Ohio University (19-15) at East Tennessee State (23-11)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Tuesday, March 22nd, 7:00 p.m. (et).
FACTS & STATS: Site: Memorial Center (13,000) -- Johnson City, Tennessee. Television: None. CIT Record: Ohio University 1-0, East Tennessee State 1-0. Series Record: East Tennessee State leads, 1-0.
GAME NOTES: Back home tonight for another postseason bout, the East Tennessee State Buccaneers entertain the Ohio University Bobcats in the quarterfinals of the 2011 CollegeInsider.com Tournament.
East Tennessee State, which bowed to North Florida during the semifinals of the Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament a few weeks back, still played well enough during 2010-11 in order to earn an invitation to the postseason so now the team tries to improve upon a nearly spotless home record again tonight. Last Tuesday, ETSU delivered a convincing 76-63 win against Furman here at the Memorial Center, which means the squad is now 12-1 in the building this season.
As for the Bobcats, a team which was ushered out of the Mid-American Conference Tournament a couple weeks ago by Ball State in the quarterfinals (76-73) in overtime, they matched up with a familiar foe in Marshall in the first round of this postseason tourney last week and slipped by the Thundering Herd in a 65-64 final. Like ETSU, the win for Ohio was the team's first in this event.
East Tennessee State won the only previous meeting between these two teams during the 1956-57 campaign by a score of 63-62.
The winner of this game will go up against the survivor of the Buffalo/Iona matchup in the semifinals later in the week.
A layup by D.J. Cooper with 1:30 remaining proved to be the game-winner as the Bobcats captured the one-point win over Marshall in first-round action of the tourney at the Cam Henderson Center last week. Cooper was one of three players to finish with 10 points for the Bobcats, the others being Reggie Keely and Ivo Baltic, while the top scorer overall for Ohio was DeVaughn Washington who dropped in 17 points. In a game that saw five ties and 13 lead changes, the Ohio forced the Thundering Herd into turning the ball over 15 times and shooting just 3-of-19 behind the three-point line. Even though the Bobcats have given up an average of 72.5 ppg this season, the team has still done pretty well when it comes to forcing better than 15 turnovers per contest over the course of 34 outings. Cooper, who has played close to 36 minutes per game and is one of the nation's leaders with his 258 assists this year, is also the leader on the Bobcats with 16.0 ppg and 80 steals, not to mention coming up with slightly better than five rebounds per game as well.
Mike Smith scored a game-high 32 points as the Buccaneers topped the Furman Paladins by 13 points last week. Smith finished the night shooting 11-of-17 from the floor and a perfect 9-of-9 at the free-throw line for the Buccaneers. Also scoring in double figures was Justin Tubbs with 22 points to go along with six rebounds and five steals in the win. ETSU scored the first points of the contest and never looked back, surging ahead by as many as 14 points in the first half before claiming a 43-31 advantage at the break. The Bucs, who ended up forcing 17 turnovers on the night, shot 51.9 percent from the floor in the first half as well as 12-of-14 at the free-throw line. Free-throw shooting has been huge for the Bucs this year because they've made 122 more attempts than the competition and that's a significant number when it comes to outscoring those foes by less than six points per contest. Smith has been a solid performer at the stripe with 79.0 percent accuracy over the course of his 33 appearances and that's one of the reasons why he is leading the team in scoring with 17.7 ppg. In the case of Isiah Brown (10.6 ppg, 7.3 rpg), free- throw shooting continues to be a thorn in his side as he is converting a mere 56.0 percent of his attempts.
The Buccaneers have certainly taken advantage of the homecourt advantage this season, but the Bobcats didn't make the trip to Johnson City just to roll over. In fact, as long as Cooper plays big minutes and is again productive, expect to see ETSU suffer defeat for just the second time this season at home.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Ohio University 73, East Tennessee State 69
03/22 10:31:51 ET
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