Kingsport Times-News: Paladins blow out 'no-show' Bucs
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Paladins blow out 'no-show' Bucs

Jeff Birchfield • Feb 9, 2019 at 9:35 PM

GREENVILLE, S.C. — East Tennessee State men’s basketball coach Steve Forbes described Saturday's performance at Furman as disgraceful.

Less than two days after losing an overtime heartbreaker to Southern Conference-leading Wofford at home, the Bucs were soundly defeated 91-61 by Furman at Timmons Arena.

Down by nine at the half, the deficit grew to as many as 34 late in the second half.

It was the worst SoCon loss in Forbes’ four seasons as ETSU coach. It was his second-worst loss overall, only behind a 35-point defeat in his first season against a Villanova team that went on to win the national championship.

The result marked a 53-point turnaround from the team's first meeting, a 79-56 ETSU win in Johnson City on Dec. 29.

"We couldn't guard them," Forbes said. "There was one stretch where they may have scored 10 straight times. It was a disgraceful effort. It was disgraceful to ETSU, to the program we've built since I've been there.

"I was doing everything I could to get them to go and they didn't compete. I apologize to the people who came to the game and the people who wasted their time watching it on television. From Thursday to now is disgraceful. I won't tolerate it and we'll get it fixed."

Furman (20-5, 9-4) hit 12 of 18 from 3-point range and shot 32-for-50 overall (64 percent). The Bucs (19-7, 9-4) were ice cold from 3-point range, hitting just 2 of 14.

Jeromy Rodriguez led the Bucs by going 10-for-12 from the field to finish with 21 points, also grabbing seven rebounds. Tray Boyd added 13 points.

Furman had five players in double figures, led by Matt Rafferty, who had 19 points and five assists, and Andrew Brown, who hit 5 of 5 from 3-point range in a 17-point effort. Clay Mounce added 15 points, Jordan Lyons 14 and Alex Hunter 11.

"Nobody but Jeromy showed up," Forbes said. "We were no-shows offensively and no-shows defensively. Alex Hunter had his way off the ball screen. He and Clay Mounce were nonfactors in the last game. Brown was a nonfactor in the last game and he destroyed us.

"We didn't follow the game plan. The guards were taking bad shots. Jeromy was having his way inside and he should have touched the ball every time down the court. Instead, we had guards taking 3-point shots that were contested."

Mounce scored Furman's first nine points as the Paladins jumped out to a 12-4 lead. Furman continued to lead most of the game with ETSU leading at only one point afterward, 17-15 at the 11:51 mark.

Down by 13 late in the first half, ETSU scored on a pair of Isaiah Tisdale free throws followed by a steal and layup by Patrick Good to cut the deficit to 41-32 at the break.

The Bucs then closed to six points 49-43 off a Boyd 3-point shot at 14:31 of the second half before the Paladins pushed the lead to 18. Furman then blew open the game with a 22-2 run.

"We couldn't get in position — and time and time again we couldn't run our offense," Forbes said. "There was no physicality. When you play like that, this is what happens. We're going 6 a.m. on Monday and 3:30 (p.m.) on Monday and we will do that the rest of the week or the rest of the season until we get it fixed. I'm not going to have this."

NEXT UP

Both teams return to action on Thursday. ETSU hosts The Citadel at 7 p.m. at Freedom Hall and Furman hosts UNC Greensboro.

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