OXFORD, Miss. (Dec. 14, 2012) – The return of senior guard Jarvis Jones (Memphis) made a difference for the ETSU men’s basketball team, but it still was not enough to upend Southeastern Conference foe Ole Miss Friday night in the Tad Smith Coliseum.
A much more competitive Buccaneers’ team led midway through the first half, but looked on as Ole Miss guard Marshall Henderson put on a shooting clinic from beyond 3-point range, hitting on six attempts from outside and scoring a game-high 22 points in a 77-55 win for the Rebels.
“It’s good to have Jarvis back and he’s a guy that can really help us, but obviously, our offense isn’t where it needs to be right now,” said ETSU head coach Murry Bartow, whose team dropped to 2-6 on the season. “We did a lot of good things tonight and I think there are things we can take away from this game, especially in the first half. If you look at our games this year, we play a really good first 10 minutes, but the second 10 minutes of the first half really seems to hurt us.
“We need to work on correcting those issues.”
For the Bucs, freshman forward Lester Wilson (Knoxville) scored a team-high 14 points, while Jones and freshman guard Mario Stramaglia (Birmingham, Ala.) netted 11 each. Along with Henderson, the Rebels (7-1) had three other players reach double figures, with Reginald Buckner pitching in 11 points while both Nick Williams and Murphy Holloway had 10 each.
The presence of Jones was obvious at the start of the game, as the Buccaneers’ offense seemed much more in sync, and that helped ETSU build a lead of 16-13 with 8:52 left in the half. However, at that point the Bucs’ shooting percentage went south while Ole Miss put together a 20-6 run to finish the first 20 minutes with a 33-22 lead.
In the first half, ETSU shot just 27 percent from the floor and was only 1-of-10 from 3-point range. The Rebels were not much better, hitting on just 39 percent of their shots.
After the break, the Bucs got to within nine points at 40-31, but again Henderson took over and lit up the nets from outside. The result was a lead that ballooned to as many as 23 points in the second half.
For the game, the Bucs committed 22 turnovers compared to 18 for Ole Miss. ETSU did hold its own on the glass, being out-rebounded just 43-40. From the field, Ole Miss shot 44 percent for the game, compared to 33 percent for the Bucs.
The Bucs will return to action Tuesday evening at home against Charleston Southern. The game is set for a 7 p.m. tip and will be played in historic Brooks Gym as the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center undergoes some lighting renovations over the Christmas holidays.
For more on ETSU men’s basketball throughout the 2012-13 season, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the men’s hoops link.