Bucs outlast Little Rock in physical battle, 84-76
Published 12:30 pm Friday, November 18, 2022
Tipler, King combine for 40 points in home win
JOHNSON CITY – After shaking off some rust early on, the ETSU men’s basketball team closed the first half strong – and despite never relinquishing a double-double digit lead in the second half – the Buccaneer outlasted Little Rock 84-76 on Thursday night inside Freedom Hall.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
The Bucs, who improved to 3-1 on the season, were fouled 29 times and made 42 trips to the charity stripe, marking the most free throw attempts since Dec. 1, 2016, when ETSU went 44 times against Lees-McRae.
Once again, ETSU dominated in the paint and on the glass. The Bucs were plus-20 in the paint, 44-24, and plus-8 on the boards, 41-33. The Blue and Gold grabbed 14 offensive rebounds and turned those into 17 second-chance points.
For the game, ETSU shot a season-high 52 percent from the field (29-56), while five Buccaneers made at least four field goals in the win over the Trojans.
Despite being short-handed with a pair of Buccaneers sitting out, ETSU’s bench still managed to pour in 35 points.
With the 42 trips to the free throw line, ETSU only netted 21.
ETSU was as consistent as can be on Thursday night as they scored 42 points in both halves.
The teams combined for 43 fouls and 55 free throw attempts, while five players fouled out – four from Little Rock.
Thursday wrapped up a home-and-home series with Little Rock that began in 2019-20 where ETSU won 67-63 in Little Rock. ETSU has won both games in the series.
With the setback, Little Rock moved to 1-3 on the season.
DeAnthony Tipler (Ashland, Miss.) led all scorers with 21 points off the bench. Tipler, who registered his fifth career 20-point scoring game, finished 8-of-12 from the field.
Jordan King (Albany, N.Y.) finished with a season-high 19 points, while adding seven rebounds, five assists and three steals in 34 minutes.
Josh Taylor (Atlanta) and Allen Strothers (Newport News, Va.) each finished with 10 points, and Justice Smith (Lyons, N.Y.) posted 11 points on 5-of-5 shooting in 23 minutes off the bench. Strothers joined King with five assists, while Taylor grabbed seven rebounds, swiped three steals and swatted two shots.
Freshman Jeremy Gregory (Charlotte, N.C.) was productive in his season-high 11 minutes off the bench as he totaled five rebounds, netted three points and had one steal.
Little Rock had three players score in double figures with Jordan Jefferson leading the charge with 15 points.
After surviving the quick Little Rock surge where the Trojans jumped out to an 18-8 lead in the opening six minutes, ETSU regrouped and mounted a run of its own to take control of the game.
In just under a three-minute stretch, the Blue and Gold scored 14 unanswered points – starting with a Tipler three and ending with one from King – giving ETSU a 22-18 lead with 11:03 remaining in the stanza. From there, the lead changed hands six different times, but another Buccaneer blitzkrieg gave the Blue and Gold momentum.
If a 14-0 run earlier wasn’t enough, ETSU upped it by one as they scored 15 straight points to go ahead 42-29 following a steal by Taylor and another Tipler triple with 1:23 left in intermission. The Bucs carried a 42-35 lead into the break.
The Bucs held what looked to have been a comfortable 15-pont lead (60-45) near the midway point of the second half, but Little Rock didn’t back down.
ETSU led 76-66 after a pair of free throws by Jalen Haynes (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) with 4:37 showing on the clock, but in a game that felt like a Southern Conference match, the Trojans kept fighting back. The visitors from Arkansas eventually pulled to within four, 80-76, but the Blue and Gold were destined to send the Buccaneer faithful home with a win. King and Tipler sank the final four free throws, putting the game on ice and ETSU walked away with the eight-point non-conference win.
The Bucs stay in state as they travel to Cookeville to take on Tennessee Tech Sunday afternoon at 4 p.m. ET.
For more information on Buccaneer men’s basketball, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the men’s basketball page.