lead of the half at 28-15 and later led 37-25 at the halftime break.
In the first half, ETSU shot just 37 percent from the floor and was unable to stop the Blazers on the glass, as UAB held a 22-14 advantage on the glass. Those numbers in the paint led to an 11-2 edge for the Blazers in second chance points and the main reason for UAB's lead at the break.
After the break, Smith came ready to play and scored nine quick points to power an ETSU rally that pulled the Bucs to within five points at 45-40 with 12:03 left in the game. Unfortunately for the Bucs, UAB responded to the run with a 9-0 spurt that pushed the lead to 14 at 44-50 with 9:43 left.
The ETSU offense continued to struggle over the next five minutes and UAB ultimately led by as many as 20 points at 64-44 with 4:43 left in the game, and never looked back from that point on.
For the game, UAB shot 41 percent from the floor and 70 percent from the foul line. Meanwhile, the Bucs hit on just 35 percent of their shots from the floor and could not force enough UAB turnovers.
After a tough stretch of road games, the Bucs will return home for a pair on contests next week, taking on North Georgia on Dec. 10 inside Brooks Gym as part of the special "Back to Brooks" game. The team will then host Ohio Valley Conference foe Murray State on Dec. 12.
For more on ETSU men's basketball during the 2009-10 season, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the men's basketball link.