Bucs await next opponent in CollegeInsider.com Tournament
JOHNSON CITY (March 15, 2011) - Senior guard Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.) set a new career high and tied a tournament record with 32 points, leading the ETSU men's basketball team to a 76-63 win over former Southern Conference rival Furman in the first round of the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament Tuesday evening inside the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center.
The Bucs, who improve to 23-11 on the year, led by 12 points at the half and by as many as 22 points in the second half en route to the victory. Meanwhile, Furman ends its season at 22-11, as the Paladins committed 17 turnovers in the contest and never held the advantage once.
ETSU must now wait for the other first round CIT games to be completed Tuesday and Wednesday evening before learning of their next opponent, as well as when and where that game will be played. The Bucs should know more within the next 24 hours.
"I was very pleased with our energy tonight and it really feels good to get another win," said ETSU head coach Murry Bartow, whose team is playing in postseason play for the third year in a row and the fourth time in five seasons. "Mike Smith was just great again, and so many guys gave us something tonight. I was also really happy with Justin Tubbs (Trussville, Ala.) and DeShaud Johnson (Riverdale, Ga.) tonight. They played very well."
While Smith finished with his impressive 32-point effort, Tubbs posted 22 points in the victory. Meanwhile, Johnson started at the point, dishing out a game-high four assists and scoring five points in 22 minutes.
While that trio powered the offense, the Bucs' defensive effort was equally impressive, holding SoCon first-team selection Amu Saaka to a season low three points.
Smith was unbelievable in the first half, scoring the Bucs first 12 points and finishing with 21 in only 14 minutes of game action before the intermission. The senior's efforts led to a 15-point ETSU lead at 35-20 with 6:11 left in the half.
From there, Furman managed to cut the lead to eight at 38-30 with just over a minute left before the break. However, the Bucs pulled back ahead by 12 at 43-31 thanks in part to a traditional 3-point play from Tubbs with .8 left on the clock, making it 43-31 at the break.
In the second half, the Bucs kept the pressure on offensively, racing out to a 22-point lead at 62-40 with 11;45 left in the game. But at that point, Furman woke up with a 14-0 offensive run to cut the advantage to 62-54 with 7:21 remaining. The Paladins would not get any closer, though, as the Bucs pulled back ahead by as many as 15 before winning by 13.
The Paladins were led by Jordan Miller and Charlie Reddick, both of whom scored a team-high 12 points.
ETSU shot 51 percent from the field and 39 percent from 3-point range, while hitting on an 87 percent clip from the foul line. The Paladins shot 42 percent from the field and just 60 percent from the free throw line.
For more on ETSU men's basketball as the Bucs prepare for the second round or quarterfinals of the CIT, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the men's hoops link.