Taylor, Williams, Thomas reach career marks as Bucs win, 90-43
Junior Kenyona Swader puts up a shot against UVa.-Wise.
Junior Kenyona Swader puts up a shot against UVa.-Wise.

Friday, November 10, 2006

(Nov. 10, 2006) - Sophomore guard Tayloe Taylor (Memphis) dished out a career high nine assists and four Buccaneer players reached double figures in scoring as the ETSU men's basketball team raced to a 90-43 season-opening win over UVa.-Wise in front of 4,150 fans Friday night inside Memorial Center.

 

For the Bucs (1-0), sophomore guard Dante Williams (Romulus, Mich.) and senior forward Eryk Thomas (Fremont, Calif.) paced the offense, reaching career highs for scoring with 14 points apiece. Meanwhile, sophomore Courtney Pigram (Memphis) and freshman Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.) added 13 and 11 points, respectively, as the Bucs dished out 20 assists and forced the Cavaliers into 25 turnovers.

 

"I thought we did some good things," said ETSU head coach Murry Bartow. "Our defense seemed to get better tonight, having 20 assists after 21 in our exhibition game last week was good to see, and 20 assists shows we're getting some things done at the point. This is a good win, but next week is a whole different animal. We have Eastern Kentucky on the road, Chattanooga at home and then Auburn.

 

"We don't know what to expect because we're so young."

 

The Bucs are indeed youthful. Starting three freshmen and a sophomore Friday night, it was the first time since 1987 that ETSU has put a starting team on the floor that was so inexperienced. However, after trailing 5-4 with 17:20 remaining in the first half, ETSU took the lead at 6-5 on a foul shot by freshman Blake Mishler (Metamora, Ill.) and never looked back. Though the Cavaliers tied the game at 12, the Bucs' defensive pressure and offensive efficiency took over, as ETSU outscored Wise 19-0 over the next seven minutes to lead 31-12 with 4:49 left in the half.

 

It was much of the same in the second half, as the Bucs outscored Wise 49-25 for the 47-point victory. ETSU shot 48 percent from the field and 42 percent from 3-point range. Outrebounding the Cavs 49-34, the Bucs also picked up 13 steals. No ETSU player saw more than 23 minutes of action and 11 played double figures in minutes.

 

Also for the Bucs, freshman Petras Balocka (Vilnius, Lithuania) grabbed 10 rebounds in just 18 minutes of action, while freshman point guard Dequan Twilley (Shelbyville, Tenn.) dished out six assists. Along with his 14 points, Thomas also grabbed seven rebounds. Senior Brad Nuckles (Council, Va.) pitched in seven points and five rebounds.

 

For Wise, Zydrunas Rackauskas scored nine points and had 10 rebounds to nearly pick up a double-double.  Meanwhile, Joey Blackwell and Jarrel Soles also pitched in nine points apiece.

 

The Bucs will return to action Monday night against former Ohio Valley Conference foe Eastern Kentucky. Tip is scheduled for 7 p.m., and fans can watch the game live on video streaming at ETSUBucs.com.

 

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