COOKEVILLE, Tenn. (Nov. 27, 2013) – Dominated physically inside the paint and under the basket, the ETSU men’s basketball team had no answers for Tennessee Tech’s big men as the Buccaneers fell to the Golden Eagles 98-83 in non-conference hoops action Wednesday afternoon inside the Eblen Center.
Tennessee Tech out-rebounded ETSU 45-26 overall and 17-5 on the offensive glass, and the Golden Eagles got a combined 62 points from its posts and forwards en route to the runaway victory. With the loss, ETSU drops to 2-5 overall, while Tech improved to 4-4 on the year.
“Rebounding was the difference in the game,” said ETSU head coach Murry Bartow, whose team gave up a season high for points. “We tried zone. We tried man. But they just killed us on the glass. We shoot 51 percent and score 83, but it’s hard to get on a real run offensively if you can’t get stops, and we didn’t get any stops at all.”
Tennessee Tech forward Dennis Ogbe scored a career-high and game-high 27 points, and was joined in double figures by fellow forwards Dwan Caldwell and Ladon Carter with 16 and 13 points, respectively.
For the Bucs, senior forward Kinard Gadsden-Gilliard (Georgetown, S.C.) had a team-high 20 points, while junior guard Rashawn Rembert (Tampa, Fla.) added 14, freshman guard A.J. Merriweather (Jackson) pitched in 13, and senior forward Hunter Harris (Nashville) netted 12. The Bucs did shoot well from the field, but that could not offset the issue of keeping the Golden Eagles off the glass.
In the first half, Tennessee Tech dominated the paint and used their athleticism to out-rebound the Bucs 21-13 overall, including an 8-3 edge on the offensive glass. The result was a TTU lead of as many as nine points at 26-17 with just under 10 minutes left before the intermission.
While the Bucs managed to cut the deficit to six at 45-39 by halftime, Ogbe ended the first 20 minutes with an impressive 17 points, joining fellow inside players Carter and Caldwell to combine for 34 of the team’s 45 points.
ETSU kept it close in the first half by shooting 60 percent from 3-point range and 73 percent from the foul line, but as a team it was the most points given up by the Bucs’ defense in the first half this season. One bright spot for the Bucs in the first half was the return of junior forward Ron Giplaye (Lowell, Mass.), who underwent open heart surgery earlier this year and has been sidelined since.
Following the break, the story did not get any better for the Bucs, as the Golden Eagles built a lead of as many as 16 points at 66-50 with 12:37 left. From there, the Bucs would cut the lead to nine at 78-67 following a basket by junior guard Jalen Riley (Racine, Wisc.), but that would be as close as ETSU would get the rest of the way.
The Bucs will return home Saturday afternoon for the final of three games inside Freedom Hall Civic Center as part of the First Bank and Trust Company Roundball Showcase. ETSU will take on former Southern Conference rival and current Conference USA member Marshall. Tip set for 4 p.m.
For more on ETSU men’s basketball throughout the 2013-14 season, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the men’s hoops link.