NASHVILLE (Feb. 8, 2014) – Dramatic, pulse-quickening games have defined the Atlantic Sun Conference series between ETSU and Lipscomb since 2005. And in what could be the last meeting between the two teams for some time, there was once again no lack of drama.
In a contest that featured 10 ties and 27 lead changes, ETSU junior guard Jalen Riley (Racine, Wisc.) scored a career high 30 points and fellow junior guard Rashawn Rembert (Tampa, Fla.) added 21 to lift the Buccaneers past Lipscomb 96-88 in a game highlighted by spectacular offense Saturday afternoon at Allen Arena.
With the win, ETSU – which has won five of its last six games – moves into a tie for third place in the A-Sun standings, improving to 14-11 overall and 7-5 in league play. Meanwhile, Lipscomb drops to 11-13, 6-7.
“Jalen just carried us and took the game over,” said ETSU head coach Murry Bartow, whose team will be joining the Southern Conference in 2014-15 and was making its last trip to Allen Arena as a conference opponent. “It was a great team win for us, but certainly he led the way and was the difference. Really, all down the roster we had guys make plays and give us something tonight.
“We still need to defend better, but now we’ve won five of six games and the guys are feeling pretty good about our team.”
For the game, the Bucs shot an impressive 61 percent from the floor and were a decisive 35-of-41 from the free throw line (85 percent). The team also had three others in double figures, with senior Kinard Gadsden-Gilliard (Georgetown, S.C.) netting 16 points, sophomore forward Lester Wilson (Knoxville) pitching in 13, and freshman guard A.J. Merriweather (Jackson) adding 12.
The opening half was highlighted by plenty of offensive production and large runs by both teams, as the Bucs went on a 17-4 burst to build a lead of 10 at 28-18 in the early going. However, Lipscomb responded by manufacturing its own 16-5 run to regain the advantage at 34-33 with 4:41 left before the break.
From there, the scoring only increased along with multiple lead changes and ties, but the halftime score finally settled with ETSU leading, 50-48. It was the Bucs’ highest first half offensive output of the season, as ETSU shot an amazing 70 percent from the field and 43 percent from 3-point range. However, Lipscomb was nearly as impressive with a 52 percent clip from the field.
In the second half, the scoring pace continued but this time neither team pulled away at any point. For the half, there were six ties and 14 lead changes, and the largest lead of the second half didn’t come until the final score at 96-88.
Key plays of the final minutes included a Riley 3-pointer that made it 90-84 with two minutes left, as well as an offensive rebound by senior forward Lukas Poderis (Port Richey, Fla.) that helped the Bucs maintain possession in the final minutes and forced Lipscomb to start fouling.
The Bucs don’t have long to enjoy the win, as they will continue with Atlantic Sun Conference play on Monday, hosting USC Upstate in the first of three straight games inside the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center. Game time against the Spartans is set for 7 p.m. For more on ETSU men’s basketball throughout the 2013-14 season, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the men’s hoops link.