CHARLESTON, S.C. (Feb. 26, 2015) – The Citadel’s Ashton Moore hit a jumper with three seconds left in regulation to give the Bulldogs’ a 74-73 win over the ETSU men’s basketball team Thursday night inside McAlister Field House.
Moore’s shot overshadowed the late-game heroics of ETSU’s Jalen Riley (Racine, Wis.), who hit three shots that gave the Bucs a lead in the last two minutes – including a jumper that made it 73-72 with eight seconds left on the clock. Unfortunately for the Bucs, they couldn’t make a final defensive stop to seal the win.
With the loss, ETSU drops to 16-12 overall, 8-9 in Southern Conference play, while The Citadel improves to 11-17, 6-11.
“They just made a big play at the end,” said ETSU head coach Murry Bartow. “Moore’s a very good player and he showed that tonight. I thought Jalen made some big shots for us late, but they just made the last one of the night.”
Moore finished with a game-high 21 points, while his fellow guard Jake Wright added 15, and teammates Quinton Marshall and Brian White each pitched in 10. For the Bucs, Riley and sophomore guard A.J. Merriweather (Jackson) each had a team-high 19 points, while senior guard Rashawn Rembert (Tampa, Fla.) netted 10.
Key to the victory was The Citadel’s perfect 18-of-18 shooting clip at the foul line – led by Moore’s 9-of-9 effort at the line.
Merriweather was the story in the first half for ETSU, netting 13 points on 6-of-7 shooting. However, it wasn’t enough to give the Bucs a lead at the break.
While ETSU held the advantage for the first nine minutes of game play, The Citadel used a 12-2 run midway through the half to take an 8-point lead at 24-16. At that point, ETSU methodically cut into the Bulldogs’ lead and Merriweather ultimately gave the Bucs a two-point edge at 37-35 thanks to a 3-pointer with seven seconds left in the first half.
Unfortunately for ETSU, the Bulldogs quickly got the ball up the floor and Warren Sledge sank a 3-pointer at the buzzer to stake The Citadel to a 38-37 lead at the break. In the first half, both teams shot well, with ETSU hitting 50 percent of its shots and the Bulldogs connecting at a 63 percent clip.
After the break, ETSU took the lead early on, but at that point The Citadel put together a 13-3 run thanks in large part to three straight 3-pointers from guard Jake Wright. That run helped the Bulldogs build a lead of as many as seven at 59-52 with 10:13 left in regulation.
The Bucs battled back with an 11-2 run of its own to retake the lead at 65-63, but from there it was a back and forth affair until Riley hit a 3-pointer to make it 71-69 with 48 seconds left. On the next possession, The Citadel misses two shots but managed to grab the offensive rebound each day, and Moore hit a basket and was fouled on the play. He made the free throw and The Citadel led 72-71 with 18 seconds left.
That set up Riley, who made a fall away jumper to make it 73-72, but then Moore raced to the other end and hit his own fall away, contested shot to give the Bulldogs the win.
For the game, The Citadel shot 48 percent from the floor and 40 percent from 3-point range, while ETSU hit on 48 percent of its shots and 35 percent of its 3-point attempts. The Bucs were out-rebounded 32-28 but held a 12-10 edge on the offensive glass.
The Bucs will continue with their season-ending road trip on Saturday afternoon, playing their regular season finale against Mercer in Macon, Ga. Tip is set for 4 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.