Youngsters shine as Bucs drop Mars Hill, 98-67
Youngsters shine as Bucs drop Mars Hill, 98-67
Saturday, November 4, 2006

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Nov. 4, 2006) - With a starting five that featured three true freshmen and a sophomore, a young ETSU men's basketball team took to the floor for the first time this 2006-07 season and dropped Mars Hill, 98-67, in front of 3,601 fans at Memorial Center.


Six Bucs reached double figures, with sophomore guard Courtney Pigram (Memphis), freshman guard Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.), junior forward Kenyona Swader (Smyrna, Tenn.) and freshman forward Petras Balocka (Vilnius, Lithuania) leading the way with 16 points apiece. Also reaching double figures were freshman forward Blake Mishler (Metamora, Ill.) and senior forward Brad Nuckles (Council, Va.) with 12 and 11 points, respectively.


"I saw some good things out there, some really good things," said ETSU head coach Murry Bartow. "I think we showed some patience offensively, but we're still not defending like I want us to. We're young and we still have a long way to go to become a better team, but this was a good first step."


With 21 assists in the game, the Bucs showed a significantly different offensive style with point guards Dequan Twilley (Shelbyville, Tenn.) and Tayloe Taylor (Memphis) at the controls. In fact, Twilley finished with seven assists and just one turnover, and helped guide the Bucs to a 13-point halftime lead at 45-38.


In the second half, the Bucs kept the pressure on with Balocka scoring all of his points and grabbing eight of his nine rebounds after the intermission. Swader also showed his versatility in the game, hitting on 7-of-10 from the field, dunking a missed shot off the rim, and grabbing six rebounds. When the dust settled, the Bucs had a 31-point win.


As a team, the Bucs shot 58 percent from the floor and 84 percent from the foul line. ETSU also picked up nine steals in the game and out-rebounded Mars Hill 47-29.


For the Lions, Stoney Polite led the way with 16 points, while teammates Jarred Pickering and Chris Aline each scored 11 and 10 points, respectively.


The Bucs will return to action Nov. 10 when they open their regular season schedule with a home contest against UVa.-Wise inside Memorial Center. Tip time is set for 7 p.m. Fans can learn more about the upcoming season by visiting