FORT MYERS, Fla. – Mike Smith scored 16 points and East Tennessee State held off Florida Gulf Coast 66-59 on Friday night.
ETSU opened the second half on a 21-11 run to grab its biggest lead of the game at 51-34 after a layup by Smith with 12:07 remaining.
The Eagles went on an 11-0 run to cut the lead to 55-50 with 5:10 to play. But a 7-1 surge gave ETSU a 62-51 lead with 2:16 left and the Eagles could get no closer than seven the rest of the way.
ETSU scored 26 points off 20 Florida Gulf Coast turnovers, but the Eagles outscored the Buccaneers 17-5 on second-chance points on the strength of a 35-31 rebounding edge.
Michah Williams added 15 points for ETSU (17-8, 12-2 Atlantic Sun Conference), which has won four straight.
Christophe Varidel scored 19 points, and Anthony Banks and Kevin Cantinol each added 11 for the Eagles (5-16, 2-10), who have lost three in a row.