JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Dec. 30, 2010) - Holding one of the nation's best shooting teams well under its average this season, the ETSU men's basketball team enjoyed a victorious homecoming Thursday night inside the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center, dropping Atlantic Sun Conference foe Campbell 72-59.
The Camels entered the game 12th in the nation in shooting percentage at 49 percent a game, but shot just 39 percent from the floor against the Buccaneers. Meanwhile, the Bucs placed four players in double figures and shot 46 percent from the floor.
"Our early schedule could have either broken us or gotten us ready for the league schedule," said ETSU head coach Murry Bartow, whose team improved to 6-7 overall, 1-1 in A-Sun play after spending the entire month of December away from the Dome. "I hope that tonight shows that it helped us get ready.
"I think you have to start with holding (Campbell) to 39 percent shooting from the floor. They have been averaging near 50 percent for the season and are one of the best shooting teams in the nation. We also got big scoring games from guys like Adam Sollazzo and Justin Tubbs."
Sollazzo, a junior guard from Tampa, had a career high 17 points on the night, while Tubbs, a senior guard from Trussville, Ala., posted a game-high 21 in the winning effort. Meanwhile, ETSU's Isiah Brown (Miami, Fla.) and Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.) added 13 and 10, respectively.
Campbell (7-4, 1-1) got a team-high 19 points from Eric Griffin, while Junard Hartley had 15 and Lorne Merthie netted 11.
It was a game of offensive runs in the early going, as the Camels raced out to an early 6-0 advantage only to have the Bucs respond with a 10-0 spurt of their own. Campbell then got a 5-0 run to retake the lead at 11-10, but ETSU manufactured a 9-0 run to take their largest lead of the half at 19-11 with 11:09 left before the break.
From there, Campbell methodically battled back into the game and back-to-back 3-pointers from Anthony Horton and Eric Griffin gave the Camels the advantage at 26-24 with just over three minutes left in the half. The Bucs enjoyed a strong final three minutes however, highlighted by a 10-2 run that ended with a long-range bomb by Smith at the buzzer, making it 37-30 ETSU at the break.
In the first half, both teams shot 46 percent from the floor and were even 17-17 on the boards. The ETSU edge came thanks to a 69 percent clip (9-of-13) from the free throw line, compared to 29 percent (2-of-7) for Campbell. ETSU also shot 57 percent from 3-point range (4-of-7).
After the intermission, Sollazzo took over, scoring 12 points of ETSU's 15 points at one stretch and helping the Bucs build a 58-41 lead with just over eight minutes left. Campbell would get no closer than 12 the rest of the way.
For the game, ETSU outscored Campbell 24-11 off turnovers, while the Bucs also shot a strong 43 percent from beyond the 3-point line. The Bucs also committed just 11 turnovers against a Campbell team that has thrived on forcing turnovers on steals.
The Bucs will return to action on the road Monday evening at Mercer. Game time is set for 7 p.m. For more on ETSU men's basketball, visit ETSUBucs.com.