Bucs survive scare, hand Florida Atlantic first A-Sun loss, 63-61
Junior Travis Strong scored 12 points in 35 minutes of play.
Junior Travis Strong scored 12 points in 35 minutes of play.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Jan. 4, 2006) - Florida Atlantic's Kevin Green watched his last second 3-pointer rim out as the ETSU men's basketball game overcame a five-point deficit in the final 11 minutes to hand the Owls their first Atlantic Sun Conference loss of the year 63-61 Wednesday night at Memorial Center.


With the win, the Buccaneers win their third straight game and improve to 4-6 overall, 1-2 in A-Sun play. Meanwhile, FAU falls to 4-7, 3-1.


"It was a good win. Not pretty, but good," said ETSU head coach Murry Bartow. "We knew going into this three-game home stand that these were pivotal games to get us going back in the right direction. We say it all the time that these are games of inches. If that ball is dead in, we're pretty unhappy right now."


Trailing 51-46 with 11:48 remaining in the game, the Bucs outscored the Owls 17-10 the rest of the way to garner the victory. However, it was a pair of FAU misses late in the contest that insured the win.


After a missed free throw by ETSU senior guard Tim Smith (Newport News, Va.), FAU forward Fred Marshall was errant on a point blank, reverse layup with 29 seconds remaining. Following another foul by the Owls, Smith missed yet again to give FAU one more shot at the tie, but when a missed jumper by DeAndre Rice banked of the rim, it was tipped by Marshall out to Green for the final shot at the buzzer. It barely rimmed out.


In the first half, the Bucs led by as many as 11 points at 20-9 with 10:20 left before the intermission. However, with a 10-3 run and nine straight points from forward Rodney Rice in the final minutes of the half, FAU managed to tie the game at 29 with 1:29 remaining. The Bucs took the final shot of the half, as an awkward, hooking 3-point shot by Smith found the bottom of the net to give ETSU the advantage at the break, 32-29.


ETSU was led in scoring by Smith with 15 points, while junior guard Travis Strong (Memphis) and senior forward Dillion Sneed (Chicago) each added 12 points. Sneed was a perfect 6-of-6 from the field. FAU was led by a game-high 23 points from Rice, while Marshall pitched in 11. Marshall had a solid effort on the boards with a game-high 11 rebounds.


For the contest, the Bucs had a season low 11 turnovers and forced six steals, shooting 47 percent from the field. Meanwhile, FAU won the battle of the boards handily, out-rebounding the Bucs 38-24, but the Owls committed 18 turnovers, which the Bucs used to outscore FAU, 21-9.


The Bucs will now hit the road for a three-game A-Sun swing, beginning with a trip to Campbell on Saturday at 1 p.m. FAU will return home to continue league play against Mercer Saturday at 2 p.m.

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