Balanced Bucs bounce Tusculum, 105-43
Published 10:45 am Monday, December 18, 2023
Seven players score in double figures as ETSU cruises to third straight win
JOHNSON CITY – After a pair close wins over Jacksonville State and Tennessee Tech, the ETSU men’s basketball team was finally able to enjoy a comfortable game.
Seven players scored in double figures, including Tyler Rice scoring a career-high 17 points, as ETSU made quick work of Tusculum with a 105-43 victory on Friday night inside Freedom Hall.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
The Bucs made a season-high 33 field goals and netted 11 three-pointers, while shooting a season-best 90 percent at the free throw line (28-31).
After going 28-of-31 at the free throw line, ETSU improved to 33-5 when making at least 20 free throws since the start of the 2015-16 season. The 28 made free throws were the most by a Buccaneer team since ETSU went 31-of-35 at VMI back on Feb. 15, 2020.
ETSU scored 32 points off 22 turnovers, totaled 21 second-chance points off 19 offensive rebounds, netted 44 points in the paint and got 27 points in transition.
The Bucs were plus-26 on the glass, 57-31, and plus-eight in steals, 14-6. ETSU also dished out 20 assists.
The Buccaneer bench outscored Tusculum by six points on the night as ETSU’s reserves accounted for a season-high 49 points.
The Blue & Gold scored 51 points in the first half and followed that up with 54 points in the second half, resulting in ETSU’s first game when hitting the century mark since Jan. 30, 2021 when the Bucs defeated The Citadel, 112-84. Friday marked the 88th time in program history where ETSU scored at least 100 points in game with the Bucs being 87-1 in those contests.
The 62-point win marked the Bucs’ largest margin of victory since Dec. 29, 2019 when ETSU defeated Mars Hill by 69, 117-48.
ETSU has now made it three straight wins as the Bucs improved to 6-4 on the season, while the Blue & Gold made it 17 straight wins over Tusculum and 75 straight over non-Division I programs.
Rice, who made his first start in a Buccaneer uniform, set a new career high with 17 points on 7-of-11 shooting (3-6 from three). The Columbia, S.C. native also grabbed six rebounds and forced two steals.
Jaden Seymour added 14 points on 10-of-10 shooting at the free throw line, while Jadyn Parker notched his first double-double at ETSU (fourth career). Parker finished with 10 points and 10 rebounds in 17 minutes.
Seymour became the 13th Buccaneer to finish perfect at the free throw line with a minimum of 10 attempts.
Maki Johnson, D.J. Hughes, Gabe Sisk and Braden Ilic all scored in double figures off the bench. Johnson and Hughes each recorded 12 points, while Sisk and Ilic notched 10 points each. Sisk added nine rebounds and four assists, Hughes had eight boards and five steals, and Ilic pulled down four rebounds.
All 10 Buccaneer players who logged minutes on Friday scored points, while each player notched at least 12 minutes of action.
The Bucs used a quick start to take control early by jumping out to the 24-5 lead, while a 16-0 surge later in the half pushed ETSU’s advantage to 36 when a pair of free throws by Seymour made it 43-7 at the 4:28 mark.
Tusculum, who went nearly 10 minutes without a field goal in the first half, went on a 10-0 run late in the frame before the Bucs scored the final four points to go up 31 at intermission, 51-20.
The second half was much like the first as ETSU made 20 field goals and shot nearly 50 percent from the field.
The Buccaneer lead grew to 40 in the opening four minutes of the half when Karon Boyd grabbed an offensive rebound and laid it back in, making it 65-24 with 16:14 remaining. For the night, Boyd finished with eight points, eight rebounds, two assists and two steals.
With ETSU leading 87-41 with 7:41 left in the contest, the Bucs staged another 16-0 run over a six-plus minute stretch to push the margin into the 60s. Sisk capped the surge with an offensive rebound put-back, extending the lead to 103-41 with just over a minute remaining.
Overall, the Bucs finished the game on an 18-2 run over the final six minutes and fifty-six seconds.
ETSU closes out its home stand on Wednesday night when Kansas City comes to town for a 7:30 p.m. tip-off inside Freedom Hall. The Buccaneer women open the night with a 5 p.m. game against Gardner-Webb.