|January 09, 2016||1st||2nd||Final|
|Stats at a Glance||UNCG||ETSU|
|FG Percentage||.477 (31-65)||.528 (28-53)|
|3P FG Percentage||.417 (10-24)||.600 (15-25)|
|FT Percentage||.733 (11-15)||.625 (15-24)|
- 21||GE'LAWN GUYN
- 7||PETEY MCCLAIN
- 7||T.J. CROMER
PETEY MCCLAIN - 6
Francis Alonso - 1
T.J. CROMER - 1
Lloyd Burgess - 1
Demetrius Troy - 1
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Jan. 9, 2016) – Junior guard T.J. Cromer (Albany, Ga.) connected on a game-winning 3-pointer with eight seconds left to lift the ETSU men’s basketball team past UNC Greensboro 86-83 in a hard fought Southern Conference battle Saturday afternoon inside Freedom Hall.
While Cromer’s 3-pointer ignited a bolstrous ETSU crowd of 3,078 fans, his shot was just one of a program record-tying 15 threes made by the Buccaneers on a night that saw ETSU’s perimeter shooting outlast the strength and efficiency of UNCG’s post players. With the win, ETSU improved to 9-6 overall, 2-0 in SoCon play, while the Spartans dropped to 5-11 overall, 1-2 in league action.
Though Cromer finished as a hero with 20 points on 3-of-5 shooting from 3-point range and a game-high six assists, teammate and senior guard Ge’Lawn Guyn (Lexington, Ky.) kept the Bucs in the contest throughout the second half with several clutch shots down the stretch and finished with a career-high 28 points on six made 3-pointers. Meanwhile, senior forward Lester Wilson (Knoxville) came off the bench to go 5-of-9 from behind the arc and scored 17 points, while senior point guard Petey McClain (Mobile, Ala.) matched Cromer’s game-high six assists, including the decisive pass on the final play.
“What a tremendous win for us today. You have to give UNC Greensboro a lot of credit for the way they came in here and played,” said ETSU head coach Steve Forbes, whose team overcame a 13-point deficit in the first half to come away with the win. “Our guys really stayed tough-minded down the stretch and made some big shots. T.J. Cromer made a big time three to win the game, but Petey McClain did a great job finding him on that last play, and every time they got ahead Ge’Lawn Guyn just willed us back into it with a big-time shot.”
In the final minutes of the game, it was clearly a battle of ETSU’s outside shooting against UNCG’s post players. Behind the play of junior post Kayle Locke – who scored the final 10 points of the game for the Spartans – UNCG held a lead of four points twice in the final three minutes of regulation. However, the Bucs responded with 3-pointers on four straight possessions, with one from Wilson, two from Guyn, and the game-winner from Cromer.
The Bucs struggled early in the game, falling behind by 13 points at 21-8 with 11:43 left before the break. At that point, the Spartans were dominating the glass and had out-rebounded the Bucs 12-5 en route to building the lead.
However, ETSU reversed that trend over the next 12 minutes, slowly chipping away at the deficit and ultimately outscoring the Spartans 32-18 the rest of the half to lead 40-39 at the break.
In the second half, neither team led by more than five points, and the half produced seven ties and 10 lead changes. The Spartans led 81-77 on a traditional 3-point play from Locke with 2:18 left in the game, and again at 83-80 with 1:37 left, but both times Guyn connected from 3-point range to ultimately tie the game at 83. ETSU then got a defensive stop with 38 seconds remaining, as UNCG was forced into a shot clock violation, which set up Cromer for his heroics.
On a night when the Bucs debuted new gold uniforms, the team shot 52.8 percent from the floor and an impressive 60 percent from 3-point range (15-of-25), while outscoring UNCG 30-7 in bench points. Meanwhile, the Spartans out-rebounded the Bucs 35-33 and were led by 21 points from Francis Alfonso, while teammates Locke and R.J. White both had 19 points apiece.
The Bucs will be back in action at Freedom Hall on Monday evening, taking on SoCon foe VMI at 6 p.m. For more on ETSU men’s basketball throughout the 2015-16 season, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the men’s hoops link.