Bucs make plays late, hang on for road win at UNF

Friday, January 14, 2011

 
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (Jan. 13, 2011) - Relinquishing a 14-point halftime lead, the ETSU men's basketball team made clutch plays and hit critical free throws down the stretch to escape with a 66-61 win over North Florida in Atlantic Sun Conference action Thursday evening inside the UNF Arena.

Trailing 57-53 with just over two minutes left in the game, ETSU senior guard Micah Williams (Manchester) hit six-straight free throws in the final two minutes, while a critical steal and lay-up from junior guard Adam Sollazzo (Tampa) made the difference in the final seconds.

"Give North Florida credit, they really out-played us, out-coached us, and out-scrapped us in the second half," said ETSU head coach Murry Bartow. "But our guys just made plays when we really needed them down the stretch. I can't say enough about the plays our guys came up with in the final couple minutes."

With the win, the Bucs picked up their seventh straight victory and improved to 11-7 overall, 6-1 in A-Sun play. Meanwhile, UNF dropped to 5-12, 2-4.

Williams and fellow senior guard Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.) finished with a game-high 19 points each, while junior forward Isiah Brown (Miami, Fla.) pitched in 10 points and 12 rebounds in a double-double effort.

The Bucs sprinted out of the gates in the early going, driving to the basket for some early scores and manufacturing a 9-0 run to open the game. At that point, UNF answered over the next five minutes of play to make it 15-13 with 11:28 remaining, but ETSU responded to that challenge with an 11-0 run to take a 13-point lead at 26-13 with less than eight minutes left on the clock.

ETSU ultimately built its edge to 34-20 at halftime, shooting 50 percent from the floor in the first half and forcing UNF into 10 turnovers on six steals. The Bucs' defense also held the Ospreys to just 29 percent shooting from the floor, including a 15 percent clip from beyond the 3-point arc.

North Florida opened the second half with a renewed sense of urgency and produced in a big way, stifling the Bucs' offensive attack and outscoring ETSU 26-11 to take the lead at 46-45 with 5:58 left in the game. The two teams traded the advantage back-and-forth multiple times from there, but North Florida was left leading 57-53 with 2:15 on the clock.

From there, Smith hit a foul shot, followed by a pair of offensive rebounds from Brown that led to lay-up from J.C. Ward (Marietta, Ga.) to make it 57-56. After a UNF miss, Williams grabbed an important defensive rebound and was fouled, hitting both free throws and giving the Bucs the edge at 58-57. A UNF turnover, a steal by Sollazzo and his resulting lay-up made it 60-57. Sollazzo was fouled on the play, but missed the free throw.

The Ospreys answered with a free throw by Jimmy Williams, but another pair of makes from Micah Williams with 12.6 seconds left made it 62-58. UNF was not done though, as a 3-pointer by Jerron Granberry brought the score to 62-61 with four seconds left. Micah Williams hit two more free throws at that point to basically icing the game as the UNF inbounds pass did not find its mark.

For the game, UNF out-rebounded the Bucs 34-27 and held a 19-12 edge on second chance points. ETSU shot 47 percent from the floor and 70 percent from the foul line for the game.

The Bucs will now turn their attention to an important meeting with Jacksonville at 3:15 p.m. on Saturday. For more on ETSU men's basketball, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the men's hoops link.
Follow ETSU Athletics on Twitter Twitter and become a fan on Facebook Facebook.
WBB Mercer University 49 Final
Feb 21 ETSU 70
BB ETSU 2 Spartanburg, S.C.
Feb 21 UNC-Asheville 3
MBB ETSU 59 F
Feb 21 Chattanooga 67
MGOLF Puerto Rico Classic San Juan, Puerto Rico
Feb 22 Results
BB ETSU 10 Spartanburg, S.C.
Feb 22 Pittsburgh 4
BB ETSU 9 Spartanburg, S.C.
Feb 22 USC Upstate 2
MGOLF Puerto Rico Classic San Juan, Puerto Rico
Feb 23 Results
WBB ETSU 46 Final
Feb 23 Samford University 69
MGOLF Puerto Rico Classic San Juan, Puerto Rico
Feb 24 T11 of 15
MBB ETSU 73 F
Feb 26 Citadel 74
WTRACK Southern Conference Championships Birmingham, Ala.
Feb 27 Results
MTEN Tennessee Tech 0 Bristol, Tenn.
Feb 27 ETSU 7
WTEN ETSU 6 Akron, Ohio
Feb 28 Akron 1
WTRACK Southern Conference Championships Birmingham, Ala.
Feb 28 3 of 9
BB Butler 1 Johnson City, Tenn.
Feb 28 ETSU 4
WBB ETSU 42 Final
Feb 28 University of Tennessee at Chattanooga 64
SB ETSU 10 5
Feb 28 Morehead St. 1