Strong start fades away as Bucs fall to San Francisco, 67-49
Strong start fades away as Bucs fall to San Francisco, 67-49
Tuesday, December 25, 2012

HONOLULU (Dec. 25, 2012) – Playing its third game in four days, the ETSU men’s basketball team got off to a fast start but things quickly faded as San Francisco pulled past the Bucs, 67-49, in the final game of the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic on Tuesday afternoon inside the Stan Sheriff Center.

Once again Jarvis Jones (Memphis, Tenn.) led the Bucs by scoring a team-high 17 points on 7-of-15 shooting and dished out four of ETSU’s eight assists. Hunter Harris (Nashville, Tenn.) also scored in double figures by finishing with 11 points and seven rebounds, but was 1-for-7 at the free throw line. Overall, the Blue and Gold went 4-of-12 at the charity stripe for the game.

“This was a tough game. When you don’t rebound well and get dominated on the glass it really makes things difficult,” said head coach Murry Bartow, whose Bucs were out-rebounded 38-21 on Christmas Day. “We obviously didn’t score the ball well offensively and didn’t defend quite as well, which led to San Francisco going on a couple big runs. I liked the way we started the game, but wasn’t pleased with how we played the final 10 minutes of the first half.”

“We played three really good teams in this tournament. We need to get Petey McClain back healthy and become a healthier team. Once we can do that, I think we have a chance come January and February to become a better basketball team.”    

Things looked promising for the Blue and Gold as ETSU got off to a hot start but play fizzled down the stretch, as San Francisco outscored the Bucs 20-7 in the final nine minutes of the first half to lead 32-21 at the break.

ETSU hit on six of its first 10 shots to lead 14-12 after Harris knocked down a jumper, but things quickly unraveled in a hurry as the Dons mounted a 13-1 run to pull ahead 25-15 when Cole Dickerson scored two of his 13 first-half points with 5:31 left in the half. Jones finally stopped the bleeding as his three-pointer from the left wing with the shot clock expiring snapped a six minute field goal drought for the Blue and Gold, but Dickerson stepped up once again by swishing a three on San Francisco’s next possession to put the Dons back up 10, 28-18. Dickerson’s trey fueled a 7-0 San Francisco run as the Dons eventually built a 32-18 advantage and carried an 11-point lead into the break.

After shooting 60 percent in the opening nine minutes, ETSU finished the half 2-of-11 from the field and generated a 38.1 shooting percentage (8-21) in the opening 20 minutes. Both teams netted four three-pointers in the half, but free throw shooting and rebounding proved to be costly for the Bucs. ETSU went 1-for-7 from the charity stripe and the Bucs were out-rebounded by 12, 22-10. In return, the Dons outscored the Blue and Gold 9-1 in second-chance points and made four of their five free throw attempts.      

In the second half, the Bucs were able to cut their 11-point halftime deficit to eight on Jones’ lay-up, but that’s as close as ETSU would get.

Over the next three minutes, eleven seconds, the Dons scored 10 of the next 13 points to push their margin to 15, 43-28, with 13:33 remaining the contest. That brief spurt took the wind out of the Buccaneer sails, and at the three minute mark, Tim Derksen’s three-pointer gave San Francisco its largest lead of the game, 65-45.

Ironically, both teams shot 46.2 percent (12-26) from the field in the second half, but the Dons were plus-9 from beyond the arc and plus-4 at the free throw line. San Francisco went 4-of-8 from three and 7-for-10 at the free throw line, compared to ETSU’s 1-of-8 showing from long range and 3-for-5 effort at the stripe.

Overall, the Blue and Gold shot 42.6 percent (20-47) for the game, but were 25 percent (5-20) from three and 33.3 percent at the free throw line. In total, the Dons connected on 24 of their 54 attempts from the field and finished 8-of-19 from beyond the arc.

ETSU has now dropped seven straight and saw its mark dip to 2-10, while San Francisco pulled event at 6-6 on the season.

The Dons had three players reach double-digit scoring with Dickerson leading the way at 19 points and nine rebounds. Cody Doolin also added 15 points, while Derksen netted 10 and pulled down seven rebounds.

The Bucs now return to the mainland and gear up for their final non-conference game when ETSU hosts Atlantic 10 Conference newcomer VCU on Wednesday, Jan. 2 inside the MSHA Athletic Center. Tip is set for 7 p.m.

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