|February 25, 2017||1st||2nd||Final|
East Tennessee State
|Stats at a Glance||ETSU||WCU|
|FG Percentage||.457 (21-46)||.393 (22-56)|
|3P FG Percentage||.214 (3-14)||.200 (2-10)|
|FT Percentage||.821 (23-28)||.545 (6-11)|
- 18||Marc Gosselin
- 7||Marc Gosselin
- 5||Devin Peterson
- 3||Devin Peterson
- 2||Marc Gosselin
CULLOWHEE, N.C. (Feb. 25, 2017) – The ETSU men’s basketball team never allowed Western Carolina to even entertain thoughts of an upset.
Holding an opponent to its lowest point total in a first half this season, the Buccaneers took a 32-12 halftime lead and led wire-to-wire in a 68-52 win over the Catamounts Saturday night at the Ramsey Center. Senior guard T.J. Cromer (Albany, Ga.) scored a game high 18 points, while senior forward Tevin Glass (Norcross, Ga.) and junior forward David Burrell (Milwaukee) added 14 and 11 points, respectively, to lead the Bucs’ effort.
With the win, ETSU (24-6 overall, 14-3 SoCon) locked up at least a share of the SoCon championship, marking the program’s first regular season title since the 2006-07 season in the Atlantic Sun Conference. Meanwhile, Western Carolina dropped to 8-22, 3-14. The win also sets up a showdown for the Bucs at UNC Greensboro on Monday night with an outright SoCon title on the line.
“I thought our defensive effort in the first half was really good,” said ETSU head coach Steve Forbes. “We came in here and did what we needed to do. Now we go to UNCG with a chance to do something special. It won’t be easy, but it will be a lot of fun.”
The ETSU defense was simply stifling in the first half, holding the Catamounts to just 12 points and a 23 percent shooting percentage (6-of-26) from the floor. Forcing 11 turnovers and outscoring WCU 13-0 on those miscues, the Bucs used a 17-0 offensive run midway through the half to build a 23-4 lead.
From there, the Bucs maintained that advantage before Cromer capped the half with a 3-pointer to make it 32-12 at the break. In the first half, the Bucs’ bench outscored WCU 14-2 and ETSU held a 16-4 advantage on points in the paint. It took the Catamounts 17 minutes of action to reach double figures.
In the second half, Western Carolina came out with more offensive urgency, scoring more points in the first five minutes of play than they did in the entire first half. Outscoring the Bucs 16-8 over that time frame, WCU made it 40-28 in favor of ETSU with 15:09 left in regulation.
After pulling back ahead by 18 at 50-32 following a dunk by Burrell, the Bucs’ offense struggled to score and went nearly five minutes without a single point. During that time, the Catamounts attempted another rally and got to within 11 at 50-39.
However, that would be as close as the Cats would get. For the game, the Bucs shot 82 percent from the free throw line (23-of-28) and the ETSU bench outscored WCU 20-9. The Catamounts ultimately shot 39 percent for the floor and just 20 percent from 3-point range.
The Bucs will now prepare for their regular season finale on the road Monday night against UNC Greensboro at 7 p.m. A win would give the Bucs the outright SoCon title and the No. 1 seed in the league tournament later in the week. For more on ETSU men’s basketball throughout the 2016-17 season, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the men’s hoops link.