JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Feb. 16, 2015) – Senior guard Jalen Riley (Racine, Wis.) scored a game-high 31 points and fellow senior guard Rashawn Rembert (Tampa, Fla.) netted 17 as the ETSU men’s basketball enjoyed a Senior Night win 87-79 over non-conference opponent Tennessee Tech in the Bucs final regular season home game Monday night inside Freedom Hall.
The Bucs, who improved to 16-10 overall, had to outlast a stingy Tennessee Tech (12-15) squad that kept it close throughout the second half, shooting 52 percent from the field and 50 percent from 3-point range for the game. However, ETSU was equally impressive from the floor on the night, shooting 50 percent and an impressive 81 percent at the foul line (17-of-21).
Along with Riley and Rembert, the Bucs also got double-figure scoring efforts from junior forward Lester Wilson (Knoxville) and sophomore guard A.J. Merriweather (Jackson). Wilson finished the night with 15 points, while Merriweather pitched in 13.
“I’m really happy for our seniors to get that win,” said ETSU head coach Murry Bartow, referring to the team’s senior class that includes Riley, Rembert, guard Tyler Ailshie (Knoxville) and posts Alex Bates (Greenbelt, Md.) and Ron Giplaye (Lowell, Mass.). “We’ve won three in a row now and I think the team has responded well to the adversity we were facing. We just want to keep it going on the road for our final three conference games.”
For Tennessee Tech, forward Torrarnce Rowe led the way with a team-high 22 points, while three other Golden Eagle players reached double figures. Teammate Charles Jackson led that trio with a double-double effort courtesy of 16 points and 10 rebounds.
The first half was an offensive exhibition for both teams, as ETSU shot 60 percent from the field and 58 percent from 3-point range, making 7-of-12 from beyond the arc. The Bucs actually led by as many as 13 in the first half, but the Golden Eagles used a 9-2 run to close the half and get to within six at 47-41.
While the Bucs shot well, their defensive effort was lacking, as Tennessee Tech shot 57 percent from the floor and 67 percent from 3-point range.
The Golden Eagles remained hot in the second half, outscoring the Bucs 15-8 to open the half and ultimately taking their first lead of the game at 56-55 with 13 minutes left. The game remained tight the rest of the way, but then Riley took over.
Outscoring TTU 7-2 by himself over a two-minute stretch, Riley staked the Bucs to an 80-74 advantage with two minutes left in the game. Tech did manage to make it 81-78 on a three by Aleksa Jugovic with 54 seconds left, but Rembert and Riley combined to score six more points to close out the 87-79 win.
The Bucs will now hit the road for their final three Southern Conference games of the regular season, starting Saturday night at Chattanooga. Tip against the Mocs is set for 8 p.m. For more on ETSU men’s basketball throughout the end of the 2014-15 season, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the men’s hoops link.