JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (Feb. 23, 2013) – Junior forward Hunter Harris (Nashville) scored a game-high 22 points and made the defensive play of the contest in the closing seconds, lifting the ETSU men’s basketball team to a 61-58 win over Atlantic Sun Conference foe Jacksonville Saturday afternoon inside the Veterans Memorial Arena.
Following a pair of free throws from both Harris and sophomore forward John Walton (Memphis), the Buccaneers were left protecting a 59-56 lead with 39 seconds left.
On JU’s next possession, Harris blocked a 3-point attempt by Jacksonville’s All A-Sun guard Keith McDougald, grabbed the loose ball and was fouled. He hit one of two free throws at that point to ice the game for the Bucs.
“Just the play of the game by Hunter Harris,” said ETSU head coach Murry Bartow. “That was one of his best performances of the year – no doubt. But it wasn’t just Hunter. Our entire team contributed tonight and I’m proud of the way we bounced back on the road to win a game.”
With the victory, ETSU improves to 10-20 overall, 8-9 in Atlantic Sun Conference play, while the loss drops Jacksonville to 14-15, 9-7.
Harris was joined in double figures by guard Jarvis Jones (Memphis) and Rashawn Rembert (Tampa, Fla.) as the two combined for 11 and 10 points, respectively. For Jacksonville, Kordario Fleming led the way with 18 points, while both McDougald and Haywood netted 11 points each.
In the first half, ETSU trailed much of the way but Jacksonville never led by more than four points. This allowed the Bucs to end the half on an 11-4 run and ETSU ultimately enjoyed a 28-25 lead at the break.
After the intermission, the Buccaneers’ season struggles on the offensive end resurfaced as ETSU scored just four points over the first seven minutes of the second half. JU took advantage during that span, and put together a 15-4 run to build a 40-32 edge at the 12:58 mark.
At that point, ETSU rallied with a 12-3 run of its own to regain the lead at 44-43 with less than 10 minutes left, and both teams traded the lead multiple times from there before finding the game tied at 53-53 with 3:58 left on the clock.
The lead went back and forth but ETSU grabbed the lead at 57-55 on a pair for free throw makes from Harris with 1:04 left in the game. The Bucs finished the game by hitting 6-of-8 at the line in the final minute to seal the win.
ETSU put together one of their best overall games of the year, shooting 54 percent from the floor and holding JU to just 40 percent for the game. The Bucs also hit on 72 percent of its shot from the charity stripe.
The Bucs will return to action in their final regular season game Friday at the Dome, hosting USC Upstate at 7 p.m. For more on ETSU men’s basketball, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the men’s hoops link.