Riley, Rembert fuel Bucs past Western Carolina, 83-76
Jalen Riley scored a game-high 31 points on 10-of-16 shooting.
Riley, Rembert fuel Bucs past Western Carolina, 83-76
Thursday, January 15, 2015

ETSU extends win streak to 17 straight over the Catamounts

CULLOWHEE, N.C. (Jan. 15, 2015) – The streak is still alive for the Buccaneers.

Jalen Riley (Racine, Wis.) poured in a game-high 31 points and Rashawn Rembert (Tampa, Fla.) added 21 as the ETSU men’s basketball team defeated Western Carolina 83-76 on Thursday night inside the Ramsey Center.

The Bucs, who led wire-to-wire, saw a 13-point lead cut to one midway through the second half, but Riley and Rembert stepped up as they scored 14 of ETSU's final 15 points to secure the victory.

Riley shot 10-of-16 from the field to finish one point shy of tying a career high, while Rembert was 4-of-5 from beyond the arc and 9-for-10 at the free throw line. A.J. Merriweather (Jackson, Tenn.) also scored in double figures as he totaled 12 points and had four of ETSU’s season-high 14 steals, while Petey McClain (Mobile, Ala.) dished out eight of the Bucs’ 11 assists.

The victory pushed ETSU’s record to 10-5, 5-2 in SoCon play, while the Bucs also extended their win streak over the Catamounts to 17 straight games. Western dropped to 8-10, 3-3.

“I am really proud of our guys and their effort tonight,” said head coach Murry Bartow. “It’s not easy playing Western Carolina here in Cullowhee. We got off to a great start and played well in the first half. The second half got a little touch-and-go, but Jalen and Rashawn both stepped up with some big shots late. I also thought Alex (Bates) and Isaac (Banks) really gave us some great play. It’s a nice bounce back win following the Chattanooga loss and hopefully we can keep it going.”  

The Bucs controlled the tempo in the first half courtesy of their strong defense and perimeter shooting as ETSU took an 11-point lead into the break, 37-26. ETSU, who scored 17 points off 10 forced turnovers and went 5-of-10 from beyond the arc, got off to a fast start as Rembert drained a pair of early threes to put the Bucs ahead, 9-3, in the first four minutes of the contest. From there, Western Carolina pulled within one (11-10), but the Blue and Gold mounted a 19-8 run over a 9-minute span and led, 30-18, when Riley put in two of his 14 first-half points on a lay-up at the 4:42 mark. Following a brief 5-0 spurt by the Catamounts, the Bucs pushed their lead back into double figures thanks to triples by Riley and Rembert, and ETSU carried a comfortable lead into the locker room.

As a team, the Bucs shot 52-percent (12-23) from the field and ETSU’s bench outscored Western Carolina, 20-0, in the first half. Overall, eight of the nine Buccaneers who saw action in the opening 20 minutes scored points as Rembert pitched in with nine on a perfect 3-of-3 shooting from three.  

After dominating the opening 20 minutes, ETSU was forced to withhold every run the Catamounts threw at them in the second half.

Western Carolina cut its 13-point deficit to four six minutes into the half as a pair of free throws by Mike Brown make it a 46-42 contest with 13:59 remaining. The Blue and Gold responded with an 8-1 run over the next minute and 45 seconds and led 54-43 when McClain found Lester Wilson (Knoxville, Tenn.) open for three at the 12:14 mark.

The Catamounts continued with their scrappy play and eventually made it a 55-54 game with 9:31 left in the contest, but ETSU never relinquished its lead as Alex Bates (Greenbelt, Md.) and Merriweather ignited a 4-0 spurt, pushing the Bucs lead to 59-54 with less than eight minutes to play. Western Carolina climbed within three after a Rhett Harrelson trey with seven minutes left made it a 61-58 score; however, Riley and Rembert carried the Bucs down the stretch run by scoring all but one of ETSU’s final 15 points to walk away with the road victory.

Overall, the Bucs shot a season-best 54.8 percent (23-42) and converted 19 Western Carolina turnovers into 27 points. Riley and Rembert combined for eight of the 11 made threes, while ETSU’s bench outscored the Catamounts, 38-8.

Torrion Brummitt finished with 14 points and 14 rebounds for Western Carolina, while James Sinclair, who scored his 1,000th career point in the setback, netted a team-high 25 points.

The Bucs wrap up their brief two-game road stint Saturday afternoon at VMI. Tip is set for 1 p.m. inside Cameron Hall.

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