|January 14, 2016||1st||2nd||Final|
|Stats at a Glance||ETSU||SAM|
|FG Percentage||.518 (29-56)||.534 (31-58)|
|3P FG Percentage||.391 (9-23)||.333 (4-12)|
|FT Percentage||.636 (14-22)||.550 (11-20)|
- 19||Darius Jones-Gibson
- 9||Iman Johnson
- 6||Christen Cunningham
- 3||Marcus Johnson
- 3||Jamal Shabazz
Dakota Quinn - 1
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (Jan. 14, 2016) – Despite turning the ball over 20 times and allowing Samford to shoot 53 percent from the floor, the ETSU men’s basketball team made plays down the stretch to win for the sixth straight time, dropping the Bulldogs 81-77 in Southern Conference action Thursday at the Pete Hanna Center.
The Buccaneers were led by three players in double figures, as junior guard T.J. Cromer (Albany, Ga.) posted a game-high 19 points, senior guard Ge’Lawn Guyn netted 17, and senior forward Lester Wilson (Knoxville) pitched in 16 in the winning effort. With the victory, ETSU improves to 11-6 overall, 4-0 in SoCon play and remains in sole possession of first place, while the Bulldogs dropped to 10-8, 1-4.
“The bottom line is we won,” said ETSU head coach Steve Forbes. “Three keys we talked about before the game was we had to out-rebound them, we had to shoot more free throws, and we couldn’t turn the ball over. We did two of those three, but turning the ball over 20 times against a team like this is a bad thing. We made enough plays to get the win, but it was a battle.”
For the game, ETSU shot 52 percent from the floor and out-rebounded Samford 35-33, outscoring the Bulldogs 24-12 in fast break points. However, Samford outscored the Bucs 46-33 in the paint and finished the game with 19 assists to just 14 turnovers.
In the first half, the Bucs started out hot from 3-point range, as Cromer and Wilson combined to hit four threes in the opening seven minutes of play, as ETSU built a 23-14 lead with 11 minutes left before the break.
Unfortunately for the Bucs, Samford would not go away and outscored ETSU 12-2 over the next four minutes to take the lead at 27-26. The game remained close throughout the remainder of the half, and the Bucs ended the opening period ahead 40-38 thanks to a layup by Guyn as the clock expired.
The Bucs shot 52 percent from the floor in the opening half, but Samford was equally impressive with a 59 percent clip from the field, going inside to score baskets almost at will. In addition, the Bucs struggled with turnovers, committing 11 miscues in the opening 20 minutes.
After the break, the Bucs again used four 3-pointers to build a 59-48 lead with 12:18 left in the game, but the Bulldogs would not go away. Samford rallied to outscore the Bucs 18-6 over the next seven minutes of action to take the lead 67-65.
The game stayed close throughout the remainder of the contest, but a layup by Guyn with just seconds left made it 79-76. Followed by a defensive stop, the Bucs held on for the win after a pair of free throws from Cromer with 7.4 seconds left. There were 13 ties and 17 lead changes in the game.
For the game, Samford got a 17-point effort from Darius Jones-Gibson, while Wyatt Walker netted 14.
The Bucs will now travel to Chattanooga to take on their SoCon rivals at 5 p.m. on Saturday. For more on ETSU men’s basketball throughout the 2015-16 season, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the hoops link.