BRONX, N.Y. (Nov. 29, 2017) – Missing senior forward David Burrell (Milwaukee) due to a minor medical procedure, the ETSU men’s basketball team needed other players to step into the spotlight Wednesday night at Fordham. Freshman Bo Hodges (Nashville) and junior Andre Edwards (Compton, Calif.) answered the call.
Hodges scored a career high 20 points and grabbed eight rebounds, while Edwards came off the bench to also score a career high 11 points and collect four boards, as the Buccaneers outlasted a pesky Fordham squad 82-77 in non-conference hoops action Wednesday at Rose Hill Gymnasium.
With the win, the Bucs picked up back-to-back victories for the first time this year and improved to 4-3 overall. Meanwhile, the Atlantic 10 Conference member Rams dropped to 2-4 overall.
“I wasn’t real pleased at the start of the game, because we turned it over way too much” said ETSU head coach Steve Forbes. “We finally found our way and got going. Bo stepped in for David and really produced, and so did Andre. The biggest thing was turnovers. I thought 12 turnovers would be the key and we had 16, but we went from 13 in the first half to just three in the second half. That was the difference.”
Along with Hodges and Edwards, the Bucs also got a needed game high 22 points, nine rebounds and four assists from senior guard Desonta Bradford (Humboldt), as ETSU shot an impressive 59 percent from the field and out-rebounded the Rams 34-20 on the night.
The first half did not start well for the Bucs, who committed seven turnovers in the first four minutes of play and fell behind 6-0. Fortunately for ETSU, its defensive effort was solid and held the Rams scoreless for nearly six minutes of game play, regaining the 9-8 lead. From there, both teams traded baskets before ETSU hit 3-pointers on four of its last five made field goals of the half to take a 33-28 lead into the break.
Despite committing 13 turnovers compared to seven for the Rams, ETSU still somehow held a 13-9 advantage in points off turnovers before the break. The Bucs also shot an impressive 65 percent from the floor and 57 percent from 3-point range in the first half, and led the battle on the boards 17-10.
After the break, the Bucs went small with a lineup that included five guards. Those ball handlers helped ETSU cut down on its turnovers and pull ahead by 11 at 58-47 with 10:21 left in regulation. However, Fordham made its best run of the game, outscoring the Bucs 9-2 to pull to within four with seven minutes left.
The Rams continued to slowly cut into the ETSU lead and ultimately got to within one at 78-77 with 3.0 seconds left. Bradford was fouled and hit two pressure-packed free throws to make it 80-77. The Bucs then intercepted the Fordham in-bounds pass and junior guard Kanayo Obi-Rapu (Greensboro, N.C.) hit two more free throws to ice the game.
The Bucs will now take a six-day break before hosting Northern Kentucky on Dec. 6 inside Freedom Hall at 7 p.m.