JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Feb. 14, 2013) – Sophomore forward John Walton (Memphis) scored a career high 23 points and the ETSU men’s basketball team led wire-to-wire in a 79-70 win over Kennesaw State Thursday night at the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center.
With the win, the Buccaneers – who led by as many as 17 points in the first half – improved to 9-18 overall, 7-7 in Atlantic Sun Conference play, while the Owls dropped to 3-22, 2-11.
Along with Walton’s game-high 23, the Bucs also got 22 points from senior guard Jarvis Jones (Memphis), while sophomore guard Rashawn Rembert (Tampa) matched his career high with 18 points. The Bucs shot an impressive 53 percent from the floor and 48 percent from 3-point range in the victory.
“We didn’t think it would be easy, but obviously in the first half we played very well defensively and that’s the first Division I win for us at home that we led from start to finish,” said ETSU head coach Murry Bartow, whose team won its second-straight game for the first time this season. “John Walton played by far the best game of his career and I couldn’t be more proud of him. He was the star in our comeback at Stetson, and tonight he was our MVP.
“Jarvis and Rashawn continued to play well tonight and made several big shots for us as well.”
Walton was certainly the story of the game, but his play was particularly notable in the first half, as he eclipsed his previous career high in the opening 20 minutes by scoring 17 points on a perfect 6-of-6 from the field and 5-of-5 at the foul line. His efforts helped propel the Bucs on a 14-0 run early in the game and staked ETSU to a 17-point lead at 26-9.
However, the Owls battled back to make it a 10-point game by halftime thanks to an 8-0 run of their own at the end of the half. Before the intermission, ETSU shot an impressive 63 percent from the floor and 50 percent from 3-point range, while forcing Kennesaw State into eight turnovers.
After the break, the Owls got to within single digits on multiple occasions and actually made it a four-point contest at 51-47 with just over 12 minutes left in the game. The Bucs responded at that point with a 13-4 offensive run of their own to make it 64-51 with 8:08 remaining, and KSU never mounted a serious challenge from there.
The Bucs dished out 16 assists on the evening and also shot 81 percent from the free throw line. Meanwhile, KSU finished at 42 percent shooting from the field.
For the Owls, Delbert Love scored a team-high 22, while three other KSU players reached double figures.
The Bucs will return to action at home on Saturday afternoon, taking on league rival Mercer at 4 p.m. inside the Dome. For more on ETSU men’s basketball throughout the 2012-13 season, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the men’s hoops link.