By Collin Brooks
Tevin Glass and Hanner Mosquera-Perea had to sit at the end of the bench last season and watch their ETSU basketball team end up on the losing end of three heavyweight battles when the Bucs played Chattanooga.
On Saturday afternoon, the duo was able to land their punch, helping the Bucs collect 43 rebounds to Chattanooga’s 28 and ending a five-game skid over the Mocs with a 76-71 win inside a sold-out Freedom Hall.
Glass — a transfer from Wichita State — accounted for 14 points and 12 rebounds. His post-mate, Mosquera-Perea, a transfer from Indiana University, scored 18 points — which included some free throws in the final minutes — and nine rebounds.
“I couldn’t wait,” Glass said. “Watching the game last year, I was kind of mad about them beating us in the championship. I just wanted it for my team… I took it as a little bit of a challenge, but all-in-all we just wanted to win and take advantage of our size down low.”
ETSU Coach Steve Forbes, who scored his first victory over Chattanooga as a head coach, said that he was proud of his team as a whole.
“We talked a lot today before the game, just about no regrets; just playing hard and leaving it out there,” Forbes said. “And I really thought that is what we did, we played out guts out. There were runs they were going to make and we knew it, they are a really good team.
“It was a tremendous win for our team, and we were a team today.”
Desonta Bradford was probably the most consistent player down the stretch for ETSU, going 9-10 from the free throw line and scoring 19 points. The smooth point guard also added five rebounds, four assists and one steal, while only turning over the ball over once. He also stole the show, according to Chattanooga coach Matt McCall.
“Mosquera-Perea is terrific, Cromer is terrific, Glass is terrific. But to me, if you look at that stat sheet, Desonta Bradford controls the whole game,” McCall said. “…That guy, as your point guard was terrific. That’s no disrespect to them, because they really good too. But that guy is a difference maker.”
The Mocs were led by Greg Pryor who scored a game-high 21. Chattanooga big-man Justin Tuoyo added 15 points and finished the game with as many blocks as rebounds, three.
Forbes said one of the big keys was the free throw advantage his team held. ETSU connected on 23-31 for the contest, while the Mocs connected on 16-23. Forbes mentioned that was the first time in his team’s four contests against the Mocs that his team has shot more free throws.
ETSU’s coach was cautious to his team — and his fan base — to enjoy the win over their rivals for 30 hours and move on to the next Southern Conference contest.
“We didn’t win the league today and they didn’t loose the league today,” he said. “At midnight on Sunday, we all have to start thinking about VMI. That is the mentality that we have to have, but this gives us a lot of confidence.”
In second half of the contest, , ETSU led for all but 33 seconds in the second half after the teams came out of the locker room tied at 34. However the Bucs never took a lead larger than seven points after Mosquera-Perea finished back-to-back alley oops with 10:39 remaining in the second half.
McCall said that his team just made too many mistakes down the stretch. The Mocs had the contest within three points, 72-69, with 16 seconds left in the contest, but an errant foul by Pryor allowed Bradford to knock down free throws and put the contest out of reach.
“Our effort was their tonight, we just didn’t execute down the stretch,” McCall said. “But you get to play everyone another time, so it is all about how we will respond.”
The Mocs turned the ball over 16 times, which allowed the Bucs to score 20 points.
“We can’t turn the ball over like that and expect to win on the road, you just can’t do that,” McCall said. “In a building like this, in an environment like this, you have to be sharper and crisper on offense.”
A sellout crowd, announced of 6,149, cheered loudly for their team and Forbes said that it made a difference.
“The crowd, wow, just incredible,” Forbes said through a smile after the contest. “But I knew in my heart when I got here and I stood at that podium, that our fans would come. And they came today and they have come all season and it really makes a huge, huge difference when they do that. So I hope they are happy, we did it for them and we did it for our team.”
The Bucs will return to the court at VMI on Thursday.