Bucs swamp Coastal for 11-point win
By Allen LaMountain

   JOHNSON CITY -- An early seven-point run gave the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers hope for an upset on Friday night at Memorial Center, but tenacious defense led by freshman point guard Tim Smith quickly extinguished those hopes.
   East Tennessee State (5-4, 0-0 SoCon) forced 27 turnovers -- 14 in the first half -- and with Smith, Zakee Wadood and Jerald Fields leading the charge, the Bucs overcame the early malaise and ran off with a 93-82 victory.
   "The guys played well in spurts tonight," said Buccaneers head coach Ed DeChellis. "We haven't done it over a full game yet. The guys said they felt like they were running in mud early on."
   CCU took a seven-to-nothing lead in the first three minutes of play, but the Bucs responded with an eight-to-two run to close the lead to 9-8. The Bucs defensive pressure then forced a turnover and Wadood finished with a mighty one-handed slam to give ETSU a 10-9 lead. Seconds later, Smith got a steal under the CCU hoop and fed Fields who cruised in for a two-handed slam at the other end and the Bucs led 11-10 and would never trail again.
   "ETSU took advantage of our inexperience at the point," said CCU head coach Pete Strickland. "Smith really showed up with six steals and the Bucs were very aggressive off the ball."
   The Bucs put together several mini-runs of four and six points to open a 51-34 advantage at the break, with Wadood's 12 points leading the way. Tiras Wade and senior point guard Ryan Lawson each contributed eight first-half points for ETSU, who shot 17-of-30 (56.7 percent) in the opening half.
   The Chanticleers looked a step slow against the Bucs trapping defense, with sophomore point guard Colin Stevens stepping in for injured junior Alvin Green. Stevens turned the ball over a half dozen times on his own, while scoring just five points.
   "ETSU was voracious on the press," Strickland admitted. "And while we stayed aggressive, we needed to be much stronger on the boards. Fields came up big for them when we tried to cut it under double figures in the second half."
   In the first half CCU shot 13-of-30 (43.3 percent), but the Bucs went to the charity stripe by a two-to-one ratio over CCU - shooting 15-of-22 - while the Chanticleers went to the free throw line just eight times (hitting six).
   Forward Torrey Butler led CCU in the first half with seven points, while post Mihal Raducanu and E.J. Gallup each tossed in six CCU points.
   "We were very flat early especially on defense," said Wadood who finished with a game-high 22 points. "Smith got us going with a couple of steals. He fits my style, I like to run up and down the floor and he is like that, he gets my juices flowing. He brings us a lot of energy."
   A three-point play by Wadood opened a 57-38 Bucs lead that soon was trimmed to 61-47 by a short nine-to-four CCU run, led by Butler who finished strong with 19 points on six-of-10 shooting from the field.
   A steal and bucket by Smith gave the Bucs a 71-53 lead at the 13:08 mark of the second half and sophomore forward James Anthony's bucket at the 11-minute mark gave ETSU a 77-57 advantage.
   "We know when we play that we have to spend a lot of energy," said Smith. "We work hard on that in practice because we want to let all our opponents know that that's how we will play every game."
   A 9-0 CCU run cut the Bucs lead to 85-70, but Smith nailed a trey to end the threat and give ETSU a comfortable 18-point lead at 88-70.
   Freshman guard Ben Rhoda scored 12 points, while Fields tallied 11, and Smith had a solid 18-point effort for ETSU. Wade, Lawson and Anthony each finished with eight points on the night.
   "Smith plays so hard and when he makes plays it carries over," DeChellis said. "Zak - other than free throws - had a good game. And I though Ben Rhoda and Anthony played well. Tonight, the guys played well enough to win, we'll take it and move on. As a coach you are never satisfied, you want your guys to play hard and with the energy we need to have. Hopefully, the break will let the guys get recharged. The break will help us."
   The Bucs will now get seven days off before traveling to Belmont College on 12-28, and then a game on Long Island against South Florida on the 29th. ETSU's next home court appearance will be on January 2 when they host Juniata College, before opening the SoCon slate with a contest against UNC-Greensboro at Memorial Center.