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Bucs, Good hope to close regular season in style

Joe Avento • Mar 1, 2019 at 3:35 PM

The last time East Tennessee State and Western Carolina met on the basketball court, Patrick Good re-wrote his school’s record book.

It was just a little more than a month ago that Good put together an historic shooting night for ETSU against the Catamounts, breaking the school record with 11 successful 3-point shots.

“Those moments are once-in-a-lifetime moments,” Good said as the teams prepared for their second meeting. “But if my name’s called again, I feel like I’ll be able to ring the bell and answer. If not, I feel like somebody else will be able to do it as well.”

The Bucs (22-8 overall, 12-5 Southern Conference) play host to the Catamounts on Saturday at 4 p.m. in Freedom Hall. It’s the regular-season finale for both teams as they get ready for next week’s SoCon tournament in Asheville, North Carolina.

ETSU coach Steve Forbes said he disagreed that Good’s performance was “once-in-a-lifetime.” In fact, the day after the record was set, Forbes said he hoped Good would break it again.

“We did a good job of finding him once he got going,” Forbes said. “I think Pat’s the type of player who can do that again.”

Good, who has played the entire year through a severe hip injury that will almost certainly require surgery after the season, is coming off two consecutive subpar games. He’s scored a total of two points in a win at VMI and a loss at UNC Greensboro.

“Obviously, I haven’t hit the shots, but I’m still shooting in rhythm, still shooting the shots I’ve been shooting all year,” he said. “They just haven’t gone in. I’ll stick to the routine.”

As far as the hip goes, Good has been resting as much as possible and has missed a lot of practice time, hoping to make it through the season.

“I’m just taking it one day at a time,” he said. “I’ve been better. The most important thing is I want to be as close as 100 percent when we get to Asheville.”

BUCKING A TREND

ETSU has lost its final regular-season game the last two seasons, and that’s a trend Forbes wants to see end.

“You want to finish on a good note,” he said. “You want to have some momentum going into the tournament. One of the things people say at the time of year, you just want to win. I agree with that, but you also want to feel good about how you’re playing.

“I think we do right now. Ever since we lost to Furman, I think we bounced back really good. I know we lost to Greensboro but we played really well. I think we’re in a good place.”

Heading into the final day of the regular season, ETSU seems destined for the No. 4 seed in the conference tournament. That would mean a 2:30 p.m. quarterfinal opener on Saturday, March 9. If ETSU wins Saturday and Furman loses to Chattanooga, the Bucs would move up to No. 3 and open the tournament in the 8:30 p.m. game.

SCORING RACE

It will be interesting to watch the ETSU scoring lead as three players are within four-tenths of a point for the top spot.

Heading into Saturday’s game, Jeromy Rodriguez leads at 11.7 points per game. Tray Boyd III is next at 11.4 and Good is third at 11.3. Bo Hodges averages 9.9.

Rodriguez’s average of 11.2 rebounds per game is seventh in the country and leads the SoCon.

BETTER TO GIVE

For the first time in ETSU history, the team has six players with at least 50 assists. Isaiah Tisdale leads the way with 87, followed by Daivien Williamson with 69. Hodges has 66.

Tisdale is 15th in the country in assist-to-turnover ration at 3.00.

SENIOR DAY

Reserve forward James Harrison is the lone senior on the ETSU roster and he will be honored before the game. It’s a stark contrast from last season when the Bucs said goodbye to seven seniors.

“We needed a panoramic camera last year,” Forbes said. “This year we just need a Polaroid.”

Graduate manager Bryan Forbes will also be honored during the pregame ceremony. At halftime, the senior class from the cheer and dance teams will be honored.

WELL RESTED

Because of a scheduling quirk, the Bucs have plenty of time off heading into the tournament. They will have played one game in 13 days by the time the postseason rolls around.

“Some years I probably wouldn’t like that because you just want to play,” Forbes said. “With this team, I probably like it a little bit because it gives us a chance to get healthy.

“We probably need it with Pat’s situation, Bo’s situation. Jeromy’s been fighting some things throughout the year, too. To be honest, it’s probably OK for us to have some time to heal up.”

SCOUTING WESTERN

The Catamounts come in 7-23 overall, 4-13 in the SoCon, and have lost six of their last seven games.

Carlos Dotson averages 13.6 points and 9.4 rebounds to lead the Catamounts. Kameron Gibson is scoring 13.0 points a game and Kingsport’s Matt Halvorsen is at 11.9.

ETSU has won 24 of the last 25 meetings between the two teams.

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