JOHNSON CITY (Jan. 7, 2012) – The ETSU men’s basketball team used a relentless defensive attack and 20-point efforts from senior guard Adam Sollazzo (Tampa) and junior guard Marcus Dubose (Hartsville, S.C.) to drop Mercer 76-61 in Atlantic Sun Conference action Saturday afternoon inside the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center.
With the win, ETSU improves to 7-7 overall, 2-2 in A-Sun play, while the Bears drop to 11-7, 3-2.
“I thought our team had great energy early in the game and that was a big difference,” said ETSU head coach Murry Bartow. “Our press has worked really well this season, especially at home, and getting 15 steals tonight and forcing them into 21 turnovers was huge. We have been pretty good defensively all season and now with the offense seeming to be come around, we’re riding a nice wave of momentum.”
The Bucs, who shot 53 percent from the floor and 77 percent from the foul line for the game, got a game-high 23 points and six assists from Sollazzo, and 21 points from Dubose. Meanwhile, senior forward Isiah Brown (Miami) netted 16 points and blocked three shots.
Defensively, ETSU held the Bears to 41 percent shooting from the floor and forced 21 turnovers, which allowed the Bucs to outscore Mercer 16-0 on fast break points. For the Bears, Justin Cecil led their attack with a team-high 17 points.
In the first half, the two teams were tied at 7-7 before ETSU went on to outscore the Bears 42-23 the rest of the half and take a 49-30 lead at the break. In the second half, the Bucs lead grew to as many as 29 points at 69-40 with 6:54 left in the game, before ETSU substituted its entire bench and the Bears took advantage by outscoring the Bucs 21-7 the rest of the way.
Along with the offensive efforts of Sollazzo, Dubose and Brown, ETSU got a game-high 10 rebounds from junior forward Lukas Poderis (Port Richey, Fla.), while senior forward Tommy Hubbard (Boston) collected a game-high five steals. ETSU dished out 13 assists as a team, but did commit 16 turnovers.
While Cecil led the Bears, Mercer also got 12 points from Shaquille Harris and 11 from Daniel Coursey. The Bears out-rebounded the Bucs 32-30 and collected 12 assists, but Mercer shot just 54 percent from the foul line.
The Bucs will return to action Monday evening inside the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center, taking on A-Sun foe Kennesaw State at 6 p.m. The game will start one hour earlier than usual on Monday due to the college football national title game.
For more on ETSU men’s basketball, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the men’s hoops link.