Riding a seven-game winning streak, the men’s basketball team looked to continue that success entering their game Saturday against SoCon foe University of North Carolina-Greensboro. Both teams came into the match-up tied for second in the conference standings.
The two last faced in the 2018 SoCon championship, where UNCG spoiled the Buc’s NCAA tournament appearance aspirations.
Like the Bucs this season, UNCG returns a veteran-led group from its SoCon championship team a season ago.
Early in first half, UNCG was able to connect on three of their attempts from outside while the Bucs struggled to make an attempt. Finally, Bo Hodges (Nashville, Tennessee) connected on a step back three to keep the deficit within seven.
Apart from the struggles from beyond the arc, the Bucs struggled from the free throw line and allowed UNCG to remain in control of the game.
“There’s no doubt who the better team was today,” said head coach Steve Forbes. “They exposed us at the three line. I feel like they were the more physical and tougher team.”
At half, the Bucs trailed UNCG by eight points after Isaiah Tisdale (Lexington, Kentucky) made a fast break lay-up with 28 seconds remaining in the half.
Both teams finished the first half shooting 40 percent. The difference in the game was UNCG was able to shoot 50 percent from three whereas the Bucs were only able to shoot 11 percent from three.
For the Bucs, Lucas N’Guessan (De Lier, Netherlands) led the team in points and rebounds with eight points and six rebounds.
“It was a really tough game,” said Jeromy Rodriguez (Santiago, Dominican Republic). “We did not come to defend.”
In the first couple of minutes of the second half, UNCG made back to back three-point attempts to take a 42-28 lead on the Bucs, forcing a quick coach Forbes timeout.
With under 16 minutes to play in the second half, Tray Boyd III (Memphis,Tennessee) made three straight attempts to get the Buc’s deficit to seven.
“I always feel we can come back,” said Boyd. “We could be down 40, and I would still believe we had a chance until the clock hits zero.”
With under 12 minutes to play, Boyd added to his great second half performance, making his fourth three-pointer to bring the deficit to six with UNCG leading 48 to 42.
As the game progressed, the Bucs could not put together enough stops defensively to get back in the game. UNCG improved to 6-1 in conference play. Following the loss the Bucs dropped to 6-2 in conference play trailing behind Wofford and UNCG.
“We think ETSU is as good as any team in college basketball and respect how difficult of environment this is to play in,” said UNCG head coach Wes Miller. “I wish people in the national stage would start to look how good this league is.”