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Second half surge lifts Tennessee Tech past ETSU
East Tennessee State (3-5)
Tennessee Tech (4-4)
12/7/2011 | Eblen Center (Cookeville, Tenn.) | Attendance: 1455
Wednesday, December 07, 2011
COOKEVILLE (Dec. 7, 2011) – Outscoring the ETSU men’s basketball team 24-4 in the opening minutes of the second half, Tennessee Tech built a lead of as many as 28 points and ultimately cruised to a 83-74 win over the Buccaneers Wednesday night in non-conference basketball action at the Eblen Center.
The loss extended the Buccaneers current losing streak to four games, as ETSU dropped to 3-5 on the season. Meanwhile, Tech – who had lost six straight to ETSU before this contest – improved to 4-4.
“That is not the way we would have scripted the start of the second half,” said ETSU head coach Murry Bartow. “I thought we had a phenomenal practice yesterday and a good shoot around today, but we just didn’t play well in the game. Our defense has slipped some, we had too many turnovers, our shooting percentage was not good, and we missed a lot of shots close. One thing I have seen is that this team doesn’t quit. I get frustrated when people have opinions about what’s happening. The effort is there. These guys are trying, but we just aren’t playing well.”
In the first half, the Bucs and Golden Eagles traded baskets for 12 minutes of game play and were tied at 17-17 with 8:23 left before the intermission. However, at that point, an eight-point run by Tech led to a lead of as many as nine points at 33-24 with just under four minutes left on the clock.
A 3-pointer by ETSU’s Jarvis Jones (Memphis) and a layup by teammate Sheldon Cooley (Tampa) then made it a four-point game at 33-29 with 1:20 left, but Tech outscored the Bucs 4-0 in the final minute to make it 37-29 at the break.
Another nightmarish start to the second half put the Bucs in major trouble, as Tennessee Tech came out on fire from beyond the 3-point line and went on a 14-2 run. The Golden Eagles didn’t stop there, as they went on another 10-2 over the next two minutes to make it 61-33 with 12:57 remaining.
ETSU tried to rally at that point, cutting the lead to 13 points at 72-59 thanks to a traditional three-point play by freshman guard Rashawn Rembert (Tampa) with 5:50 left in the game. The Bucs kept clawing away and ultimately got to within nine to close out the game, but never truly threatened the Golden Eagles throughout the second half.
The final stat sheet told the story of the game, as Tennessee Tech shot an impressive 55 percent from the field, and an even more impressive 50 percent from 3-point range. The Golden Eagles also controlled the paint, out-rebounding the Bucs 36-27.
While ETSU did force 21 Tech turnovers and improved at the foul line – shooting 74 percent from the charity stripe (20-for-27) – the Bucs only hit on 41 percent from the field and 29 percent from the foul line. Cooley and senior forward Isiah Brown (Miami) led the Bucs with 12 points apiece, while Tech was led offensively by Kevin Murphy’s game-high 23 points.
The Bucs will return to action on Saturday, traveling to Appalachian State for a 2 p.m. tipoff in Boone, N.C. This will be ETSU’s sixth straight road game, and the team will return home on Dec. 19 to take on Milligan College at 7 p.m. inside the Dome.
For more on ETSU men’s basketball throughout the 2011-12 season, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the men’s hoops link.