JOHNSON CITY (Nov. 3, 2014) – It took 15 minutes of game play for the ETSU men’s basketball team to knock off the rust of the offseason. However, once the Buccaneers did get their feel back, the final 25 minutes of Monday’s exhibition game against NAIA member Milligan College went about as expected.
Junior forward Lester Wilson (Knoxville) posted a double-double with 25 points and 11 rebounds, while senior guard Jalen Riley (Racine, Wisc.) collected 23 points as the Buccaneers used a late first half and early second half offensive surge to race past nearby foe Milligan College 94-77 Monday evening in exhibition basketball play at Freedom Hall.
“I thought Lester did some good things offensively, but I didn’t think he defended like we want,” said ETSU head coach Murry Bartow. “The encouraging number there was the rebounds. We’ve been talking to him about that. Rashawn (Rembert) was hurt so he wasn’t really himself tonight, but Jalen gave us some good minutes again so I was pleased to see that.
“Truthfully, I saw a lot of things that concern me. No disrespect to Milligan – and I think they are going to be better than they were last year – but there were some things that I saw out there that I didn’t like – especially defensively.”
For most of the first half, Milligan stayed within one possession of the Bucs on the scoreboard and actually tied the game at 26-26 with 4:15 left in the half on a basket by Julian Bailey. However, from there the Bucs closed the half on a 13-4 run to lead 39-30 at the break.
The Bucs shot 42 percent from the field in the first half compared to 34 percent by the Buffs. Wilson led ETSU with 11 points in the half, while Bailey netted nine to pace Milligan.
After the break, the Bucs’ offense stayed hot, outscoring Milligan 21-6 over the first six minutes to build a lead of 24 points at 60-36 with 14 minutes left in the game. The Buffs continued to battle, however, getting back to within 16 at one point, but that would be as close as Milligan could get in the game.
The Buffs’ Gabriel Logan and Bailey each had a team-high 12 points, while Mickey Woods and Kurt Brooks each had 12 and 10 points, respectively. Bailey also enjoyed a double-double with 10 rebounds on the night.
For the game, the Bucs shot 45 percent from the floor, but a preseason concern for ETSU is the team’s defense, and on this night the Buffs shot 43 percent and score 77 points. The Bucs did enjoy a 51-42 advantage on the glass, and outscored the Buffs 25-10 on points off turnovers.
The Buccaneers will return to action in their regular season opener on Nov. 14 at Valparaiso, with tip set for 8:30 p.m. EST. For more on ETSU men’s basketball throughout the 2014-15 season, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the men’s hoops link.