Bucs bite Terriers

By Matt Hill
STAR STAFF

   JOHNSON CITY -- In about the time it takes to shower, The East Tennessee State Buccaneers pretty much washed out Wofford Wednesday night.
   The Buccaneers went on an 10-0 run in a six-minute stretch during the second half to end any hopes of Terrier victory, and propelled ETSU to a 71-58 win in Memorial Center.
   Wofford was down 50-47 with 9:59 left to go, but didn't score again until the 3:59 mark. The Bucs switched to a zone defense during this time, and it seemed to pay major dividends for ETSU.
   "I thought our legs were getting a little tired," ETSU head coach Ed DeChellis said. "Jerald (Fields) had four fouls, and I wanted to protect him a little bit. We were going to play it, it was just a matter of when we were going to play it. It kind of makes you play a little tentatively, it doesn't make you as aggressive, and it kind of pulled them away from the basket.
   "They want to make you play at a certain speed and pace offensively, so we wanted to try and make them play a little differently, and we were able to do that tonight and that helped us a great deal."
   ETSU forward Zakee Wadood thought that the change in defense also helped the Bucs to put the game away.
   "We just started switching defenses up on them, and put more pressure on the ball," Wadood said. Once we did that we forced some turnovers, and got some easy baskets. That's what broke the game open.
   The Bucs hit 8-of-10 free-throws during that big run.
   But it was the Buccaneer defense that shined last night, and Wadood thought that was what led to scores on the other end.
   "What changed the game was when we scored on our defense," Wadood said. "That's what we practice every day, and it worked tonight"
   Guard Dimeco Childress, who scored 20 points on the night, thought that the defense did its job in forcing Wofford to take bad shots.
   "We wanted to make them take tough shots, box out, and run on the other end and get easy baskets." Childress said.
   Wadood was a big reason ETSU led for most of the game. He scored 17 points, but also totaled 16 rebounds.
   "All week coach has been telling me to go rebound," Wadood said. "I got some rebounds and some stickbacks. I was just trying to help the team in any way I could."
   The Bucs ended up gathering 17 offensive rebounds on the evening, which is something that guard Tiras Wade says is a priority for the basketball squad.
   "As a team we're looking to lead the Southern Conference in offensive rebounds," Wade said.
   Wade recently entered the starting lineup, and showed in this game why he has earned that spot. The freshman scored 16 against Terriers.
   Wade also played the whole second half, and scored 10 of his 16 after the break.
   "First half I was real tired, and real fatigued," Wade said. "I was taking myself out. But I just prayed to God to give me some strength, and I guess the Holy spirit took over from there because I thought I was dead after the first half."
   The Bucs are a young basketball team that has been struggling of late, so DeChellis hopes ETSU can build off the last ten minutes of the game.
   "We made some shots when we needed to make them," DeChellis said. "We made some plays when we needed to make them, and hopefully it will give our guys some confidence."
   A player that has to have some more confidence after this one is forward Isaac Potter. He has seen very little playing time during his career at ETSU, but had nine points Wednesday night.
   "I thought Isaac Potter came off the bench, and really gave us some quality minutes," DeChellis said. "He scored some baskets for us, and got some big rebounds."
   Wofford drops to 9-10 overall, and 3-4 in Southern Conference play, while the Bucs improve to 10-8 overall, and 3-4 in SoCon action.
   DeChellis thought it was a much-needed win for the Bucs, whose home winning streak is now at 18 games.
   "I think our kids are confident here playing at home," DeChellis said. "I think our kids like playing at home, and we've won some games here now. It was nice to get back home. I think any chance you can get back here to play some games is good.
   "We were needing this win desperately to get our confidence back, and get a little bounce back into our step. "Hopefully this win tonight will take care of that."
   The Bucs will look for 19 home wins in a row Saturday afternoon against Chattanooga. Gametime is at 4 p.m.
   ETSU NOTES
   *Center Cory Seels has withdrawn from school. He was out with a shoulder injury this season, but will not return to the team.
   *ETSU guard Ryan Lawson saw his impressive free-throw streak come to an end against Wofford. Lawson was 31-of-31 going into the final seconds, but missed two in a row. It was his first two misses of the season.
   *Childress was honored before the game Wednesday night for hitting the 1,000-point club. He joined the likes of Greg Dennis, Keith Jennings and Calvin Talford in a game at College of Charleston earlier this year.