JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. - A combination of poor shooting, mounting injuries and turnovers was too much for the FGCU men’s basketball team to overcome, as they fell to the ETSU Bucs, 73-51, Saturday afternoon at the MSHA Athletic Center.
With the win, ETSU improves to 9-9 overall (5-2 A-Sun), while the Eagles fall to 5-12 (2-6 A-Sun).
After an early layup from senior Kyle Marks (West Palm Beach, Fla.) and a three-pointer from Reggie Chambers (Miramar, Fla.), the Eagles found themselves up, 5-3, at the 18:26 mark. ETSU junior guard Micah Smith hit three three-pointers in the first four minutes of the game and the Bucs jumped out to an early 9-5 lead, with 16:28 to play. Following seven straight points from forward Tommy Hubbard, the Green and Blue found themselves down 21-8, and leading 10-3 in team fouls at the midway point in the half.
Following a Sheldon Cooley fast break layup for the Bucs, ETSU had scored 15 straight points, which forced a timeout from FGCU head coach Dave Balza with 5:27 left in the half. The Eagles hadn’t scored a point since freshman Eddie Murray’s (North Ft. Myers, Fla.) layup at the 12:01 mark. Marks finally ended the nine minute scoring drought on a made free throw from the charity stripe, making the score 30-9 with 2:51 remaining in the half.
Heading into the half, the Green and Blue had just ten points, with the scoreboard reading 34-10 in favor of ETSU. ETSU’s Hubbard posted more first half points than all FGCU players combined, 12-10. The Eagles had more turnovers (17) than points (10) and only four FGCU players had recorded on the score sheet. ETSU shot 36.4-percent from the field (12-of-33), while the Eagles went 3-for-20 (15-percent) before the intermission.
After the tough first half, the Green and Blue continued to play strong, competitive basketball throughout the remainder of the game, matching ETSU point for point. Instead of just packing it in, FGCU battled and outscored the Bucs 41-39. As a team, the Eagles shot considerably better in the second half, going 15-of-30 (50-percent) from the field.
In the end, it came down to turnovers for the Green and Blue, giving the ball away 26 times in the game compared to just 13 from their opposition.
Redshirt-Freshman Anthony Banks (Lantana, Fla.) played well in the second half, scoring all 15 of his points in the final frame, on 7-of-9 shooting. Banks also pulled down 12 rebounds, marking his third double-double of the season. Additionally, Chambers and Marks added seven points apiece for the Eagles.
For ETSU, Hubbard led all scorers with 21 points, going 9-of-10 from the charity strip and Justin Tubbs added 15 points and eight rebounds.
The Eagles land back at home January 22nd to start a three game home stand with a 7:05 p.m. tip-off against Kennesaw State at Alico Arena.