Smith returns, Hubbard shines as ETSU wins, 82-56
Sunday, November 29, 2009

            JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Nov. 29, 2009) - Senior guard Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.) returned to the lineup and junior forward Tommy Hubbard (Boston) continued his dominating play with his fifth double-double of the season, as the ETSU men's basketball team opened Atlantic Sun Conference play with a convincing 82-56 victory over North Florida Sunday afternoon inside Memorial Center.


            ETSU, now 4-3 overall, 1-0 in A-Sun play, got a game-high 25 points and 13 rebounds from Hubbard, while Smith pitched in 14 points and fellow junior guard Micah Williams (Manchester) added 12. The Buccaneers dominated in most every statistical category, out-rebounding the Ospreys 38-28, forcing UNF into 25 turnovers and finishing with a 26-point cushion.


            "Coming off the win at Arkansas, this was an easy game for us to have a letdown," said ETSU head coach Murry Bartow, whose team dropped the Southeastern Conference's Razorbacks 94-85 on Friday night. "But we got up double digits in the first half and just built on that after halftime. Tommy was just Tommy as usual, and I'm losing words to describe how well he's playing right now. For him to have nine of our 20 offensive rebounds tonight is just unbelievable. Obviously, it was good to get Mike back and for him to play 21 minutes, and Micah did some good things for us again.


            "We just played really well at Arkansas and I think that carried over today."


            The Bucs blitzed out to a 9-2 lead early in the game, but UNF responded with its own 8-0 run to take its only lead of the contest at 10-9. However, that edge did not last long, as ETSU put together a 10-2 run to go up 19-12 and never looked back.


            Smith's return was highlighted by his first field goal of the season, which came after he stole a UNF inbounds pass and raced to the other end of the floor for a slam dunk. Smith's score was only part of a strong first half by the Bucs, which ultimately resulted in a 44-31 lead at the break.


            In the second half, things only got worse for the Ospreys, as the ETSU fullcourt pressure kept resulting in turnovers and scores for the Bucs. The Ospreys did manage to get to within seven at 50-43 on a 3-pointer by Jerron Granberry, but ETSU responded by outscoring UNF 11-2 over the next three minutes to build their lead to 61-45. A 3-pointer by sophomore Adam Sollazzo (Tampa) and another by Williams then powered another 10-3 run to make it 71-48 and UNF would not recover.


ETSU ultimately ended the game with a 34-11 edge in points off turnovers and a 20-6 advantage in second chance points.


UNF got a team high 14 points from Andy Diaz and Granberry netted 10 in the losing effort.


The Bucs will return to action on Wednesday night in a much-anticipated matchup with in-state rival Tennessee. Tipoff against the No. 9-ranked Volunteers is set for 7 p.m. and the game will be aired on Fox SportsSouth.


            For more on ETSU men's basketball throughout the 2009-10 season, visit and click on the men's basketball link.