SPARTANBURG, S.C. (Jan. 28, 2013) – In a reverse of the ETSU men’s basketball team’s normal trend this season, the Buccaneers played a strong first half only to see things unravel after the intermission Monday evening against USC Upstate.
Despite leading 34-33 at the break, ETSU looked on as the Spartans put together a 13-2 run to open the second half and ultimately scored 55 points after the break to pull away with an 88-71 victory in Atlantic Sun Conference play at the Hodge Center.
With the loss, ETSU drops to 6-16 overall, 4-5 in A-Sun play. Meanwhile, Upstate improved to 12-10, 6-3.
“The second half was just bad all around,” said ETSU head coach Murry Bartow. “We are a young team so you have these ups and downs. But Upstate has a very good team and you can’t let up against them. When we defend well then we play well, and tonight we didn’t defend well – especially in the second half.”
For the game, the Spartans shot 53 percent – which included a 62 percent clip in the second half. USC Upstate’s junior forward Torrey Craig led the Spartans’ offensive attack with a game-high 23 points, while three other Spartans’ reached double figures.
Meanwhile, the Bucs committed 17 turnovers in the game and was outscored 30-18 in the paint.
After struggling in the first half during recent games, the Bucs actually got off to a much better start against the Spartans. ETSU led by as many as six in the first half and ultimately held a 34-33 edge at the break.
The Bucs outrebounded the Spartans 22-14 thanks in part to a nine-rebound effort by Kinard Gadsden-Gilliard (Georgetown, S.C.) before the intermission. In addition, ETSU shot 7-of-9 from the free throw line compared to a 3-for-10 clip by USC Upstate in the first half.
Unfortunately for the Bucs, the second half was a different story. Upstate came out with a better offensive attack and quickly used a 13-2 run powered by seven points from junior forward Jodd Maxey to build a 10-point lead at 46-36. The lead swelled to 12 before ETSU’s comeback tendencies returned.
The Bucs answered with a 9-2 run to make it 61-56, but that would be as close as ETSU could get the rest of the way.
Gadsden-Gilliard posted another double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds, while senior guard Jarvis Jones (Memphis) netted a team-high 19 points, while freshman forward Lester Wilson (Knoxville) added another 16 points in the losing effort.
ETSU will return home for a pair of games this weekend, beginning with Thursday night’s matchup against Northern Kentucky at 7 p.m., followed by a meeting with Lipscomb at 4 p.m. on Saturday. For more on ETSU men’s basketball throughout the 2012-13 season, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the men’s hoops link.