Johnson City, Tenn. - So far this season the young and inconsistent Stetson men's basketball team has had its ups and its downs. After shooting a season-high 60% from the field and defeating USC Upstate Saturday night, the Hatters suffered through a 31% season-low shooting performance Monday night and fell 62-42 to East Tennessee State University (10-7, 5-1 A-Sun) in Johnson City.
Stetson (5-11, 3-3 A-Sun) was led by freshman Corey Walden (Ormond Beach, Fla.) with 13 points and Aaron Graham (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) with 12. Walden who was 4-for-10 from the field and 5-of-5 from the free throw line led the team in scoring for the third time in the last four games. Joel Naburgs (Victoria, Australia) was the Hatters' top rebounder with five boards. ETSU's Mike Smith led all scorers with 23 points.
After trailing 30-17 at the half, Stetson was able to get to within nine points a couple of times in the second half, yet couldn't get any closer and ETSU pulled away for the eventual 20-point win. The Hatters' 17-point first half was their lowest point output in any half this season.
"The difference in this game was that ETSU really executed their offense well and took away most of the stuff we like to do", said Stetson head coach Derek Waugh. "Mike Smith really hurt us tonight with his excellent court vision and knocking down shots."
Stetson opened the game holding ETSU scoreless through the first media timeout and led 6-0 at 15:29. It was a frustrating run for the home fans who traditionally do not sit down until their Bucs score their first point. The Hatters continued to control play for the first 11 minutes before going cold from the field and allowing the Buccaneers heat up and go on a 19-0 run. An Aaron Graham three-pointer stopped the bleeding just before the teams went into the locker room. Stetson ended up shooting just 30% (6-for-20) in the first half including 1-of-8 (13%) from long range.
Next up the Hatters will return home for a 7:00 p.m. game against Mercer on Friday, January 14. The game will be televised live on Comcast Sports South. Stetson fans can also catch the games on Hatter Vision with 17-year veterans Murray Miller and Harry Arnold calling the action. Also be sure to follow the Hatters on Twitter at @StetsonSID, on Facebook at Stetson Athletics, and check out the Stetson Hatters channel onYouTube.