CANCUN, Mexico (Dec. 23, 2010) - Despite playing a team that had scored just 49 points in its last outing and has struggled to score the basketball this season, the ETSU men's basketball team looked on as Northeastern put together its best offensive effort of the season en route to a 77-67 win over the Buccaneerss in the second round of the Cancun Governor's Cup Thursday afternoon at the Poliforum Benito Juarez.
With the loss, the Bucs dropped to 4-7 on the year and have now lost five of their last six games. Meanwhile, Northeastern improves to 3-6 on the season and snapped a six-game losing streak with the victory.
"It was obviously a horrible start for our team," said ETSU head coach Murry Bartow, whose team will play its third and final game of the event on Friday at 1 p.m. "I don't want to put blame on anyone but me, and I thought we were prepared and ready. Before we could look up we were down big again. The numbers just don't look good right now either offensively or defensively."
In the first half, the Bucs watched as Northeastern - a team that entered the game ranked 301st in the country with an average of just 62.1 points per game - opened the contest by firing away from outside and hitting multiple shots from long range. The Huskies hit nine 3-pointers before the intermission and led by as many as 20 points before ultimately holding a 47-29 edge at the break.
Despite being a team that had averaged just over five made 3-pointers a game on the year, the Huskies hit on 75 percent from beyond the arc in the first half (9-of-12), and outrebounded the Bucs 19-15. From the field, Northeastern shot 55 percent in the first half.
ETSU opened the second half by dropping behind by 21 points at 51-30 with 19:10 left in the game. Fortunately for the Bucs, they put together a strong offensive attack at that point and managed to cut the deficit to 12 at 60-48 on a three-point play by Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.) with 13:19 left.
The Buccaneer rally continued at that point, as ETSU scored another six points to make it 60-54 with 9:51 left in the game. A jumper by Northeastern's Chaisson Allen finally broke the Bucs' run to make it 62-54 and the Huskies would get back out to an 11-point edge at 68-57 with 6:05 remaining.
At that point, the Bucs would cut the lead back to seven points at 72-65, but would not be able to get any closer.
Northeastern got a career high 19 points from Ryan Pierson, while Chaisson Allen scored 18, Alex Harris netted 14 and Jonathan Lee posted 12. For ETSU, senior guard Micah Williams (Manchester) had a season high 22 points, while junior guard Adam Sollazzo (Tampa) posted a career best 15 points, and Smith netted 10.
For the game, Northeastern shot 48 percent from the floor and a sparkling 61 percent from 3-point range, hitting on 11 3-pointers. The Bucs outrebounded the Huskies 34-31, but once again struggled at the foul line, going 18-of-30 from the charity stripe.
For more on ETSU men's basketball throughout the season, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the men's hoops link.