ETSU avenges last year's ASU loss

By Wes Holtsclaw

   BOONE, NC -- The East Tennessee State Bucs redeemed themselves at the Holmes Center on Saturday afternoon.
   At a facility and campus where the current ETSU senior crew has had a hard time pulling away with a victory, the unit was the comeback kids again in their seventh conference win of the season at Appalachian State.
   ETSU scored 10 points in the final minute, with a big late comeback to seal the deal at 93-80.
   The motivation for their performance came from last year's embarrassing loss in which the Bucs gave up 108 points.
   "The whole time I was thinking, this is my last game in this gym and I've got to come out with a win," said ETSU senior Jerald Fields, who cranked out 17 points despite being plagued with four fouls for the majority of the second half.
   "We heard about last year's game the whole time before the game from the coaches," he said. "We knew we had to turn it up and show them that it was a fluke last year."
   The Bucs are now 7-0 in conference play for the first time in school history and that number is likely to go up with Monday's home game against Wofford.
   ETSU has been involved in several close games this season, which has both helped and taken away from the squad.
   It helped them Saturday afternoon, as they were primed for a comeback after trailing by eight.
   "The last six or seven minutes of every game have been like this," said sophomore Brad Nuckles, who dropped 12 points with seven boards. "We've been in this scenario, pretty much, in every game."
   "Last year was embarrassing because we gave up 108 points and didn't play any defense," he said. "This year, we wanted to come up here and win this game. We had a lot of fans here and it's a great place to play."
   Zakee Wadood braved the rowdy Mountaineer student section throughout the entire game as they booed him loudly each time he touched the ball.
   Of course, Appalachian State couldn't stop him from dropping 18 points and grabbing 12 boards.
   According to James Anthony, the crowd got the Bucs into the game.
   "We feed off of that and it gives the game a little bit more life," he said. "They got everybody going early and it was fun."
   Ben Rhoda added double digits as well for the Bucs, while Appalachian had four players reach double digits, with Jonathan Mitchell also reaching double-double status with ten points and eleven boards.
   ETSU plays Wofford at home on Monday.