East Tennessee State defeated Samford on Thursday night 81-72 in overtime after nearly blowing a 17-point 2nd half lead.
It was a game of halves on Thursday which saw ETSU dominate the first half and leading by 15 at halftime thanks to tough defense and 5 made 3-point shots.
The 2nd half started similarly as ETSU got a quick score by Jeromy Rodriguez and pushed the lead to 17. However, it was downhill for the Bucs afterwards as ETSU missed their next 10 shots. At the 12:39 Samford had cut the ETSU lead to 4 at 53-49. Samford later tied the game at 70 with 1:18 left. ETSU had two opportunities to win the game in the final 38 seconds but neither Tray Boyd or Isiah Tisdale’s shots fell.
In overtime the Bucs outscored Samford 11-2 thanks to a big 3-point shot from Tray Boyd and some clutch free throw shooting.
Part of the reason for the big comeback from Samford was due to the free throw woes for the Bucs. ETSU missed nine of 15 free throws in regulation but then went 6 for 6 in OT. The Bucs also turned the ball over 18 times.
With the win head coach Steve Forbes moves to 6-0 in overtime games while coach at ETSU and half of those overtime victories have been against Samford.
The Bucs continued to dominate the boards on Thursday night by out-rebounding Samford 48-31. Both Jeromy Rodriguez and Mladen Armus combined for a total of 36 rebounds. 19 for Rodriguez and 17 for Armus. Coach Forbes even commented in the post game that he had never seen such a dominating rebounding performance from two players in a single game. ETSU continues to lead the nation in rebounding margin at +13.9 a game.
Scott Padgett vs Karl Hess
Another interesting moment late in the game came when official Karl Hess charged towards Samford coach Scott Padgett during a verbal altercation between the two where Padgett had to be restrained. Padgett later commented in the post game where he said “Are you stepping at me right now?” at Hess.
ETSU will next face rival Chattanooga in Freedom Hall at 4PM on Saturday where ETSU legend Greg Dennis will have is jersey retired.