BOILING SPRINGS, N.C. (Feb. 22, 2008) - Gardner-Webb guard Grayson Flittner scored a career high 34 points and the Runnin' Bulldogs outscored the ETSU men's basketball team 43-22 in the final 12:19 to race away with a 96-70 Atlantic Sun Conference win Thursday night inside Paul Porter Arena.
With the loss, the Buccaneers dropped to 15-12 overall, 9-5 in A-Sun action and are now in serious danger of dropping significantly in the league standings. Meanwhile, the Runnin' Bulldogs improve to 14-13, 8-5, and they now hold a tie breaker over the Bucs by virtue of sweeping the season series over ETSU.
"We turned the ball over too much, we were loose with the ball, and we just didn't shoot it well," said ETSU head coach Murry Bartow, whose team is now 1-3 after having won six straight earlier this year. "We had no answer for (Thomas) Sanders and Flittner. I thought we played great early in the second half to pull it to within five or six, but from there it just snowballed in the second half.
"I didn't see this one coming. I thought the bounce back win was great against Lipscomb, and our energy in practice has been great, but then to come in and lay an egg tonight really surprised me."
Flittner was unbelievable for Gardner-Webb, setting both the single season and single game record for 3-pointers, hitting on 9-of-12 from beyond the arc and 11-of-15 from the field to net his game-high 34 points. But Flittner was not alone, as the Runnin' Bulldogs shot 57 percent from the field and 58 percent from 3-point range as a team. Guard Thomas Sanders was equally impressive in a double-double effort, scoring 26 points and grabbing 16 rebounds.
The game got off to an ugly start for the Buccaneers, as the team shot just 30 percent from the field and 16 percent from beyond the 3-point arc in the first half. Those numbers obviously led to a quick start for the Runnin' Bulldogs, who led 19-7 at the 10:35 mark. In all, ETSU would commit 16 turnovers in the first 20 minutes and never got closer than six late in the half, ultimately trailing 37-28 at the break. Luckily for the Bucs, Gardner-Webb was equally bad at the free throw line, shooting just 36 percent from the line (4-of-11).
ETSU showed some life in the early going of the second half, pulling to within five points at 53-48 on a pair of free throws by freshman guard Micah Williams (
For the Bucs, junior forward Kevin Tiggs (
ETSU will return to action Saturday in the ESPN BracketBuster event, playing Tennessee Tech at 4 p.m. inside