JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (March 18, 2014) – Round one of a rivalry renewed goes to the ETSU men’s basketball team.
With the Buccaneers joining the Southern Conference in 2014-15, ETSU fans got a preview of things to come as the Bucs faced longtime rival Chattanooga for the first time in five years, using their best defensive effort of the season to drop the Mocs 79-66 Tuesday night in the first round of the CollegeInsider.com Tournament at the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center.
ETSU (19-15) held the Mocs to just 31.4 percent shooting from the floor – a season low for ETSU opponents – and the Bucs got double-figure scoring from four players, led by a game-high 23 points from junior guard Jaley Riley (Racine, Wis.) and 17 points from junior guard Rashawn Rembert (Tampa, Fla.)
“Defensively it was certainly one of our best performances of the year,” said ETSU head coach Murry Bartow, whose team will now wait to learn both the opponent and location of its second round CIT game. “I thought the zone was very effective. This was a good win over a very good Southern Conference team. Any time you can compete to win a trophy it’s a lot of fun, and tonight we started with 32 teams. Now, we’re one of the last 16.”
Along with Riley and Rembert, the Bucs also got 12 points from senior forward Kinard Gadsden-Gilliard (Georgetown, S.C.) and 11 from freshman guard A.J. Merriweather (Jackson, Tenn.). Senior forward Hunter Harris (Nashville) also contributed to the cause with 12 rebounds, two blocks and two steals.
The game was tight in the first half, with ETSU’s largest lead coming just before the intermission at 33-27. In the second half, the Bucs built their lead to as many as 13 points at 52-39, but Chattanooga (18-15) roared back with a 12-2 run to make it 54-51 with 10 minutes left in the contest.
At that point, the Bucs progressively regained their hold on the contest and led by as many as 15 at 73-58 before ultimately winning by 13.
For Chattanooga, Martynas Bareika led the way with 15 points, while Z. Mason posted a double-double with 12 points and 15 rebounds. In addition, Casey Jones added 12 points and Eric Robertson netted 11.
ETSU shot 46 percent from the field and 84 percent from the foul line for the game, while the Mocs held a slight edge in rebounding at 44-43. The Bucs also enjoyed a 36-18 edge for points in the paint.
ETSUBucs.com will release the location and next opponent for the Bucs second round CIT game when that information becomes available.
For more on ETSU men’s basketball throughout the postseason, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the men’s hoops link.