Freshmen spark Bucs in preseason tuneup

By Matt Hill

STAR STAFF

   JOHNSON CITY -- The media covering the ETSU-Charleston exhibition game had to buy their own drinks, but the Buccaneer freshmen provided free refreshment for the fans.
   James Anthony, Tiras Wade and Keeton Brooks all shined in their ETSU debut in a game against former collegiate players won by the Bucs 97-83 in Brooks Gym.
   "I saw some good stuff out of our young kids," ETSU head coach Ed DeChellis said. "I know what our older guys can do, now I'm trying to get our young kids to mature and grow up and to help us."
   DeChellis probably has nothing to worry about, as they were the stars on this night.
   Brooks led all scorers with 14, while Wade added 13. Anthony also contributed as he ran a very smooth game at point in relief of Cliff Decoster.
   The freshman also came up big in a first half run. Charleston was up 15-10 early on before the freshman were put in. After the newcomers were inserted, the Bucs went on a 37-7 surge to take a commanding 47-22 lead with 4:05 to go in the first half.
   "Tonight they did a good job," DeChellis said. "I think it was good for them to knock the cobwebs off, and play in front of a crowd. I think it was a good outing for the young kids."
   Wade and Brooks came up big at the free-throw line, which was a weakness for ETSU last season. Brooks made all three of his attempts, while Wade 8-of-12 from the charity stripe.
   Overall, the Bucs were 27-of-35 from the foul line.
   "I was happy about that," DeChellis said. "We shot the ball well from the free-throw line tonight."
   Wade was big in that run the Bucs made, and he looks like he could be a dominant force in the next few years.
   Anthony and Wade are both from the Tampa area, so Anthony knows what he can do.
   "He came a long ways in high school," Anthony said. "His handles, his shot, everything. He's looking real good right now."
   The freshmen may have been impressive, but Anthony believes they have a long way to go before you can call them superstars.
   "We need to work on our defense a little bit better," Anthony said.
   That defense did sputter a little bit late in the first half and early in the second half. Charleston cut the Buccaneer lead to 51-35 at the half, then really made things interesting in the second stanza.
   Charleston started the second half on a 25-10 run that cut the ETSU lead to 61-60 with 14:00 minutes to go in the contest.
   "The only thing that really bothered me was the way we came out in the second half," DeChellis said. "That was the focus point at halftime. We wanted to take this to 22 and 24, and just keep things rolling, but we didn't. We went the exact opposite way. That was disappointing."
   The Bucs quickly took control, as they outscored Charleston 24-7 in the next 6:30 minutes to put the game out of reach.
   Jerald Fields produced a solid effort for the Bucs. He shot 5-of-7 from the field en route to an 11-point effort.
   Dimeco Childress netted 13 points, but was only 3-of-11 from the field. Childress did make all seven of his free-throw attempts.
   Shawn Good led the Charleston team with 16 points.
   A couple of players for Charleston were very familiar to the fans attending Thursday night's game. The team featured former ETSU players Greg Dennis and Marty Story.
   It was a very special night for Dennis. He is the all-time leading scorer in ETSU history, but could only manage 10 on this night.
   Dennis played on the Buccaneer squad that defeated Arizona in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in 1992. He was impressed with the current Buccaneer squad, and thinks they could be dangerous this season.
   "They're very athletic, but the thing I'm impressed about them is that they really execute," Dennis said. "They set their screens, they have guys that come off screen. They shoot it off the screens well. The guys post on the blocks, and they hit them. They execute, and they play good defense."
   Dennis was happy to be back here, but wanted a little better effort Thursday night.
   "It felt good," Dennis said. "I just wish we had played a little better. We came out to give them the work. That's the whole idea. I think they got a good workout, and they played well tonight."
   The Bucs open their season Friday night next Friday at home against Guilford College.