|February 16, 2019||1st||2nd||Final|
|Stats at a Glance||MER||ETSU|
|FG Percentage||.386 (22-57)||.475 (28-59)|
|3P FG Percentage||.375 (9-24)||.278 (5-18)|
|FT Percentage||.640 (16-25)||.771 (27-35)|
- 18||Daivien Williamson
- 6||Lucas N'Guessan
- 5||Tray Boyd III
Fardaws Aimaq - 1
Ethan Stair - 1
Djordje Dimitrijevic - 1
Marcus Cohen - 1
- 4||Lucas N'Guessan
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Feb. 16, 2019) -- The ETSU men’s basketball team closed the first half on a 24-5 run and the rout was on, as the Buccaneers cruised to an 88-69 win over Mercer in front of 5,146 fans inside Freedom Hall on Saturday.
The Bucs used a balanced scoring attack to pick up their 10th straight win over the Bears as eight different players scored at least eight points, including freshman guard Daivien Williamson (Winston-Salem, N.C.) coming off the bench for the first time since Dec. 15 to finish with a team-high 16 points on 5-of-8 shooting. Junior guard Tray Boyd III (Memphis, Tenn.) also gave the Blue and Gold a spark off the bench as he posted 10 points and a career-high 11 assists (all in the second half), marking his first double-double in a Buccaneer uniform. Junior post players Jeromy Rodriguez (Santiago, Dominican Republic) and Lucas N’Guessan (De Lier, Netherlands) also scored in double figures as they combined for 26 points and 15 rebounds. Rodriguez scored all of his points in the second half on 6-of-8 shooting, while N’Guessan added 12 points, eight rebounds and four blocks, along with going 6-of-7 at the free throw line.
Overall, the Bucs collected 40 points from their bench, while outscoring the Bears by 20 in the paint, 44-24. ETSU shot 48 percent from the field (28-59) and went 77 percent at the free throw line (27-35). Williamson, N’Guessan, Patrick Good (Johnson City, Tenn.), Mladen Armus (Belgrade, Serbia) and Myles Rasnick (Knoxville, Tenn.) combined to go 22-for-24 at the stripe. Williamson was a perfect 6-of-6, Good – who ended with nine points – went 3-of-3, Rasnick knocked down both of his attempts, and after going 1-of-6 at the line on Thursday, Armus ended 5-of-6 en route to finishing with nine points and six rebounds. Joining the Blue and Gold with at least eight points were guards Bo Hodges (Nashville, Tenn.) and Isaiah Tisdale (Lexington, Ky.). Hodges recorded nine points on 4-of-5 shooting and Tisdale netted eight. To go with the balanced scoring, the Blue and Gold also moved the ball well as they assisted on 21 of their 28 made field goals, while only turning the ball over nine times.
With the win, ETSU – who leads the all-time series 23-8 – improved to 21-7, 11-4, while Mercer dipped to 9-17, 4-10.
After the opening 11 minutes were tightly contested as the teams combined for three ties and four lead changes, the Bucs broke things open with outstanding play on both ends of the floor.
With the game knotted at 16-16, ETSU closed the final 8:55 on a 24-5 run, while holding the Bears without a field goal during that stretch to take a 40-21 lead into the half. Five different Bucs scored during the blitzkrieg, which saw the Blue and Gold also score 12 unanswered points over a two-minute and twelve-second stretch – capped by a pair of free throws by Williamson after Mercer head coach Bob Hoffman was given a technical foul – making it 32-18 with 3:55 remaining in the first half. The Bucs then scored the final six points to take their 19-point lead into the break.
The Bucs made 11 field goals in the opening 20 minutes and were plus-11 at the free throw line, 16-5. Williamson, Boyd and N’Guessan combined for 21 of ETSU’s points in the half, while the Bucs’ defense held Mercer to 29 percent shooting (7-24).
After being held scoreless in the first half, Rodriguez fueled the Bucs to start the second half as he scored 10 of their first 17 points in the first five minutes and ETSU led, 57-37, following his lay-up with 14:58 left to play.
The Bucs then used a 12-1 run to extend their lead to 28, as Boyd found Williamson in transition for a lay-in to make it 69-41 at the 10:21 mark. Four minutes later the two reversed roles as Williamson assisted Boyd on his three-pointer and ETSU took its largest lead of the night, 79-50, with 6:12 left in the contest.
The Bucs’ lead remained over 20 during the next three minutes and ETSU walked away with the series sweep on the 19-point win.
Ethan Stair led Mercer with a game-high 18 points, while Ross Cummings added 17 points, six rebounds and three assists.
Mercer shot 39 percent for the game (22-57) and turned the ball over 17 times, resulting in 18 points for the Blue and Gold. After being outrebounded by 27 in last month’s game in Macon, the Bears only lost the battle on the glass by one, 38-37.
ETSU now hits the road for two games, beginning Thursday night at VMI. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. inside Cameron Hall.
For more information on Buccaneer men’s basketball, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the men’s basketball link.