Garfield Blair led Stetson (11-18, 6-11) with 11 points. Brad Nuckles paced ETSU (21-8, 15-2) with 19 points and 11 rebounds for his second double-double against the Hatters this year.
“We needed to shoot well, control the tempo, rebound, and be more physical than ETSU and I don’t think we did any of those,” head coach Derek Waugh said. “It turned into a shooting contest for them.”
The Bucs raced out to a 24-5 lead, thanks to a smothering defense that forced four turnovers and held Stetson to 2-for-12 shooting in the game’s first 10 minutes. Nuckles carried the load offensively, putting in half of those 24 points on 4-for-5 shooting. He hit all three of his free throws and canned a three-pointer.
From there ETSU took a 38-16 lead into halftime. The 16 points for Stetson were a season-low for a half. The Hatters hit only four field goals, the highlight of which was a fast-break dunk from Blair that led to a three-point play.
“At times, I thought we played better in the second half,” Waugh said.
Mike Smith caught fire for the Bucs soon after, burying two threes and five field goals overall for 12 second-half points. He finished with 14.
Stetson shot just 16% in the first half, hitting 4-for-25 field goals. They were out-rebounded 22-11 and turned it over nine times.
The Hatters conclude the regular season Saturday afternoon at