RICHMOND, Ky. (Dec. 16, 2014) – Senior guard Rashawn Rembert (Tampa, Fla.) scored a game-high 30 points and the ETSU men’s basketball team tied the school record for 3-pointers in a single game, but the Buccaneers still had to hold off a frenetic rally by Eastern Kentucky to capture a hard fought 63-60 win over the Colonels in non-conference play Tuesday night at McBrayer Arena.
With Rembert hitting nine 3-pointers himself and the Buccaneers tying the school record for threes in a game with 15, ETSU built an 18-point, second-half lead only to see the Colonels close on a 19-3 run to make it 62-60 with a minute left. The game was not decided until a free throw by sophomore guard Devin Harris (Tampa, Fla.) made it a three-point game and EKU’s Corey Walden’s last-second 3-pointer fell short.
“The end of the game did not play out like we would want, but we did enough to get out with a win,” said ETSU head coach Murry Bartow, whose team has now won three straight road games and improved to 6-2 on the year. “I was really proud of our guys to get another road win. What can you say about Rashawn? He just carried us again. And I was really proud of guys like Ike Banks. He took advantage of his opportunity and really played well.”
While Rembert finished with 30 points and junior forward Lester Wilson (Knoxville) added 15, sophomore Isaac Banks (New Orleans) was certainly a bright spot. Playing a career high 40 minutes, Banks grabbed nine rebounds, scored six points, dished out four assists and swiped one steal.
Defensive intensity and seesaw offensive runs highlighted the first half, as EKU (5-4) forced seven ETSU turnovers in the first seven minutes and built a 16-9 lead thanks to an early 11-0 run. However, the Bucs picked up their own defensive effort at that point and Rembert found his range from beyond the arc, as ETSU outscored the Colonels 24-10 the rest of the way and ultimately led 33-26 at the break.
By the end of the first half, Rembert had seven 3-pointers which accounted for his 21 points. As a team, the Bucs shot 48 percent from the field and 47 percent from beyond the arc in the first 20 minutes and ended the half with just 10 turnovers following the shaky offensive start.
The Bucs also outrebounded the Colonels 17-11 before the break, thanks in big part to the play of Banks, who responded to getting his first career start by grabbing five rebounds, dishing out three assists and scoring four points by the intermission.
In the second half, Wilson took over where Rembert left off in the first half, opening the Bucs’ scoring with four 3-pointers over the first eight minutes of play and helping ETSU build a 48-35 advantage with 12:39 left in regulation.
The Bucs remained hot from outside, as Rembert’s ninth 3-pointer of the game tied the program’s team record for threes, and helped stake the Bucs to their 59-41 advantage. At that point, EKU connected on three straight threes of its own, as the Colonels went on a quick 11-0 run to make it 59-52 with five minutes left in the game. Wilson was then fouled on a 3-point attempt and hit the three foul shots, stopping the run momentarily. But the Colonels kept coming, as a 3-pointer by Jaylen Babb-Harrison, followed by a steal and three by Corey Walden made it 62-60 with 1:31 left in the game.
From there, Riley missed a layup in the final seconds and gave EKU a chance to tie. However, the Colonels’ Timmy Knipp committed a turnover giving the ball back to the Bucs with less than 10 seconds left. EKU ultimately fouled Harris, who hit one of two free throws to make it 63-60, setting up the desperation three by Walden that missed the mark.
The Bucs will return to action next Monday, Dec. 22, on the road at VCU. Game time in Richmond, Va., is set for 7 p.m. For more on ETSU men’s basketball throughout the 2014-15 season, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the men’s hoops link.