JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Jan. 23, 2014) – Hitting 32 of 33 free throws and manufacturing a 16-2 run midway through the second half, the ETSU men’s basketball team rebounded from a tough Florida road swing with a 99-93 win over Atlantic Sun Conference foe North Florida Thursday night inside the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center.
The Buccaneers – who had lost three of their last four games – improved to 10-10 overall, 3-4 in A-Sun play, while North Florida fell to 11-10, 5-3. The Ospreys are now 0-9 all-time in the Dome.
“We weren’t feeling real good coming back after the Florida trip, so this helps,” said ETSU head coach Murry Bartow, who picked up his 199th victory at ETSU with the win. “I don’t want to say this was a must win, but we did need it. Now, we have something we can hopefully build on.”
The offensive effort – especially in the second half – was impressive. ETSU finished the game shooting 50 percent from 3-point range (9-of-18) and 97 percent from the free throw line, while scoring 58 points and shooting 59 percent from the floor in the second half.
Four ETSU players reached double figures, led by a team-high 24 points from senior post Hunter Harris (Nashville), while junior guard Rashawn Rembert (Tampa, Fla.) added 22 points. In addition, senior forward Kinard Gadsden-Gilliard (Georgetown, S.C.) netted 19 points, junior guard Jalen Riley (Racine, Wis.) pitched in 18, and sophomore point guard Petey McClain (Mobile, Ala.) finished with nine assists and no turnovers.
The game saw multiple lead changes and ties over the first 32 minutes of play, but the critical stretch for ETSU came with less than eight minutes left in the second half. At that point, Rembert re-entered the contest despite having four fouls and responded by scoring the first seven points of a 16-3 run that took a 70-68 UNF lead, and turned it into an 83-70 ETSU advantage.
The Ospreys would manage to cut that advantage to just five at 87-82 with 2:21 left, but the Bucs’ finished from there with a perfect 12-of-12 clip from the charity stripe. In all, ETSU would hit its final 23 foul shots in the game.
For UNF, forward Beau Beech scored a game-high and career-high 28 points to lead the way, while forwards Jalen Nesbitt, Chris Davenport, Travis Wallace and Demarcus Daniels also reach double figures scoring. The Ospreys were out-rebounded 35-34, but did lead the game 43-41 at half.
The Bucs will return home for the second game of their current five-game home stretch when they take on Jacksonville Saturday afternoon inside the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center at 4 p.m. For more on ETSU men’s hoops throughout the year, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the men’s hoops link.