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The Bucs' Courtney Pigram (
ETSU (23-8) controlled the first half of play and owned a 35-26 lead at the break, but the end of the half belonged to Stetson and that momentum carried over into the second.
Pigram scored ETSU's first six points of the half to keep the Bucs ahead by eight with showing on the clock, but Stetson was scoring on every possession and really got hot for a five-minute stretch.
Gabe McMillen drained a 3-pointer with remaining to start a 16-4 Hatters run. In that stretch, Collins Okafor, Garfield Blair and Tim Lang each converted conventional three-point plays. When the run was over, the Hatters led 49-45.
ETSU rallied the troops and bounced back. Just moments later, Mike Smith (
That seemed to energize the team and the partisan crowd. The Bucs defense held Stetson without a field goal for and to just 10 points in the last 10 minutes. Meanwhile, Smith and Pigram were on fire. The young duo combined for 17 points the rest of the way.
The game was sealed from the free-throw line where ETSU made 23-of-26. The Bucs also outrebounded the hatters 36-27.
Smith rallied from a shaky start to finish with 14 points, four rebounds and three assists. Brad Nuckles (Council,
The Bucs looked as if they might run away with the game in the first half, methodically building a 13-point lead. Struggling at the time from beyond the 3-point line, Pigram still knocked down two triples and found other ways to help his team. He scored 12 in the half and dished off three assists,
including an alley-oop passes to Smith and Eryk Thomas.
Unlike their last trip to
twice in the post to keep the intermission deficit in single digits.
Stetson hit just 3 of its first 17 tries from the field, but rallied to finish at 44 percent.
Blair had 17 points and nine rebounds to lead the Hatters (11-19) while A.J. Smith added 16 and Okafor 14.