ETSU men’s basketball continues to have Chattanooga’s number.
Four Buccaneers scored in double figures, including Bo Hodges (Nashville, Tenn.) and Lucas N’Guessan (De Lier, Netherlands) combining for 27, while ETSU scored 47 second-half points to power its way to a 77-64 win over rival Chattanooga on Saturday night inside McKenzie Arena.
Hodges finished with 13 points, nine rebounds, career-high five assists and three steals, while N’Guessan came off the bench to finish with a career-high 14 points on 6-of-7 shooting. Patrick Good (Johnson City, Tenn.), who capped off a 12-2 run late in the second half with a three-pointer, finished with 13 points, and Tray Boyd III (Memphis, Tenn.) netted 10 and added two steals.
For the second straight game and sixth time this season, ETSU rallied from a halftime deficit courtesy of putting together two impressive runs that helped fuel the 13-point win. Prior to the 12-2 surge, the Bucs scored 14 unanswered points over a four-minute stretch to go ahead, 52-42 with 11:24 remaining in the game. After the Mocs pulled within four, ETSU used its second run to grab momentum and secure the win.
Highlighted by the 47 second-half points, ETSU shot 59 percent in the final stanza (17-29) en route to finishing with a 52 percent (29-56) clip for the game. The Bucs outscored Chattanooga 20-1 in points off turnovers and 42-16 in the paint, while going 12-of-13 from the free throw line. ETSU finished with 18 assists, as Good and Isaiah Tisdale (Lexington, Ky.) each dished out four.
The Bucs improved to 19-5, 9-2, while also securing their seventh straight win in the series – marking their longest win streak over Chattanooga in the 87-game history of the rivalry. The Mocs suffered their fourth straight loss and dropped to 10-14, 5-6.
ETSU started strong as they scored nine of the first 12 points and eventually led 28-18 after hitting on 11 of its first 16 shots; however, things shifted in the final seven minutes of the half.
The Bucs only scored two points in the last six minutes, fifty-six seconds of the half – including a scoreless drought that covered over six minutes – which led the Mocs to climb back into the game. Chattanooga closed that stretch on a 15-2 run to take a 33-30 lead into the locker room.
After shooting 44 percent from the field and making only two of its eight three-point attempts in the first half, ETSU flipped the script in the final 20 minutes.
Chattanooga grabbed a pair of four-point leads early in the half, but the Buccaneer defense zoned in to help spark the 14-0 surge.
During that stretch, the Bucs forced three turnovers and blocked two shots to charge ahead, 52-42, after Tisdale found Boyd open for a three-pointer at the 11:24 mark.
The Mocs threw one last punch as they inched within four following a jumper from Jerry Johnson, Jr. with 8:31 left play, but ETSU used its 12-2 run to pull away and go up 68-54 after Daivien Williamson (Winston-Salem, N.C.) assisted on Good’s triple.
Mladen Armus (Belgrade, Serbia) put the icing on the cake after he flushed one home to give the Blue and Gold their largest lead of the night, 73-57.
Chattanooga shot 43 percent for the game (23-54) and was held to 35 percent in the second half (10-29).
Freshmen Kevin Easley and Donovann Toatley led the Mocs with 12 points each.
The Bucs wrapped up their road swing with a perfect 3-0 mark and now head home to face SoCon unbeaten Wofford on Thursday night. Tipoff is slated for 7 p.m. inside Freedom Hall.
Story and photo courtesy of ETSU Athletics and Joe Avento