GREENSBORO, N.C. (Feb. 18, 2003) - East Tennessee State rallied from a 19 point second half deficit to post a 75-73 victory over UNC Greensboro Tuesday night in Southern Conference men's basketball action in Fleming Gymnasium. ETSU's Jerald Fields (Gainesville, Fla.) blocked UNCG's Ray Bristow's layup at the buzzer to secure the victory for the Buccanneers.
UNCG (7-18, 3-10 SoCon) took a 35-33 advantage into the intermission and quickly established control of the game in the second half. With UNCG holding onto a slim 47-41 lead at the 13:05 mark, the Spartans then went on a 15-2 run capped off by a Jay Joseph 3-pointer to take a commanding 62-43 lead with just 9:36 left in regulation.
Without hesitation, momentum swung ETSU's way after Joseph's 3-pointer. The Bucs promptly went on a 16-2 run to climb back within five points, 64-59, at the 4:53 mark. The Spartans buckled down and appeared to stave off the Bucs's rally as Joseph buried another 3-pointer for a 67-59 lead. A Zakee Wadood (Lonoke, Ark.) layup and four Tim Smith (Newport News, Va.) free throws later, the Bucs were within one point, 67-66. UNCG held its lead until Smith stole the ball from James Maye and drove for an uncontested layup to tie the game at 73-73 with just 14 seconds left in regulation.
A second UNCG turnover in as many possessions ended with ETSU's Ryan Lawson (Rogersville) getting fouled and going to the free throw line. Lawson calmly sank both free throws to give the Bucs' their first lead since a 29-28 lead at the 4:01 mark of the first half.
With just eight ticks left on the clock, Bristow pushed the ball up the floor for the Spartans and seemingly had a clear path to the bucket. ETSU's Fields came from the right side of the court and blocked Bristow's layup at the buzzer.
Smith led all scorers with a career-high 29 points. The freshman hit 10-of-18 from the floor and 8-of-11 from the free throw line. Wadood recorded a double-double with 13 points and 14 rebounds. Fields added 19 points and nine rebounds in the win.
Maye led UNCG with 19 points and four assists. Maye's 19 points gives the senior 1,506 career points, becoming just the third Spartan player in school history to eclipse the 1,500 point plateau. In addition to Maye, Joseph added 16 points while connecting on a pair of 3-pointers. Ray Bristow added 12 points and four steals, while Josh Gross chipped in with 10 points and six rebounds.
Joseph's two 3-pointers improves his streak of consecutive games with atleast one made 3-pointer to a school record 28 games.
ETSU held a convincing 39-28 advantage over UNCG on the glass. The Bucs also connected on 20-of-25 free throws in the game compared to UNCG's 8-of-11.
UNCG returns to the hardwood again on Saturday, February 22 at VMI. Tip-off is slated for 1 pm in Cameron Hall. ETSU travels to Western Carolina on Saturday for a 7 pm tip against the Catamounts.