The Bisons, 92-81 winners over Campbell Monday night, visit ETSU for an Atlantic Sun game in Johnson City. The Bisons are, 10-7, 5-3 and have won two of their last three games. ETSU, winner of its last eight games, is 12-7, 7-1 in the conference.
The game will be televised regionally on CSS-TV.
ETSU holds a 27-10 edge on the Bisons dating back to 1951 when both teams were playing in the NAIA.
“ETSU’s starting five is like a Southeastern Conference team,” Sanderson said. “They are big and strong and athletic. They can do a lot of things.”
Last season the two teams split their games with each losing on its home court. ETSU won 71-69 at Allen Arena and the Bisons came away with an 85-84 overtime win at the ETSU Athletics Center.
“Every game we have with ETSU seems like it comes down to the last possession,” Sanderson said. “For years our games have been hotly-contested. We scout each other very well. I don’t think this game will be different than any of the other games we have played against them.”
The Bisons are led by center Adnan Hodzic with 19.6 points per game and guard Josh Slater with 16.8. They are ranked first and second respectively overall in the A-Sun.
ETSU is led by Mike Smith, fourth overall in the A-Sun, with 15.9 points per game. Also in double figures for ETSU are Micah Williams with 13.5 and Isiah Brown with 10.4.
On the boards the two teams are also pretty evenly matched. Hodzic is second in the conference with 7.9 per game. Brown is third with 7.5 and Smith is fourth with 7.2. Slater is tied for sixth with 6.8.
The Bisons have been working hard to make adjustments both offensively and defensively. Sanderson likes what the Bisons are doing on offense.
“We have to have balance on offense,” Sanderson said. “Against Campbell we scored 92 points on 43 shots off of 20 assists and 28 field goals. That is pretty amazing.
“We have to get more of that. And they understand what that is. We have been working on this for the last seven days. I like the direction we are heading.”
Sanderson stresses that shot selection is one of the most important aspects of the team. He wants his players to continue to make good choices with their shots.
“We have to turn down good shots to get better shots,” Sanderson said. “If you are unselfish that is easy to do.”
Defensively, the Bisons have more room for improvement than they do on offense. The Bisons used a combination of man-to-man and zone against Campbell. But this team is different than Bisons’ teams of the past.
“We don’t have the ability to change a game defensively like we have in the past because of our personnel,” Sanderson said. “We have to guard with five guys. Our positioning on the floor defensively is very important.
“We have to understand where the ball is on the floor and where we need to be defensively. If one guy is out of position on a play we could pay.”
The road trip continues Sunday afternoon at USC Upstate at 1. The Bisons are back home for the second edition of “The Battle of the Boulevard” against Belmont Tuesday night at Allen Arena.
Written by Mark McGee, Senior Publisher/Director of Media Relations.