The Bucs return to action Thursday when Hiwassee comes to Freedom Hall for a 7 p.m. tipoff.
“We have to be ready to go,” ETSU coach Steve Forbes said after his team’s 74-68 loss to Georgia State. “Hiwassee will come in here and it’ll be their Super Bowl. I’ve played in these games before where you come off a game like this, feel sorry for yourself and you’re not ready to play.”
Forbes said his message to his team in the locker room following Tuesday nights loss was succinct.
“This is college basketball,” he said. “It’s not going to stop. It’s going to keep coming at you and nobody’s going to feel sorry for you. We have to toughen up, we have to learn from our mistakes and we have to get better.”
LEADER IN THE CLUBHOUSE
ETSU was led by Isaiah Tisdale’s 19 points in the opener. On a night when offense was tough to come by, the junior guard, who was ranked the 15th-best junior college player last season, went 6 for 11 from the field. He also had five rebounds and four assists.
“He’s a gamer,” Forbes said. “He’s a tough kid. He’s been in some tough junior college games. He’s a competitor. He practices that way. We have to get some other guys competing and practicing like that consistently.”
Bo Hodges and Mladen Armus also scored in double figures with 11 points apiece, but they combined to shoot 10 of 35 from the field.
ETSU shot 35 percent and made just 4 of 23 from 3-point range. Even though they outscored Georgia State 42-24 in the paint, they weren’t very efficient close to the rim.
One reason the Bucs’ shooting percentage was so low was the fact that Georgia State blocked 10 of their shots. That left Forbes shaking his head.
“We’re not shot faking,” Forbes said. “We tell them and tell them ‘Shot fake and then take it up.’ We didn’t do that and they blocked 10 shots.”
The 3-point shooters misfired all night. Patrick Good was the only ETSU player with more than one 3-point basket and he went 2 for 7 from long range.
“Those are guys that have shown in the summer and fall that they can make shots and I still believe they can,” Forbes said. “We lacked composure — composure defensively and composure on offense — to run what we’re supposed to run and do what we’re supposed to do on the defensive end.”
Hiwassee is a member of the National Christian College Athletic Association. The Tigers are 3-2, having won their last three games.
Jordan Hensley, a freshman guard from David Crockett, is on the Hiwassee roster.