JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Feb. 13, 2011) - Senior guard Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.) scored a career high 29 points in a double-double effort, and his fellow classmates enjoyed a victorious Senior Day as the ETSU men's basketball team cruised to a 75-53 win over North Florida in Atlantic Sun Conference play Sunday inside the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center.
In the 2010-11 home finale for the Buccaneers, Smith and fellow seniors Micah Williams (Manchester), Justin Tubbs (Trussville, Ala.) and De'Shaud Johnson (Riverdale, Ga.) were all in the starting lineup and blitzed out to a 28-11 lead.
ETSU never looked back at that point, as the Bucs improved to 19-9 overall, 14-3 in A-Sun play. Meanwhile, UNF dropped to 10-17, 7-9.
"It seems appropriate that Mike played this way in his final game at the Dome - he just wasn't going to let us lose today," said ETSU head coach Murry Bartow, whose team has won 15 of its last 17 games. "He has been so good for us throughout his career, and tonight was another example of that. I can't say enough about all our seniors, they are all great guys, they have won a lot of games for us, and they're all going to get their degrees.
"I think as a team we are determined to work as hard as we can and get those guys back to the NCAAs."
While Smith finished with 29 points and 11 rebounds to pick up his 14th career double-double, junior Isiah Brown (Miami, Fla.) netted 18 points, and Williams pitched in 15. As a team, the Bucs shot 46 percent from the floor and held UNF to 33 percent from the field - and just 19 percent from 3-point range.
The Bucs forced 16 UNF turnovers and ETSU shot an impressive 19-of-21 (91 percent) from the free throw line.
In the first half, ETSU got off to a great start as all four seniors were in the starting lineup to begin the game. Over the first 12 minutes, the Buccaneers built a lead of as many as 21 points at 32-11, but at that point UNF put together a small offensive run and outscored the Bucs 12-2 over a five minutes stretch to make it 34-23 with 2:59 left on the clock.
From there, ETSU ultimately led 41-26 and Smith had already scored 18 points. In his last six games, Smith has scored a total of 86 points in the first half - an average of 14.3 points per game in the first 20 minutes.
The second half was much of the same for the Bucs, who went on to lead by as many as 28 points at 74-46 with just 5:07 left in the contest.
For UNF, Matt Sauey and Andy Diaz were the only players to reach double figures, scoring 10 points apiece in the loss.
ETSU will now begin a three-game road swing to end the regular season, beginning with a visit to Belmont on Thursday evening at 8 p.m. Games at Lipscomb and Campbell will follow.
For more on ETSU men's hoops, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the men's hoops link.