ETSU has streaks end against Western Carolina
Published 9:02 am Thursday, January 5, 2023
Poor second-half play dooms Bucs at home
JOHNSON CITY – ETSU men’s basketball saw a pair of streaks end on Wednesday night.
The Buccaneers saw their 15-game home win streak against the Catamounts and eight-game Southern Conference home opener streak come to a halt, as the Blue and Gold suffered a 71-60 setback to Western Carolina inside Freedom Hall.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
The Bucs, who opened SoCon play with back-to-back road wins last week, dropped to 6-10 overall and 2-1 in league. Western Carolina won in Johnson City for the first time Feb. 24, 1996 en route to improving to 9-7, 2-1.
Poor second-half play doomed the Bucs as they turned the ball over 14 times and scored 22 points in the final 20 minutes. For the game, ETSU coughed the ball up 18 times, resulting in 27 points for the Catamounts.
On the night, ETSU shot 50 percent (26-52) from the field, but went 3-of-10 from beyond the arc and 5-for-13 (39%) at the free throw line. Western Carolina shot 41 percent (25-61) from the field and made 13 of its 34 three-point attempts. The Catamounts finished 57 percent (8-14) at the charity stripe.
ETSU out-rebounded the Catamounts by 10, 42-32, but only cashed 11 offensive rebounds into eight second-chance points.
The Blue and Gold doubled up Western Carolina in the paint, 36-18.
After the game was tied at 38 at halftime, the Bucs were outscored 33-22 in the second half.
Since rejoining the league in 2014-15, ETSU had won all eight of its prior SoCon home openers until tonight’s 11-point setback.
For the 10th time this season, the Bucs didn’t field their full roster as Josh Taylor (Atlanta) and Brock Jancek (Knoxville, Tenn.) were out with injuries.
Jaden Seymour (Charlotte, N.C.) registered his third career double-double as he tallied 12 points and 12 rebounds.
Jordan King (Albany, N.Y.) led the Bucs with 13 points and extended his streak of making at least one three-pointer to 34 straight games as he accounted for two of ETSU’s three triples.
Jalen Haynes (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) finished with 10 points (5-of-8 shooting) and six rebounds.
Western Carolina was led by Russell Jones Jr. as he netted a game-high 21 points on 8-of-13 shooting (5-7 from three), while Tyzhaun Claude added 11 points and eight rebounds. Vonterius Woolbright posted 14 points, nine rebounds and six assists.
ETSU controlled most of the first half as they scored the first four points and used an 11-0 run to build a 10-point lead when Jeremy Gregory (Charlotte, N.C.) found King open for a fast-break three-pointer, making it 20-10 with 12:27 remaining before halftime.
The Bucs eventually pushed their lead to 12 with just under nine minutes left before intermission, but Western Carolina mounted a 12-3 surge to cut the deficit to three, 31-28 with 4:08 to play. ETSU answered with back-to-back buckets, extending its lead to seven, but the Catamounts scored 10 of the final 13 points to pull even at 38 as both teams went into the locker room.
Unfortunately, things went south in the second half as ETSU never led in the final 20 minutes and the Catamounts took advantage of the Bucs’ sloppy play.
ETSU turned the ball over 14 times in the frame, resulting in 18 Western Carolina points in the stanza.
Six minutes into the half, the Bucs were down two with the ball, but Gregory was called for an offensive foul and the Blue and Gold were never able to inch any closer. The Catamounts scored 13 of the next 17 points over the next six minutes to go up 11, while their lead eventually grew to 16 Tre Jackson forced a steal and Woolbright made his only three-pointer of the night, making it 70-54 with 3:33 remaining.
ETSU wraps up its brief two-game homestand on Saturday when the Bucs take on preseason favorite Furman. Tip-off is set for 4 p.m. inside Freedom Hall.
For more information on Buccaneer men’s basketball, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the men’s basketball page.