First half blitz, defensive effort powers Bucs past Southern

Saturday, November 25, 2006


SOUTH PADRE ISLAND, Texas (Nov. 25, 2006) -  In need of a solid performance, the ETSU men's basketball team got just what it needed at the expense of the Southern Jaguars.


Using a solid 1-3-1 trapping defense and putting together their best offensive first half of the season, the Buccaneers defeated Southern 66-52 in the consolation round of the South Padre Island Invitational Saturday night at the South Padre Island Convention Center. With the win, ETSU improves to 3-4 on the year.   


"It's early in the season and no game is pivotal, but tonight was an important game, because 3-4 is a lot better than 2-5," said ETSU head coach Murry Bartow. "We really seemed to put things together, especially in the first half."


The first half indeed proved to be arguably the Bucs best 20 minutes of basketball this season, as they forced 15 Southern turnovers, shot 59 percent from the floor and used a 26-5 run midway through the half to take a 45-26 advantage at the intermission. Sophomore guard Courtney Pigram (Memphis) scored 14 points to lead the way for ETSU offensively early on, but for the second straight game it was junior Andrew Reed (Port Richey, Fla.) that sparked the ETSU effort with nine points and six rebounds. Sophomore guard Tayloe Taylor (Memphis) was also on his game, dishing out five assists and scoring four points, while not committing one turnover before the halftime break.


In the second half, ETSU struggled offensively and actually suffered through a scoring drought that lasted over seven minutes. However, it was the Bucs' defensive effort and some poor shooting by Southern that kept ETSU out front comfortably throughout the second half.


Pigram finished with a game-high 20 points and five steals en route to earning all-tournament honors. Meanwhile, Reed finished with 15 points and seven rebounds, and senior forward Brad Nuckles (Council, Va.) finished with 16 points and eight rebounds. Taylor finished with six assists to four turnovers, playing all 40 minutes at the point guard spot.


The Bucs shot 50 percent from the floor and forced 24 Southern turnovers on 10 steals. Meanwhile, Southern hit on just 36 percent of its shots from the field, going 21-of-59 for the game.


Southern was led by Deforrest Riley-Smith with 14 points, while Douglas Scott pitched in 13.


ETSU returns home on Sunday and will hit the road again for its first Atlantic Sun Conference game of the year Thursday night at Mercer. Tip is set for 7:30 p.m. in Macon, Ga. The game will be aired on the live video streaming at


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