Kingsport Times-News: ETSU routs Norfolk State to win Sun Bowl tournament
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ETSU routs Norfolk State to win Sun Bowl tournament

From staff reports • Dec 23, 2018 at 1:34 AM

EL PASO, Texas — East Tennessee State got off to another fast start and romped to an 89-61 win over Norfolk State on Saturday night in the championship game of the Don Haskins Sun Bowl Invitational.

Tray Boyd III hit all four of his 3-point shots in the first half and the Bucs rolled to a 15-point halftime lead. They maintained the double-digit advantage throughout the second half to win the 54th annual basketball tournament.

Boyd hit 8 of 10 shots from the field and 6 of 8 from 3-point range in his game-high 24 points. Daivien Williamson, making his second straight start at point guard, scored 15 points and tournament MVP Bo Hodges had 14 points and four assists for ETSU (10-4).

“We got Tray Boyd going and stat-wise there wasn’t anything to complain about,” ETSU coach Steve Forbes said on the postgame Buc Network radio broadcast. “It was an all-around well-played game and not just a half.

“This started with our loss to Illinois. We had individual meetings with the players and had multiple practices. We got better.”

Mladen Armus pulled down 10 rebounds and Jeromy Rodriguez had eight points, seven rebounds and five steals for the Bucs. Patrick Good also scored eight points.

Derrik Jamerson led the Spartans (5-9) with 20 points. C.J. Kelly was next with eight.

As they have throughout the season, the Bucs dominated the boards. They had a 43-24 rebounding advantage, including 13-7 on the offensive boards.

ETSU, which didn’t trail in either of its two tournament games, held distinct advantages of 30-10 in points off turnovers, 36-12 in points in the paint, 40-21 in bench points and 14-2 in fast-break points.

“We got some easy baskets off turnovers and we were attacking their zone,” said Forbes, whose team led by as many as 31 points in the second half. “Going into the (Christmas) break, it was as well played a game as I can remember. We have a goal of eight nonconference wins and this team now has 10 nonconference wins.

“I’m proud of this team. We’ve still got things to work on, but we will reconvene and get ready for Furman on December 29.”

That game at Freedom Hall will be the Southern Conference home opener for the Bucs.

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