Bucs stop Appy

By Seth Bartee
STAR Correspondent

   BOONE, N.C. -- Appalachian State fans yelled "Where's football?" across the court to the visiting Buccaneer faithful in Boone. But by the end of one of the fiercest Southern Conference rivalries -- ETSU and Appy St. -- Buccaneer fans knew that their basketball team had racked up its seventh straight SoCon victory and they punted the football shouts back with a resounding 93-80 win over ASU at the Holmes Center Saturday.
   Coming off their fourth SoCon game in seven days, ETSU (15-4, 7-0 SoCon) was facing a difficult task. The Mountaineers (8-11, 3-3 SoCon), rested after a week off, were salivating at beating the Bucs on their home court as they did last season.
   But those hopes were cut short as ETSU bounced back from an eight-point deficit with seven minutes left in the game.
   Nearing the end of the second half the Bucs opened up a destroying blow to the Mountaineers as they went on a 10-0 run making the game 86-78 with 53 ticks left on the clock.
   As ASU pressed the Bucs to get the ball, Ben Rhoda connected a long-court pass to Brad Nuckles, who dunked the ball to put the Bucs up by eight with 32 seconds left and put away ASU's hopes of knocking off North Division leader ETSU.
   "The last two games have been big for me," said Nuckles after his 12-point, 7-rebound effort. "I like shooting the ball from the perimeter -- I'm starting to get the feel for the ball back."
   Nuckles was just one of six ETSU players to score in double figures. Rhoda, Jerald Fields, Zakee Wadood, Anthony James and Tim Smith made the mark as well.
   "This was a very tough win for us today," said Murry Bartow. "We shot the ball at 51 percent today and put six guys in double figures. That's pretty good stats for us.
   "We have been fortunate on the road this season. This kids play good when their down and they made some important shots at the end of the game."
   James Anthony tied his career high for 3-point field goals with four. Anthony also had two big steals late in the game -- the most important coming as ASU was vying to break the tie with 3 minutes left.
   "I know I have to make plays in a close game like this one," said Anthony. "When the game is close I know I have no choice but to make shots."
   ASU has not lost two straight SoCon games at home and will have to wait another day for redemption.
   "My four-year-old son said it best -- you played good in the first half but your weren't balanced in the second half," said ASU head coach, Houston Fancher. "ETSU played good in the stretch and their a well-coached team. We didn't make some free throws in the end that would have added six points to our score. ETSU does a good job of winning on the road."
   Zakee Wadood rang up his 24th career double-double on his 18-point effort.
   "This was a really big win for us on the road," said Wadood. "We just don't quit when we get down. For Jerald and myself we know how to deal with pressure because we played on state high school championship teams.
   "We don't get anxious or nervous when we get down in a game."
   ETSU will rest one day before it plays Wofford at home Monday at 7 p.m., when it shoots for eight straight SoCon victories.