DELAND, Fla. (Dec. 1, 2011) – A nightmarish start to the second half doomed the ETSU men’s basketball team Thursday night inside the Edmunds Center, as the Stetson Hatters used a 24-7 offensive run to build a 22-point lead and ultimately drop the Buccaneers 73-65 in the Atlantic Sun Conference opener for both teams.
The Buccaneers (3-3 overall, 0-1 A-Sun) dropped their second straight game on this current three-game road swing, while Stetson improved to 4-3 overall, 1-0 in A-Sun play.
“This was obviously a very disappointing game and effort,” said ETSU head coach Murry Bartow. “Sometimes you lose and it’s because the other team plays better than you. That was the case at Virginia Tech, and then at Troy when they made a lot of plays to beat us in that game.
“But tonight our first half offensively was abysmal. We just didn’t play well. Then the first eight minutes of the second half … I just don’t know what to say. A three-point game turned into a 20-point game quickly. I always say that at this point of the year you don’t worry as much about the record, but what I am worried about is how we played tonight.”
In the first half, ETSU struggled to find a rhythm offensively and Stetson used the Bucs’ slow start to build a lead of as many as nine points at 25-16, thanks primarily to a 7-0 offensive run late in the half. However, ETSU clawed its way back into the game by outscoring the Hatters 9-3 to make it 28-25 at the break.
The second half started as a nightmare for the Bucs, as the Hatters went on a 10-0 run early on and ultimately used a 24-7 spurt to make it 58-36 with 9:12 left in the game. From there, Stetson maintained a 20-point plus edge until the 7:26 mark, but at that point ETSU did manage a rally thanks to a 17-2 run that made it 67-60 with 30 seconds left in the game.
But from there, Stetson hit a basket and went 4-for-4 from the foul line to complete the eight-point victory.
For the game, a key stat that hurt the Bucs’ effort was in the paint, as Stetson held an impressive 45-28 advantage on the boards. Meanwhile, Stetson shot a blistering 46 percent (11-of-24) from 3-point range, as ETSU struggled at the foul line with a 54.2 percent (13-of-24) clip.
The Bucs also committed 16 turnovers, compared to Stetson’s 23.
Individually, the Bucs got a team-high 20 points from senior forward Isiah Brown (Miami), while senior guard Adam Sollazzo (Tampa) pitched in 13 points, and junior guard Marcus Dubose (Hartsville, Ky.) added 11.
Stetson got a team-high 20 points from Aaron Graham, who led four Hatters in double figures.
The Bucs will return to action Saturday afternoon at FGCU, with the tip set for 5:15 p.m., in another Atlantic Sun Conference matchup. For more on ETSU men’s basketball, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the men’s hoops link.