JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Feb. 2, 2013) – After missing a game-tying layup on Thursday night against Northern Kentucky, a distraught Jarvis Jones (Memphis) said he was unable sleep after the game. Well, Jones should sleep like a baby after his performance Saturday afternoon.
ETSU’s lone senior guard scored a career-high 36 points in a spectacular performance that included three straight made 3-pointers in overtime, lifting a short-handed ETSU men’s team past Atlantic Sun Conference rival Lipscomb 90-88 inside the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center.
The Bisons, who dropped to 8-14 overall, 3-8 in A-Sun play, had an opportunity to tie the game at the buzzer in overtime, but Deonte Alexander’s shot missed the mark and the Bucs grabbed the rebound. With the win, ETSU improves to 7-17 overall, 5-6 in league play.
“I had to redeem myself after the other night. I was so frustrated I couldn’t even sleep,” said Jones, who despite the disappointing final play set his previous game high with 23 points in Thursday’s loss to NKU. “We’ve played a lot of close games this year, so I knew I would get another chance. I’m just glad my teammates had confidence in me, and let me have a chance to do this.”
The Buccaneers – who were without the services of junior forward Hunter Harris (Nashville) who is attending a family medical issue – trailed by as many as 10 points in the second half before going to their “white” full-court press with just over six minutes left in regulation. That defensive switch paid immediate dividends as ETSU produced a 14-4 run to tie the game at 74-74.
From there, both teams traded the lead four times before a Jones 3-pointer gave the Bucs a 79-77 edge with 17 seconds left. Alexander then tied it at 79 on a pair of free throws with eight seconds remaining, and later stole the ball from Jones with three seconds left on the clock only to miss a game-winning layup attempt at the buzzer.
In overtime and already missing Hunter’s services, the Bucs were forced to play without three post players – junior Kinard Gadsden-Gilliard (Georgetown, S.C.), sophomore forward John Walton (Memphis) and freshman Lester Wilson (Knoxville) – all of whom fouled out during regulation. ETSU head coach Murry Bartow employed a group of guards at that point, which included Jones, sophomore Rashawn Rembert (Tampa), and freshmen Petey McClain (Mobile, Ala.), Mario Stramaglia (Birmingham, Ala.) and Yunio Barrueta (Miami, Fla.).
That group – which did not have a player taller than 6-foot-4 – held its own against a much larger Lipscomb team in the final minutes and in overtime, ultimately helping the Bucs hold on.
“That was a fun win,” said ETSU head coach Murry Bartow, whose team has now won four straight Saturday league games. “I’m so proud of our guys, especially the last five that was out there. They did what they had to do, and I’m so happy for Jarvis to bounce back like that and make the plays we needed before and during overtime.”
Along with Jones, the Bucs got 11 points each from Wilson, Rembert, Stramaglia and Walton. Meanwhile, Lipscomb had a team-high 21 points from Martin Smith, while his brother Malcolm Smith netted 18, Alexander finished with 16, and Stephen Hurt added 11.
The Bucs will return to action Thursday evening on the road at Florida Gulf Coast with tip set for 7 p.m. in Fort Myers, Fla. For more on ETSU men’s basketball throughout the 2012-13 season, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the men’s hoops link.