NASHVILLE (Feb. 20, 2012) – Junior guard Marcus Dubose (Hartsville, S.C.) hit a decisive 3-pointer with 33 seconds left on the clock and the ETSU men’s basketball team scored the final seven points of the game to drop Lipscomb 66-57 in Atlantic Sun Conference men’s basketball action Monday night inside Allen Arena.
With the win, the Buccaneers improved to 14-13 overall, 8-8 in A-Sun play, and wrapped up a spot in the conference tournament later this year in Macon, Ga. Meanwhile, Lipscomb dropped to 12-16, 7-9.
The Bucs were led offensively by a trio of players. Senior forward Isiah Brown (Miami, Fla.) finished with a double-double thanks to his 19-point, 11-rebound effort. Meanwhile, junior guard Sheldon Cooley (Tampa) scored 17 points to go with four assists and three steals, and Dubose finished with 16 points thanks to a 4-of-7 shooting night from 3-point range.
“That’s a big win for us, and we really had some guys step up and make plays late,” said ETSU head coach Murry Bartow, whose team never trailed in the game. “Isiah, Sheldon and Marcus came up with huge games for us, but we also had guys come off the bench and give us valuable minutes. This win wasn’t about coaching. It was all because of our guys making big plays when we needed them.”
In the first half, ETSU opened the scoring with seven straight points, but watched as Lipscomb battled back to tie the game at 11-11. From there, ETSU used an 8-0 run to go up 19-11, and later used another 7-0 spurt to ultimately lead 26-17 at the break.
Brown led the way for ETSU in the early going with 11 points, while the Bucs’ defense forced 10 Lipscomb turnovers and picked up six steals in the first 20 minutes.
The Bucs lost senior guard Tommy Hubbard (Boston) early in the game, as he went up to steal a pass and collided with Lipscomb’s Deonte Alexander. On the play, Hubbard lost his balance and fell hard, hitting his head on the floor before landing on his back.
Hubbard was conscious following the play and went to the training room for tests, but he missed the rest of the contest and will be evaluated further in the coming days.
After the break, ETSU led by as many as 13 after scoring the first four points of the half. However, Lipscomb battled back over the next 16 minutes to make it 56-54 with 2:58 left on the clock.
From there, Lipscomb stayed within two at 59-57, but at that point, Dubose sank his fourth 3-pointer of the game as the shot clock wound down to make it 62-57 with 33.3 seconds left in the contest.
The Bucs got two big defensive stops from there, while free throws from Cooley and freshman forward John Walton (Memphis), as well as a dunk later from Cooley closed out the game’s scoring.
Walton finished with three blocks, three rebounds, four steals and two points in 21 minutes of action, making the most of his playing time following Hubbard’s departure and after Lukas Poderis fouled out late in the second half.
ETSU returns to action Thursday night, taking on Stetson at 7 p.m. inside the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center. For more on ETSU men’s basketball throughout the 2011-12 season, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the men’s hoops link.