ETSU edged again at home; Bucs fall to UNCG, 80-76
Published 11:03 pm Wednesday, January 26, 2022
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CONTRIBUTED BY ETSU ATHLETICS
JOHNSON CITY – The Buccaneers’ golden number this season had been 70.
Unfortunately, the last two games, it’s been anything but that.
For the second straight game, ETSU found itself on the wrong end despite hitting the 70-point mark as the Blue and Gold were edged by reigning Southern Conference champion UNCG, 80-76, on Wednesday night inside Freedom Hall.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
Prior to Saturday’s setback to The Citadel, ETSU was a perfect 9-0 when scoring 70 or more points, but the Bucs suffered their second straight loss en route to dipping to 12-10 overall and 4-5 in league play.
After scoring 44 second-half points, the Bucs were held to 32 in the final 20 minutes, while surrendering 40 in both halves to a UNCG team coming in averaging 63.2 per contest.
ETSU shot 50 percent for the contest, compared to UNCG hitting at a 58 percent clip and 50 percent mark from three-point range. Both teams netted 29 field goals, while the Bucs were plus-3 in made threes, 13 to 10, but free throw shooting was tilted in favor of the visitors from Greensboro. The Spartans were 12-of-19 at the charity stripe and ETSU ended 5-of-8.
The Bucs only turned the ball over seven times, but UNCG converted those miscues into 15 points and the Spartans finished plus-8 in the paint, 34-26.
ETSU assisted on 19 of its 29 made shots, with UNCG totaling 17 assists.
The Spartans bench outscored ETSU’s, 29-7.
With the win, UNCG improved to 12-8 overall and 4-4 in SoCon action.
Jordan King (Albany, N.Y.), Ledarrius Brewer (Meridian, Miss.) and David Sloan (Louisville, Ky.) combined for 62 points on 23 made field goals.
King tied his career high with 23 points on 7-of-15 shooting (four made threes), while Brewer netted 20 of his 22 points in the second half. Sloan finished with 17 points, eight assists and zero turnovers in 36 minutes.
UNCG was led by De’Monte Buckingham’s 25-point performance, while Kaleb Hunter came off the bench to add 13. Mohammed Abdulsalam and Bas Leyte combined for 17 points and 11 rebounds, while Keyshaun Langley added eight points on two made triples.
ETSU scored the first five points of the contest and led for the majority of the first half as the Bucs took a 44-40 lead into the break. The Bucs’ largest margin of the opening stanza was 12 when King was fouled on a three-point attempt and sank all three free throws, making it 33-21 with 6:09 remaining. However, UNCG scored 19 of the last 30 points down the stretch, including Buckingham making back-to-back threes – the last being a half-court heave at the buzzer to make it a four-point game.
The second half went back-and-forth as neither team led by more than five.
ETSU went ahead 60-55 when Ledarrius Brewer found King open for a three with 14:08 remaining.
From there, the game featured four ties with the Bucs taking their last lead at 73-72 when Sloan drove to the rim for a lay-up with 2:13 showing on the clock.
However, the Spartans scored the next six points to go up 78-73 following a Langley three-pointer with 52 seconds left. The Bucs didn’t back down as Ledarrius Brewer hit a three 10 seconds later to pull within two, while ETSU had the ball with a chance to tie or take the lead after Kaleb Hunter missed the front end of a 1-and-1. Brewer’s three-point attempt was off the mark and UNCG iced the game, hitting a pair of free throws with 15 seconds left.
ETSU hits the road for three straight starting Saturday afternoon at VMI. Tip-off is set for 1 p.m. inside Cameron Hall.
For more information on ETSU men’s basketball, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the men’s basketball tab.