|March 07, 2016||1st||2nd||Final|
|Stats at a Glance||ETSU||UTC|
|FG Percentage||.419 (26-62)||.400 (20-50)|
|3P FG Percentage||.346 (9-26)||.333 (7-21)|
|FT Percentage||.462 (6-13)||.839 (26-31)|
- 14||Tre' McLean
Greg Pryor - 13
- 5||Dee Oldham
- 6||Tre' McLean
Greg Pryor - 3
T.J. CROMER - 2
ASHEVILLE, N.C. (March 7, 2016) – Down 12 points at halftime, the No. 2 seeded ETSU men’s basketball team fought valiantly to within one point of No. 1 seed Chattanooga in the second half, but the Buccaneers’ fell short in their bid for a 10th trip all-time to the NCAA Tournament, falling 73-67 to the Mocs in the finals of the Southern Conference Tournament Monday evening inside the U.S. Cellular Center.
With the win, UTC improved to 29-5 and will represent the SoCon in the NCAA Tournament later this month. Meanwhile, ETSU drops to 23-11 and will now await opportunities to continue playing in other postseason tournaments this season.
“This is a tough way to end the season, but we’re not done yet,” said ETSU head coach Steve Forbes, referring to the possible postseason hopes for his team. “Chattanooga has a nice team and they will represent our conference well in the NCAAs, so hats off to them.”
Trailing 38-26 at halftime, the Bucs pulled to within one possession on multiple occasions in the second half. However, with the score 62-57 and four minutes left in regulation, ETSU junior guard T.J. Cromer (Albany, Ga.) attempted a 3-pointer and believed he was fouled on the play. Instead, after a no call, Cromer was assessed a technical foul, and in the wake of that play, Forbes was also called for a second technical. Chattanooga hit three of the four technical free throws, building their lead to 65-57 and the Mocs never looked back.
For the game, UTC went 26-of-31 from the foul line compared to a 6-of-13 clip for the Bucs. ETSU was also whistled for 25 fouls compared to 16 for the Mocs.
The Bucs were led by a game-high 14 points from sophomore guard Desonta Bradford (Humboldt), while Cromer scored 13 and senior guard Ge’Lawn Guyn (Lexington, Ky.) added 11. For Chattanooga, Greg Pryor and Tre’ McLean each had a team-high 13 points.
The first half did not go well for the Bucs, who led 9-8 but then watched Chattanooga use a 10-0 run to take a 21-13 advantage with 9:27 left before the break. The UTC lead grew to 12 moments later and stayed there at half as the Mocs left the floor up 38-26.
UTC out-rebounded the Bucs 21-13 in the first half and shot 50 percent from the field and 89 percent from the foul line (8-of-9). Meanwhile, ETSU struggled offensively, shooting 37 percent from the field and 33 percent from 3-point range.
In the second half, ETSU surged back into the game thanks to a 12-2 run midway through the half that was powered by six straight points from junior forward A.J. Merriweather (Jackson). Despite even getting to within one at 50-49, the Bucs were never able to gain a lead in the second half.
The Bucs defensive effort was much better in the second half, as they held the Mocs to 32 percent shooting from the floor and a 23.1 percent clip from beyond the arc.
For the game, the Mocs out-rebounded the Bucs 37-33, but ETSU outscored UTC in most other statistical categories, including points in the paint (30-20), points off turnovers (18-2), fast break points (11-5 and bench points (32-19).
The Bucs are now 3-3 all-time against Chattanooga in SoCon final games, and dropped to 32-20 all-time in the league tourney.
The Bucs will now wait to hear word for when they will play again this season. For more on ETSU men’s basketball throughout the postseason, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the men’s hoops link.