ETSU slams Southern

By Matt Hill

   JOHNSON CITY--The East Tennessee State Buccaneers were like Cindy Crawford in a photograph Saturday afternoon. They were picture perfect.
   ETSU shocked the Georgia Southern Eagles by handing them 100-65 blowout defeat at Memorial Center.
   This was pretty much the same Georgia Southern team (12-9, 5-5 in SoCon) that defeated the Bucs twice last season, and knocked the Southern Conference regular season champs out of the SoCon tournament last year in the quarterfinals.
   You could tell that Dimeco Childress wanted this one badly. He scored a career-high 35 points, shooting 14-of-22 from the field.
   "We owed these guys for putting us out last year, and for beating us down there pretty good." Childress said. "We wanted to come out and put it on them."
   The Bucs did just that.
   ETSU shot 49.3 percent from the field, compared to Georgia Southern's dismal 30 percent.
   Georgia Southern also turned the basketball over 27 times, while the Bucs only gave it up 16 times on the afternoon.
   As for Childress, he felt like he couldn't miss.
   "I think I was in the zone," Childress said. "I got a lot of wide-open shots, and I took my time making them."
   The Bucs' performance was one that ETSU head coach Ed DeChellis was very happy with.
   "I was very, very proud of our team," DeChellis said. "I was very, very proud of the effort they gave this afternoon. This is a team that continues to get better. I thought we played extremely well this afternoon."
   The Bucs really started to turn the corner midway through the first half. ETSU was tied with the Eagles at 29-29 with 8:55 to go, but then held Georgia Southern scoreless for almost six minutes.
   During this time, ETSU went on a 13-0 spurt with five different players scoring during that span. The Bucs led 42-29 with 3:15 to go before halftime, and took a 51-37 advantage into the intermission.
   The Bucs just dominated in the second half. ETSU was ahead 70-45 at the 12:47 mark, and had an 87-51 cushion with 7:15 left.
   ETSU continued to be intense throughout the contest. And according to Tiras Wade, the Bucs were not about to let up.
   "In the second half we didn't come back down," Wade said. "We just kept putting it away. And that all starts with defense. Once you get that kind of a lead, you can really play the rest of the game on defense and execute. You're going to score some points, just don't let them score any."
   Wade finished the night with 16 points, but by the end of the game some players who normally don't receive much action were making the most of their opportunity.
   One was senior walk-on Jon Perry. He came in and made his only shot attempt in the final stages to make it a 96-62 ETSU lead.
   Another guy who received a shot to show off his skills was little- used freshman Keeton Brooks. His three-pointer got the Bucs to the Century mark.
   "I think that's important for the bench," DeChellis said. "I think it's important for practice that everybody gets to play. I wanted to get some of those guys in their earlier, but I just didn't feel very comfortable for some reason."
   It was a very uncomfortable day for Georgia Southern all around.
   Players like Julius Jenkins and Kashien Latham really hurt the Bucs last year, but were pretty much silent after the early stages.
   DeChellis had just the right game plan for them.
   "We kind of made them play a little more half-court," DeChellis said. "I think Georgia Southern is a very good basketball team, and they play in those spurts. They're very hard to guard. You can guard them, but they're still going to make those shots. We had to limit those spurts, and I thought the zone would limit those spurts."
   Jerald Fields and Ryan Lawson also hit double figures for the Bucs. Fields poured in 14, while Lawson netted 10.
   Jenkins finished with 16 points to lead Georgia Southern.
   The Bucs now improve to 12-9 overall, and 5-5 in the Southern Conference heading into a showdown at Western Carolina Monday night.