Who would step up?
That question has been asked by so many ETSU men’s basketball die-hards in so many different situations that it is hard to keep count.
Before the season started, many assumed Mike Smith would lead an offensive attack that had to replace one of the most prolific scoring duos in A-Sun history. After an injury derailed his senior campaign, the burden fell to a whole collection of Bucs with several players putting together great stretches of games. Most recently, Tommy Hubbard and Isiah Brown shouldered the load in the last few weeks.
Trailing 33-31 with just over 14 minutes to play, head coach Murry Bartow glanced down his bench and took in a disappointing site … Brown sitting next to him, saddled with four fouls. Want more bad news? Hubbard was playing with three fouls of his own and the Bucs were going to need someone to be the aggressor.
Looks like Micah Williams has been listening. The junior from Manchester, Tenn., rescued the Bucs offensively, scoring a career-high 32 points in a 72-64 victory over No. 4 Campbell.
“With Micah we just want him to be aggressive,” commented Bartow in the post-game press conference. “We tell him everyday to be aggressive. He is a very talented player that can score a lot of points in a hurry. I tell him all the time that he can get 20 points every game.”
Williams scored 20 of those points after Brown picked up his fourth foul to launch the Bucs into their fourth consecutive semifinal appearance.
“I was just trying to be aggressive like coach wanted me to be,” reflected Williams. “Luckily, I was making shots and once they were going down I started to get in a groove.”
While they may not have a “Big Three” to lead them to an NCAA appearance like last season, this year’s Bucs will keep you guessing game-to-game. All told, eight different players have led the team in scoring this year and “Big Eight” isn’t nearly as catchy and is more known for Nebraska-Oklahoma football.
Who do you think had the best single-game performance in ETSU's illustrious post-season history?