No. 19 E. Tennessee St. 99, Citadel 70
ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) _ Alvin West’s 12 points in the opening 6 minutes, 9 seconds of the second half and No. 19 East Tennessee State began its quest for a third Southern Conference title with a 99-70 victory over The Citadel on Friday.
The Citadel, which lost to the second-seeded Buccaneers (26-4) by 20 and 32 points during the season, trailed by four points late in the first half.
But West, who finished with 21 points, hurt the seventh-seeded Bulldogs (6-22) inside and outside early in the second half as the Bucs turned a nine-point lead at the break into a 22-point advantage with 11:29 left.
After Marty Story’s steal and slam dunk to open the second half, West scored nine straight points on two follow shots, a layup and 3-pointer.
Jerry Pelphrey added a 3-pointer 37 seconds after West’s, Keith Jennings scored on a layup and West sank another 3-pointer as the Bucs rode their fast break offense to a 66-48 lead with 13:51 remaining.
The Bucs, second in the nation with an average 9.2 3-pointers a game, hit 12 of 33.
Jennings scored 14 points in the first half and finished with 22. Freshman reserve Trazel Silvers had 17 and Story 15.
Ted Mosay led the Bulldogs with 19 points and reserve Andre Harris had 16.
East Tennessee played 10 minutes of the first half without second-leading scorer Calvin Talford (15.6), who injured a nerve in his left leg while jumping for a rebound five minutes into the game. Talford returned for four minutes, but did not play in the second half.
The lead changed hands eight times in the first half and the underdog Citadel, which shot 58 percent in the half, drew even at 26-26 with 9:05 left. Jennings led an 11-0 run with a 3-pointer and a layup for a 37-26 lead.
After two East Tennessee State turnovers, the Bulldogs cut the lead to four, but the Bucs settled for a 47-38 halftime edge.