Smith tops 2,000 career points, ETSU drops Jacksonville, 98-87
Junior Travis Strong had a season high 21 Saturday.
Junior Travis Strong had a season high 21 Saturday.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Jan. 14, 2006) - Senior guard Tim Smith (Newport News, Va.) scored a game-high 26 points, eclipsing the 2,000-point mark for his career and leading the ETSU men's basketball team to a 98-87 win over Jacksonville in Atlantic Sun Conference play Saturday afternoon at Memorial Center.

 

The Bucs, who have won six of their last seven games, improved to 7-7 overall, 4-3 in A-Sun play. Meanwhile, Jacksonville dropped to 1-13, 1-6.

 

"Anytime you get a conference win that's a good win," said ETSU head coach Murry Bartow. "Having five guys in double figures is something you have to be happy about because I think that shows we're getting better. I was excited to see Timmy get that milestone, but as for the game we have to start defending and rebounding better. It's obvious we can score points, but we need some stops."

 

ETSU, which started the game without senior guard Ben Rhoda (Dayton, Ohio) due to a right ankle injury and without senior forward Dillion Sneed (Chicago) due to a stomach illness, still got double figure scoring from its starting five players. Smith led the way with 26, while junior guard Travis Strong (Memphis) pitched in a season-high 21. Junior forward Brad Nuckles (Council, Va.) played well with 14 points and eight rebounds, while forward Andrew Reed (Port Richey, Fla.) and freshman guard Courtney Pigram (Memphis) each pitched in 10 apiece.

 

In the first half, the Bucs zoomed to a substantial lead and held a 17-point advantage three times. However, the Dolphins battled back thanks to a 17-3 run midway through the half and trailed by just three at 33-30 with 4:55 left before the intermission. ETSU withstood the rally, though, and closed the half with a 6-2 run to lead 47-39 at the break.

 

Jacksonville once again went on the offensive in the second half, cutting the lead to four at 61-57 with 13:50 left. However, Strong stepped up at that point, completing a four-point play thanks to a 3-pointer, foul and free throw with 13:37 remaining. Strong's play sparked an 11-4 run that left the Bucs up by 11 at 72-61, and the Dolphins did not seriously threaten again.

 

While the Bucs had five players in double figures, Jacksonville matched that number with Antonio Cool leading the way with 25 points. Along with Cool, Evan Jefferson added 16, Marcus Allen netted 14, Mario Brown pitched in 13 and Aubrey Conerly was good for 10.

  

ETSU shot a blistering 55 percent from the floor, 50 percent from beyond the arc, forced 18 turnovers and grabbed 10 steals on the night. Jacksonville out-rebounded the Bucs 36-32 and shot 77 percent from the foul line.

The Bucs will continue Atlantic Sun Conference play Monday night at home, taking on North Florida at 7 p.m. in Memorial Center. Meanwhile, Jacksonville will stay on the road to play Kennesaw State Monday at 8 p.m.

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