JOHNSON CITY (Jan. 4, 2011) – The ETSU men’s basketball team found the perfect way to ease the mourning heart of its head coach Murry Bartow.
Give him a win over USC Upstate.
Bartow, whose legendary coaching father Gene Bartow passed away on Tuesday evening after a nearly three-year battle with cancer, looked on as his Buccaneers raced out to an 18-point halftime lead and then finished off an 88-73 victory over the Spartans in Atlantic Sun Conference action Wednesday evening inside the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center.
“Today was difficult and the last 24 hours were tough with the news about my dad,” said Bartow, whose team improved to 6-7 overall, 1-2 in A-Sun play. “But I was proud of my guys and the way they came out ready to play. We had a lot riding on this game already because we started the year 0-2 in our conference, and then my dad passing away just added even more motivational factors.
“Honestly, I would have been shocked if we had lost considering all of that.”
The Bucs certainly did respond to the circumstances, shooting 56 percent from the floor and 50 percent from 3-point range, while forcing Upstate into 24 turnovers off of 12 steals. ETSU also placed six players in double figures, with junior guard Sheldon Cooley (Tampa) leading the way with a season high 20 points and senior guard Adam Sollazzo (Tampa) netting 18 points and dishing out four assists.
ETSU also got a career high 14 points to go with six rebounds from junior forward Lukas Poderis (Port Richey, Fla.), while junior guard Jarvis Jones (Memphis) added 11 points, and senior guard Tommy Hubbard (Boston) and junior guard Marcus Dubose (Hartsville, S.C.) both scored 10.
In the first half, the Bucs relied on their aggressive, trapping full-court defense to force 16 turnovers by the Spartans and race out to a 29-11 lead over the first 12 minutes of action, ultimately leading 39-21 at the break. The Bucs shot a strong 50 percent from the field and 3-point line, while holding Upstate to 35 percent from the field and 20 percent from long range.
Cooley led the way for the Bucs in the first half, netting a team-high 15 points on 6-of-11 shooting. ETSU also picked up eight steals and dominated the glass 18-13.
In the second half, both teams turned on the offensive firepower and netted a combined 101 points (52-49 in favor of Upstate). However, the Spartans could get no closer than 13 points. Upstate got a game-high 29 points from forward Torrey Craig to lead their attack.
However, for the game the Spartans shot 42 percent from the floor and just 35 percent from 3-point range. The Bucs held a 44-26 advantage on points in the paint.
ETSU will continue with A-Sun action on Saturday, taking on Mercer at 4 p.m. inside the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center. For more on ETSU men’s hoops throughout the 2011-12 season, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the men’s hoops link.
Gene Bartow Funeral Arrangements
The Bartow family will be receiving friends at Bartow Arena on the UAB campus from 3 to 6 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 8. A memorial service is scheduled for 11 a.m. on Monday, Jan. 9, at the Vestavia Hills United Methodist Church, with burial services to follow.
Memorial gifts can be made to the Gene Bartow Fund of the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center in Birmingham, Ala.