Tubbs, Smith lift Bucs to CIT quarterfinal win over Ohio, 82-73
Tubbs, Smith lift Bucs to CIT quarterfinal win over Ohio, 82-73
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Bucs will host Iona at 2 p.m. Saturday in the CIT semifinals
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (March 22, 2011) - Senior guard Justin Tubbs (Trussville, Ala.) scored a season high 27 points and fellow senior guard Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.) posted a double-double with 24 points and 10 rebounds, as the ETSU men's basketball team dropped Ohio University 82-73 in the quarterfinals of the CollegeInsider.com Tournament Tuesday evening inside the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center.

A raucous crowd of 2,203 looked on as the Buccaneers improved to 24-11 and made history by becoming the first ETSU team to win multiple postseason games in the same season. The Bucs are also the first A-Sun team to win multiple postseason games since Arkansas-Little Rock won three games in the 1987 NIT. Meanwhile, the Bobcats end their season at 19-16.

With the win, the Bucs earn a berth in the CIT semifinals, where they will face Iona, which dropped Buffalo in its quarterfinal Tuesday night. The game will be played Saturday at 2 p.m. inside the Dome.

"I'm really proud of our players," said ETSU head coach Murry Bartow. "Mike and Justin played great for us again, but really all our guys are responding and battling out there. We're getting contributions from everyone, and it seems to be something that our guys and our fans are enjoying."

The Bucs did not get the win without a fight however, as Ohio managed to rally from an 11-point second half deficit to actually take the lead at 71-70 on a 3-pointer from D.J. Cooper with 2:17 left on the clock. However, from there ETSU recaptured the edge at 72-71 on a jumper by Adam Sollazzo (Tampa), and went on to outscore the Bobcats 10-2 the rest of the way.

That final surge by the Bucs was highlighted by a two-handed slam from Smith that made it 80-73 and put the game away. Sollazzo finished with 12 points and seven rebounds off the bench.

            Tubbs - who matched his career high with seven 3-pointers - was the story of the first half, hitting on 5-of-8 from beyond the arc and scoring 19 points before the break. His efforts helped ETSU overcome an early 9-3 deficit to ultimately lead by as many as 11 at 41-30 with just under a minute left in the half. The Bobcats managed to score five points in the final minute and ultimately trailed 43-35 at the break.

In the first half, ETSU shot 52 percent from the floor and was 8-of-10 at the foul line. In addition, the Bucs forced 10 turnovers by Ohio. ETSU also enjoyed a 15-6 edge in points off turnovers in the first 20 minutes.

For the game, the Bucs shot 52.9 percent from the field, 47 percent from the 3-point stripe and 72 percent from the foul line. ETSU also forced 14 Ohio turnovers and held a 20-6 edge in points off turnovers.

Ohio got a team-high 21 points from DeVaughn Washington, while Nick Kellogg and Tommy Freeman added 15 and 11 points, respectively. The Bobcats shot 39 percent from the field and 41 percent from 3-point range, while hitting on an impressive 86 percent clip from the foul line.

For more on ETSU men's basketball as the Bucs continue their run through the CIT, visit ETSUBucs.com.