JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Dec. 21, 2013) – Trailing 77-70 with five minutes left, the ETSU men’s basketball team put together a 14-0 offensive run and ultimately wrapped up a holiday gift for Buccaneers’ fans, dropping non-conference foe Austin Peay 84-79 Saturday afternoon inside the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center.
With the win, ETSU enters the Christmas break with a 6-6 overall record, while the Governors drop to 5-8 on the year.
The Bucs trailed by as many as 15 in the first half and were behind 50-37 at the break, having allowed Austin Peay to shoot 66 percent from the field and 57 percent from 3-point range before the intermission. However, ETSU responded by outscoring the Govs 47-29 in the second half, and held Austin Peay to just 34 percent shooting from the floor and 22 percent from beyond the arc in the final 20 minutes.
“It’s a great win for our team,” said ETSU head coach Murry Bartow, whose team has won six of its last eight games. “It was a game of runs and we did not play well the final 15 minutes of the first half. But in the second half we played pretty darn good. I don’t want to overstate things, but to be down seven points and to finish on a 14-0 run except for their dunk at the buzzer was huge.”
The Bucs got a team-high 21 points from junior guard Rashawn Rembert (Tampa, Fla.), while fellow junior guard Jaley Riley (Racine, Wis.) pitched in 16 points. In addition, freshman guard A.J. Merriweather (Jackson) and senior forward Kinard Gadsden-Gilliard (Georgetown, S.C.) netted 14 points apiece.
In the final five minutes, the Bucs got strong defensive efforts as well, as Gadsden-Gilliard, Rembert and senior post Lukas Poderis (Port Richey, Fla.) combined to block shots on three of five Austin Peay possessions. Those stops led to ETSU baskets on the other end. In fact, it was following Rembert’s block with 1:48 left that Poderis rebounded the ball and dished to Riley, who then found a cutting KGG, who hit his layup and was fouled, completing a traditional 3-point play to give the Bucs their first lead of the second half at 80-77.
They would never relinquish that advantage.
In the first half, ETSU opened on a 12-0 run to begin the game, but Austin Peay went on to outscore the Bucs 50-25 the rest of the way to build their 50-37 halftime advantage. The Governors still held a double-digit lead at 64-53 with 12 minutes left, but at that point the Bucs slowly got back into the contest.
For the game, Austin Peay enjoyed a 38-30 advantage on the glass, but the Bucs grabbed 13 steals and forced 20 turnovers by the Governors. ETSU also ended the game with a 17-of-20 clip at the foul line (85 percent), and shot 47 percent from the field.
Austin Peay got a game-high 23 points from Chris Horton, while Cory Arentsen and Serigne Mboup collected 21 and 10 points, respectively.
ETSU will enjoy an eight-day break for Christmas before hosting Valparaiso in its final non-conference game of the regular season on Dec. 29 at 4 p.m. inside the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center.
For more on ETSU men’s hoops throughout the 2013-14 season, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the men’s hoops link.