JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Nov. 30, 2013) – A familiar foe from the past brought out the best in the ETSU men’s basketball team Saturday afternoon.
Shooting 54 percent from the field as a team and getting impressive individual performances from several players, the Buccaneers raced to an early lead and held back a late rally by former Southern Conference rival Marshall to collect an 88-78 victory in the final game of the First Bank and Trust Company Roundball Showcase inside Freedom Hall.
The Bucs improved to 3-5 overall on the season and finished the three-game experiment inside Freedom Hall with an unblemished 3-0 record. Meanwhile, current Conference USA member Marshall dropped to 3-4 on the year.
“That’s a good win over a very talented, athletic team,” said ETSU head coach Murry Bartow, whose team has now won three of its last four games. “Freedom Hall has been good to us, with a lot of energy from the crowd. We got off to a great start and held on in the second half, but the key for us is simply rebounding and our defense. We improved in those areas tonight.”
For sure, after coming off a game in which the Bucs were outrebounded 45-26 at Tennessee Tech, the Bucs held their own against the Thundering Herd. The Bucs were led by senior forward Hunter Harris (Nashville), who finished with a double-double thanks to a 17-point, 13-rebound effort. In addition to Harris, the Bucs also got a game-high 19 points, seven rebounds and seven assists from senior forward Kinard Gadsden-Gilliard (Georgetown, S.C.), along with 13 points each from junior guard Rashawn Rembert (Tampa, Fla.) and sophomore forward Lester Wilson (Knoxville).
In the first half, the Bucs trailed 11-9 with 14:07 left on the clock, but then outscored the Herd 37-23 the rest of the way to lead 46-34 at the break.
That advantage grew to as many as 16 points at 52-36 with 19:09 left in the game, but from there Marshall would methodically rally and ultimately pulled to within two points at 70-68 with 5:41 left in the game. However, from that point the Bucs would hit seven of their final eight foul shots and ice the game for good with a dunk by Harris with 19 seconds left to make it 88-78.
Marshall managed to out-rebound the Bucs by three at 40-37, but ETSU dished out 15 assists to the Herd’s eight on the night. In addition, For the Herd, Kareem Canty scored a game-high 19 points, while teammate Ryan Taylor pitched in a double-double with 10 points and 14 rebounds.
The Bucs will return to action on the road Wednesday at Austin-Peay, with tip scheduled for 8 p.m. in Clarksville. For more on ETSU men’s basketball throughout the 2013-14 season, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the men’s hoops link.