JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Jan. 14, 2010) - For the third time in five seasons, the ETSU men's basketball team looked on as the Stetson Hatters came into the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center and left with an Atlantic Sun Conference victory.
The Buccaneers relinquished an 11-point second half lead in front of 4,003 fans at the Mini-Dome, as Stetson went 10-of-25 from 3-point range to manage the 54-52 victory Thursday night. ETSU had a shot at the end to tie the game as Stetson's A.J. Smith missed the front end of a one-and-one, but junior forward Tommy Hubbard (Boston) went coast-to-coast only to have his layup attempt fall short at the buzzer.
"It's a tough loss. We didn't play well," said ETSU head coach Murry Bartow, whose team dropped to 8-9 overall, 4-2 in league play. "I want to commend Derek (Waugh) and his team. They played a good game. We felt OK after the first half, but we obviously struggled on the offensive end in the second half. I can't tell you how disappointed I am with this one."
ETSU led by eight 27-19 at the break, and though the game was not the up-and-down type that the Bucs would enjoy, they still held a somewhat comfortable lead.
However, after a Justin Tubbs (Trussville, Ala.) 3-pointer found the bottom of the net to open the second half and make it 30-19 in favor of ETSU, Stetson went on a 19-5 run over the next nine minutes to take a 38-35 lead. The Bucs responded to regain the edge at 43-40, but back-to-back 3-pointers by Mark Lohuis and Brandon Williams made it 46-43 with just over six minutes left on the clock.
ETSU tied the game at 46, but from there was never able to take the lead again. Even so, the Bucs did have a pair of opportunities to tie the game, as freshman guard Sheldon Cooley (Tampa) went to the line for a one-and-one with 21 seconds left and the game at 52-50 in favor of the Hatters. He missed the front end, however, and after a pair of makes by Smith that put the score at 54-50, the Bucs final score of the game came on a layup by junior forward Micah Williams (Manchester) with seven seconds left.
Stetson, which improved to 4-11, 2-5, was led by 12 points apiece from Lohuis and Williams, while Smith and Ridge Graham finished with 10 apiece. Meanwhile, the Bucs got a game high 13 from Micah Williams, while Tubbs finished with 12.
The Hatters shot 42 percent from the floor and 40 percent from 3-point range, while the Bucs hit on just 38 percent from the floor and a 2-of-14 clip (14 percent) from 3-point range. Stetson turned the ball over 17 times and was outrebounded 34-28.
ETSU returns to action Saturday afternoon at 4 p.m. against Florida Gulf Coast. For more on ETSU men's basketball throughout the season, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the men's hoops link.