Turnovers derail ETSU upset bid, Bucs fall to Auburn, 64-58

Sunday, November 19, 2006


AUBURN, Ala. (Nov. 19, 2006) - With 28 turnovers too much to overcome, the ETSU men's basketball team relinquished an 11-point halftime lead to fall to Southeastern Conference foe Auburn, 64-58, Sunday afternoon in front of 2,215 fans at the Beard-Eaves-Memorial Coliseum.


Despite outrebounding the Tigers 38-35 and holding Auburn to just 38 percent shooting from the floor, the Bucs' young lineup was unable to maintain the early advantage and put away the win.


"It's a tough loss for us," said ETSU head coach Murry Bartow, whose team dropped to 2-2 on the season. "But with 28 turnovers, as I look at the stat sheet, that's the key to the game. I was pleased that we out-rebounded them and played good defense, but the second half is what really killed us."


            In the first half, sophomore point guard Courtney Pigram (Memphis) picked up where he left off in the Chattanooga game, hitting on 4-of-5 attempts from beyond the arc and finishing the half with 14 points. The sophomore's efforts along with eight points from freshman guard Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.) and a 50 percent shooting clip as a team helped the Bucs to a 34-23 advantage at the break. Auburn had led 3-0 with the first bucket of the game, but from there ETSU never trailed again and built a lead as large as 12 points at 26-14 with 6:28 left before the intermission.    


            However, the Tigers came roaring out of the gate in the second half, turning up the defensive pressure and promptly going on an 18-5 run that gave them the lead at 41-39 with just over 13 minutes left in the game. The lead changed hands twice again midway through the half, but ultimately the Tigers gained the advantage and did not let it go the rest of the way. Freshman Dequan Twilley (Memphis) hit a 3-pointer and was fouled, making the free throw and cutting the Tiger lead to 61-58 with 1:22 remaining, but the Bucs were unable to get any closer.


            For ETSU, Pigram led the way with a game-high 19 points and Smith pitched in 13. For Auburn, Rasheem Barrett had 15 points and Korvotney Barber posted 14.


            The Bucs will return to action Tuesday night at Morehead State, followed by a two-game trip to the South Padre Island Invitational over the Thanksgiving weekend. For more on the Bucs, visit ETSUBucs.com.


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