BUIES CREEK, N.C. (Feb. 24, 2011) - With three of its major contributors sitting on the bench in street clothes, the ETSU men's basketball team got a career high 22 points from junior guard Adam Sollazzo (Tampa) and dominated the offensive glass en route to a 66-59 victory over Campbell in Atlantic Sun Conference hoops action Thursday night at Gore Arena.
The short-handed Bucs, who conclude their regular season schedule at 21-10 overall, 16-4 in the A-Sun, played without the services of senior guards Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.) and Micah Williams (Manchester), as well as sophomore guard Sheldon Cooley (Tampa). Smith missed the game with a left ankle injury, Williams was out with a right shoulder sprain, and Cooley sat out due to an illness. All three are expected to be back for next week's A-Sun Tournament quarterfinal game Wednesday evening in Macon, Ga.
"I'm just incredibly proud of our guys," said ETSU head coach Murry Bartow, whose team will be the No. 2 seed in next week's tournament. "We talked to the guys long and hard about there being no excuses tonight. The seven guys that were in there all contributed and made plays. To come out with another road win is big - it gives us nine road wins this year and 21 total.
"I was looking today and there are 350 Division I teams, with only 29 of those with 21 wins or more. I think that's something to be proud of."
Along with Sollazzo's 22 points, the Bucs also got 21 points and eight rebounds from junior forward Isiah Brown (Miami, Fla.), another 14 points from senior guard Justin Tubbs (Trussville, Ala.) and sophomore J.C. Ward (Marietta, Ga.) started the game and added eight rebounds.
ETSU out-rebounded the Camels 38-21 on the night, and held an impressive 18-4 edge in offensive boards. The Bucs outscored Campbell 20-0 on second chance points, and held a 32-16 advantage in the paint.
Both teams battled back and forth in the first half, with nine ties and five lead changes in the first 20 minutes of play. The Buccaneers utilized its size - with forwards Curtis Wilkinson (Bude, Miss.) and Lukas Poderis (Tampa) getting substantial minutes - and elected to go with three inside players much of the time, outscoring Campbell 26-4 in the paint.
The result was a 33-30 ETSU lead at the intermission, with Brown scoring 12 points and Sollazzo adding 10 in the first half. ETSU shot 41 percent from the floor in the first half, and outrebounded Campbell 21-12.
In the second half, the Bucs twice led by as many as nine points, but saw Campbell cut the lead to just four at 57-53 with four minutes left on the clock. From there, ETSU responded by going 7-of-10 from the free throw line to complete the victory. In the second half, the Bucs were a strong 21-of-28 from the free throw line.
The Bucs will return to action next Wednesday in the A-Sun Tournament quarterfinals. Tip at the Mercer University Center is set for 9 p.m., but the Bucs' opponent is still to be determined. For more on ETSU men's basketball as the Bucs head to the postseason, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the men's hoops link.