HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. (Jan. 7, 2013) – The streak is over.
Getting a 12-point, five-rebound effort from junior forward Hunter Harris (Nashville), the ETSU men’s basketball team snapped its nine-game losing streak by holding off a late rally from Northern Kentucky to win 49-44 Monday evening in Atlantic Sun Conference play at the Bank of Kentucky Center.
“It’s been a while and it’s nice to finally get going in the right direction again,” said ETSU head coach Murry Bartow, whose team picked up its first A-Sun victory of the season. “I thought Hunter played a great game for us, and a lot of other guys played well. We were a little better on the offensive end and I thought defensively we were good, but I think just making plays at the end to get the win was big for us.”
ETSU (3-12 overall, 1-1 A-Sun) played one of its best statistic games of the year, shooting 46 percent from the floor and out-rebounding the Norse 30-23. The Buccaneers also outscored NKU 20-8 in the paint and 14-3 off turnovers, and held the Norse to a 35 percent shooting clip.
Harris was joined in double figures by senior guard Jarvis Jones (Memphis) with 12 points, while freshman Lester Wilson (Knoxville) pitched in 11. Jones also picked up a game-high four steals in 33 minutes of action.
The Bucs played their best first half of the season, shooting 55 percent from the floor and out-rebounding NKU 14-10 to build a lead of 26-20 at the break. In the first half, the Bucs pounded the ball inside and outscored the Norse 16-2 in the paint, while also besting Northern Kentucky 10-2 in points off turnovers.
ETSU led by as many as nine at 20-11, getting a team-high eight points from Wilson before the intermission.
After the break, ETSU basically maintained a lead of between six and nine points most of the way, but NKU put together an 8-4 run in the final six minutes to get to within three points at 47-44 with 34.4 seconds left in the game.
The Norse took a shot with 13.9 seconds remaining at got the offensive rebound, but after a timeout, their inbound pass missed the mark and was intercepted by ETSU senior guard Jarvis Jones (Memphis). Jones hit both free throws to make it 49-44 with 11.6 left and iced the game from there.
Amazingly, the Bucs won despite not scoring a field goal over the final 10 minutes of the contest. All of ETSU’s seven points during that time came from the foul line.
For NKU, Eshaunte Jones led the way in a losing effort with a game-high 18 points.
The Bucs will return home to take on Stetson Thursday evening at 7 p.m. inside the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center. For more on ETSU men’s basketball, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the men’s hoops link.