JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Nov. 1, 2008) - Sophomore guard Micah Williams (Manchester) scored a game-high 19 points and freshman guard Adam Sollazzo (Tampa, Fla.) dished out a game-high seven assists as the ETSU men's basketball team opened the 2008-09 season with an 84-61 exhibition win over nearby Milligan College Saturday inside Memorial Center.
In front of a crowd of 2,149, the Buccaneers' new-look defense forced 23 Milligan turnovers and held the Buffaloes to just 43 percent shooting from the field. Meanwhile, the Bucs hit on 53 percent of their shots from the field and out-rebounded Milligan 40-23.
"There was some good and there was some bad," said ETSU head coach Murry Bartow. "Our goal was to hold them under 60 points so we weren't too happy with that last possession, but we're just young and that's part of the learning process for our team. I thought Micah made some big shots and showed what he's capable of doing, and I think Adam really showed what kind of future he could have for us."
Playing without sophomore forward Tommy Hubbard (Boston), senior guard Jocolby Davis (Meridian, Miss.) and freshman post Seth Coy (Montgomery, Ind.) - all of whom are nursing injuries - the Bucs used a 20-2 run midway through the first half to make a 12-10 Milligan advantage a 32-16 ETSU lead with 6:26 left before the break. From there the two teams traded baskets and ETSU led 42-25 at the intermission.
In the second half, the Buffs hung in and actually cut the lead to 13 at 54-41, but the Bucs outscored Milligan 24-10 over the next seven minutes to make it 82-54 in the final minutes.
Along with Williams' 19 points, senior Courtney Pigram (Memphis) added 14, freshman Jarvis Jones (Memphis) scored 13 and senior forward Kevin Tiggs (Flint, Mich.) netted 12. While Sollazzo dished out seven assists to just three turnovers, senior forward Greg Hamlin (Flint, Mich.) led all players with 10 rebounds on the night.
For Milligan, Jeff Barnes led the way with 16, while Derrick Nave and Darrell Miller scored 11 and 10 points, respectively.
"We need to get healthy because we're just banged up right now," Bartow said. "Defensively we did a lot of good things today, but offensively we need to get better. We have Temple in two weeks so we're going to get back to work."
The Bucs will return to action in another exhibition contest next Saturday, Nov. 8 inside Memorial Center against Mars Hill. Tip is scheduled for 4 p.m.