ROCK HILL, S.C. — These are the kinds of games we used to love when ESPN had its Bracketbusters series.
Of course, as it does with pretty much anything we actually like, the four-letter did away with that series, and now we don’t get to see them as often.
I did double duty for ETSU’s 76-74 victory over Winthrop on Saturday — my gamer appears in the Rock Hill Herald, and you can (and should) read it here. Due to deadline and column space, there were some areas on which I was unable to sufficiently expand, so we’ll explore them in a bit more detail here.
Patrick Good knocked down two incredibly huge triples
Winthrop drew level at 62 with ETSU on a Josh Ferguson layup at the 6:44 mark, and Good put the Bucs back in the lead on the ensuing possession with a bucket of his own. Those two points would be the last ETSU would score for over three minutes, with a 9-0 Winthrop run giving the Eagles a 71-64 lead and energizing the Homecoming crowd.
Good came off a curl on the right side of the perimeter and banged home a trey to cut that lead to four, which led to an ETSU timeout. Daivien Williamson then converted on two free throws to cut the Eagle lead to two. Then, with 2:29 to play, Good squared up and drew down on another three, giving the Bucs a one-point advantage.
Good commented to the media about the significance of the three that gave his side the lead:
Isaiah Tisdale’s steal was the defensive play of the game
After an and-one from Winthrop guard Nych Smith — we’ll talk more about him in a bit — the Eagles led by one with 26 seconds to play. The Eagles needed simply to get the ball inbounds, then absorb a foul. Winthrop needed to call a timeout on its first attempt to get the ball into play, then successfully did so on the second attempt. Tisdale then jumped the second pass and quickly dished to Jeromy Rodriguez, who put home the bucket that essentially gave the Bucs the victory.
Tisdale commented on the steal to the media after the game:
ETSU coach Steve Forbes was quite vocal on scheduling
We mentioned Bracketbusters earlier, and Forbes made his opinions known about the benefits of scheduling other mid-majors. He mentioned that the SoCon wasn’t a two-bid league and would not be one (much like the Big South), so it only made sense to aggressively schedule to prepare for the postseason. (Author’s note: As a proponent of great mid-major games, I wholeheartedly agree.)
Forbes made these comments about scheduling for mid-majors:
Forbes’ team philosophy ties in with…baseball (?)
The Bucs tallied 19 dimes on 29 made shots in the game, which tied in nicely with ETSU’s offensive philosophy. Forbes shared with us (much like his team shared the ball) his team’s mantras. One of those mantras inspired a story about Forbes’ old baseball coach, of all things:
The final play was designed to keep the ball away from someone — and almost backfired
Forbes commented during his availability about the instruction he gave to keep Smith (26 points, 9-12 FG) from getting the final shot. Smith had converted an and-one two possessions prior, and showed no fear in driving to the basket throughout the game.
Smith took the ball on the inbounds play, raced up the floor, then drove under the basket and kicked to forward Micheal Anumba on the right wing. Anumba immediately redirected a pass to guard Kyle Zunic, whose perimeter shot hit the backboard and rim, then fell to the floor.
Winthrop coach Pat Kelsey commented after the game on the final play:
ETSU returns home to Johnson City to play in the mainlands portion of the Cayman Islands Classic. The Bucs will face Chicago State Monday night.
Winthrop travels to Rupp Arena Wednesday to take on Kentucky. That game will take place Wednesday afternoon.