Smith returns to net game-high 25 points in exhibition victory
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Nov. 2, 2010) - Senior Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.) made a triumphant return and the ETSU men's basketball team showcased its experience and athleticism in a 96-61 trouncing of Division II foe Carson-Newman in the 2010-11 exhibition opener for the Buccaneers Tuesday night at the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center.
Smith, who missed much of last season with an injury and was granted a medical redshirt, returned to action and scored a game-high 25 points in the contest. Meanwhile, the Bucs - who led by as many as 21 points in the first half - displayed their fullcourt, trapping defense in the opening minutes of the second half to power a 23-0 run and put the game away.
"The first thing that jumps out when you look at the box score was a great balance of production - especially from the starters," said ETSU head coach Murry Bartow, whose team is coming off back-to-back NCAA Tournament trips and returns all but one major contributor from last year's team. "But across the board everyone contributed. I wasn't real pleased with the last six or seven minutes of the first half, but the rest of the game I saw a lot of good things."
While Smith led the way offensively, the Bucs also got 17 points from senior guard Micah Williams (Manchester), 12 points from senior guard Justin Tubbs (Trussville, Ala.), and 10 points apiece from junior forward Isiah Brown (Miami, Fla.) and sophomore guard Sheldon Cooley (Tampa, Fla.). Meanwhile, Brown also posted a game-high eight rebounds and six blocks, with junior guard Adam Sollazzo (Tampa, Fla.) dished out a game-high 10 assists.
In the first half, the Bucs pulled out to an early lead thanks to a 13-0 run to open the game. That advantage grew to as many as 21 points at 36-15 with six minutes left in the half, but the Eagles managed to claw their way back into by outscoring the Bucs 16-11 the rest of the way to trail 47-33 at the break.
Part of C-N's ability to stay in the game came thanks to their 9-of-24 (37.5 percent) shooting from beyond the arc. However, the Bucs posted a 52.6 percent clip (20-of-38) from the field and out-rebounded the Eagles 26-20 to still hold a comfortable lead.
In the second half, the Bucs never let the Eagles contemplate an upset. Going to their trapping, fullcourt defence, ETSU got multiple steals and several easy baskets to build a lead of 80-43 with just over 10 minutes left in the game. From there, the Bucs put the game on cruise control the rest of the way.
For the Eagles, Ishmael Sanders had a team-high 17 points, while Antonio Sullivan and Erwin Staten added 12 apiece.
The Bucs will return to action on Monday, Nov. 8 when they host Tusculum in their final exhibition game of the season. Tip is set for 7 p.m. in the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center. For more on ETSU men's basketball throughout the season, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the men's basketball link.