February 22, 20201st2ndFinal
Stats at a GlanceETSUSU
FG Percentage.471 (32-68) .491 (28-57)
3P FG Percentage.364 (8-22) .600 (12-20)
FT Percentage.727 (8-11) .667 (6-9)
Offensive Rebounds208
Defensive Rebounds2318
Total Rebounds4326
Bench Points76
PointsBoyd III - 18
Allen - 25
ReboundsN'Guessan - 15
Allen - 6
Padgett - 6
AssistsTisdale - 4
Sharkey - 9
StealsHodges - 3
Thomas - 4
BlocksCorley - 1
Tisdale - 1
Hugley - 1
N'Guessan - 1
Allen - 5
Bucs survive scare at Samford, 80-74
Daivien Williamson tallied 16 points, three assists and two steals Saturday at Samford. (Photo credit: Joe Avento/Johnson City Press)
Bucs survive scare at Samford, 80-74
Saturday, February 22, 2020

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (Feb. 22, 2020) – Ten of previous 15 meetings between ETSU and Samford have been decided by nine points or less.

Number 16 wasn’t any different.

In a game that featured 10 ties and 20 lead changes, senior guard Tray Boyd III (Memphis, Tenn.) provided the dagger by sinking a three-pointer with 14 seconds remaining to help the Buccaneers escape with an 80-74 win over Samford on Saturday afternoon inside the Pete Hanna Center.

Boyd, one of four Bucs to score in double figures, led the Blue and Gold with 18 points, while also grabbing a career-high eight rebounds. Fellow senior Lucas N’Guessan (De Lier, Netherlands) generated his second career double-double – finishing with 15 points and career-high 15 rebounds. Junior Bo Hodges (Nashville, Tenn.) also added 15 points, four rebounds, three assists and three steals, while sophomore Daivien Williamson (Winston-Salem, N.C.) – who scored the Bucs’ final bucket on a fast-break lay-up in the closing seconds – tallied 16 points, three assists and two steals. Senior Isaiah Tisdale (Lexington, Ky.) just missed scoring in double figures as he ended with nine points, seven rebounds – the final being the key offensive board setting up Boyd’s three – and four assists.

The Buccaneer starting five accounted for 73 points and 30 of their 32 made field goals. Overall, ETSU shot 47 percent (32-68), while going 8-of-22 (36 percent) from three and  8-of-11 at the free throw line (73 percent). The Bucs were plus-17 on the glass (43-26), including 20 offensive rebounds resulting in 20 second-chance points. The Blue and Gold also scored 20 points off 13 Bulldog turnovers.

ETSU, who improved to 25-4, 14-2 in SoCon play, kept three win streaks alive on Saturday. The Bucs have now a season-best seven straight games, six-in-a-row on the road and 11 consecutive against the Bulldogs. Meanwhile, Samford has dropped 15 of 16 in the series and dipped to 9-21, 3-13.

The Bucs scored 12 of the first 17 points to start the game with a seven-point lead, but after Williamson’s three five minutes into the game, ETSU was unable to expand the margin. Samford responded with an 11-1 run to go ahead, 16-13 with 11:45 remaining. Play was tight for the remainder of the half as the lead changed hands 12 times as well as also totaling five ties, including the fifth tie coming when Boyd knocked down a three at the buzzer, making it 42-42 at intermission.

ETSU shot 48 percent in the first half  (15-31), compared to Samford connecting on half of its 32 attempts. The Bulldogs were also 8-of-12 from beyond  the arc, while ETSU went 5-of-10 as both teams combined for eight made threes in the final 8-minutes, 23-seconds of the frame. Williamson led the Bucs with 10 points, while Robert Allen had 18 on 7-of-12 shooting (3-4 from three) for the Bulldogs.

Boyd’s three-pointer to end the first half carried momentum into the second as ETSU scored the first seven points to go ahead 49-42 three minutes in the stanza. A minute later Tisdale fed Boyd for an open three, giving the Bucs their largest lead of the night, 52-44.

However, Samford charged back by scoring 10 unanswered to regain a 54-52 lead with 11:58 remaining. After the teams traded buckets, the Bulldogs grabbed their largest lead at 65-61 with just under seven minutes to play.

With the Bucs grabbing sole possession of first-place in the conference standings on Wednesday night, they were not going to let it slip away, as ETSU mounted a 13-2 run to go ahead 73-67 thanks to N’Guessan assisting Hodges on a lay-up with 2:10 remaining.

Samford pulled within three when Josh Sharkey connected on his third three with less than a minute to go, but the Bucs didn’t let the Bulldogs get a chance to comeback. After Boyd missed a three with the shot clock winding down, Tisdale skied above the Samford players to tip back the offensive rebound, which set up the final Boyd three to seal the Bucs’ 10th road win of the season.

The Bulldogs shot 49 percent (28-57) from the field and made 12 threes – the  most given up by the Bucs this season. Allen scored a game-high 25 points, while Sharkey added 20 points, nine  assists and five rebounds. The duo combined for six of the 12 made threes. 

ETSU plays its final regular season road game Wednesday night as the Bucs head to Spartanburg, S.C. to take on Wofford. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. inside Richardson Indoor Stadium. A Buccaneer win over the Terriers locks up the No. 1 seed in the SoCon Tournament.

For more information on Buccaneer men’s basketball, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the men’s basketball tab.