Bucs blast Milligan 113-61 in exhibition opener Tuesday
Tuesday, November 3, 2009


            JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Nov. 3, 2009) - Despite having three players on the bench in street clothes - including preseason All-Atlantic Sun Conference selection Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.) - the ETSU men's basketball team showed some depth in its first public performance of the 2009-10 season, rolling to a lopsided 113-61 victory over nearby Milligan College in exhibition play Tuesday night at Memorial Center.


An impressive crowd of 3,472 came out for the exhibition and looked on as the defending Atlantic Sun Conference champions placed six players in double figures offensively, while the ETSU defensive pressure picked up where it left off last year, forcing 25 Milligan turnovers on 14 steals. The Bucs were led offensively by junior Micah Williams (Manchester) and freshman Sheldon Cooley (Tampa), both of whom posted 19 points in the game.


"I'm really pleased with the effort tonight," said ETSU head coach Murry Bartow. "Six different guys in double figures was nice, and I think we saw a lot of positives out there. There are still things to work on obviously, like we didn't shoot free throws well and had some guys in foul trouble. But overall it was good.


"For us right now the most important thing is to get healthy."


The Bucs were without the services of Smith, junior guard Justin Tubbs (Trussville, Ala.) and redshirt freshman J.C. Ward (Marietta, Ga.), all of whom are nursing bumps and bruises. All are expected to return to action soon and missed the game as a precaution.


In the first half, ETSU wasted little time taking away any hopes the Buffaloes had of picking up an upset win in this battle of backyard neighbors. The Bucs outscored Milligan 15-5 in the first five minutes, and extended that lead to as many of 23 points at 48-25 with 1:44 left in the half.


At the intermission, ETSU led 50-30 and as a team the Bucs were shooting 56 percent from the floor, while holding Milligan to just 37 percent shooting.


The second half was much the same story, with the Bucs pressuring Milligan into poor offensive decisions and capitalizing on those mistakes offensively. The result was ETSU building its lead out to the 113-61 final.


As expected, the numbers were heavily in favor of the Bucs, who outrebounded Milligan 58-32 and shot 53 percent from the floor for the game. ETSU held Milligan to 33 percent from the floor, while holding a 62-20 advantage in points in the paint and a 39-11 edge in points off turnovers.


Along with Williams and Jones, the Bucs got 15 points from sophomore guard Adam Sollazzo (Tampa), while freshman forward Lukas Poderis (Port Richey, Fla.), sophomore forward Isiah Brown (Miami) and junior forward Tommy Hubbard (Boston) each pitched in 14 apiece.


For Milligan, Justin Sylvester scored 16 points, while Cordero Seymour netted 11.


ETSU will return to action in its final exhibition of the preseason next Monday, Nov. 9 against Carson-Newman inside Memorial Center. Tip is set for 7 p.m.