|January 21, 2016||1st||2nd||1OT||Final|
|Stats at a Glance||MER||ETSU|
|FG Percentage||.439 (25-57)||.377 (23-61)|
|3P FG Percentage||.133 (2-15)||.261 (6-23)|
|FT Percentage||.917 (11-12)||.684 (13-19)|
- 18||T.J. Cromer
- 8||Isaac Banks
- 3||Desonta Bradford
Desmond Ringer - 1
Jordan Strawberry - 1
James Bento - 1
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Jan. 21, 2016) – Trailing by eight points late in the second half, the ETSU men’s basketball team forced overtime and senior guard Ge’Lawn Guyn (Lexington, Ky.) connected on a game-winning shot with 2.6 seconds left on the clock to give the Buccaneers a dramatic 65-63 win over the Mercer Bears Thursday evening inside Freedom Hall.
With the win, the Bucs improved to 12-7 overall, 5-1 in Southern Conference play, while Mercer dropped to 14-5, 4-2 in league action.
“What a great game for our guys,” said ETSU head coach Steve Forbes. “I thought we were really resilient and tough. We didn’t have our A game offensively tonight and missed some shots, but give Mercer credit for that. What we did is we did it on the defensive end. We got stops and rebounds, and Ge’Lawn just did what he does, which is hit big shots late in the game.”
Guyn finished with 18 points, while junior guard T.J. Cromer (Albany, Ga.) posted a game-high 20. In addition, junior forward Isaac Banks (New Orleans, La.) had a career high 14 rebounds and senior guard Deuce Bello (Greensboro, N.C.) finished with three game-changing blocks to go with his impressive defensive play. The Bucs had 10 steals and forced 14 Mercer turnovers, while tying the Bears 37-37 on the boards.
ETSU certainly needed some heroics, as the Bucs struggled in the first half, posting their lowest output of the year with only 23 points on 28 percent shooting from the floor and a 15 percent (2-for-13) clip from 3-point range. Those numbers allowed the Bears to lead 27-23 at the break.
After the intermission, the game stayed close until a 16-8 Mercer run made it 54-46 in favor of the Bears with 4:56 left in regulation. At that point, the Bucs rallied as Cromer and Guyn combined to score 9 of the Bucs’ last 11 points to finish on an 11-3 run and force the extra period with a 57-57 score.
Guyn had also tied the game in regulation with a fall-away jumper with 28 seconds left, leaving Mercer with a chance to win the game on the last shot. However, the Bucs defense forced the Bears’ Jestin Lewis into a tough 3-point shot that missed the mark.
In the extra period, Guyn opened the scoring with another basket and senior forward Lester Wilson (Knoxville) followed with a 3-pointer to give the Bucs a 62-59 lead. However, Mercer battled back to tie the game at 63 following Demetre Rivers’ offensive rebound and put back with 1:14 left.
After the Bucs came up empty on the next possession, it was Bello’s block of a Phillip Leonard shot with 24 seconds left in overtime that set up Guyn’s decisive shot. After a timeout, Guyn let the clock roll down to eight seconds and then drove to the left of the lane, ultimately hitting a fade-away floater to win it.
For Mercer, Phillip Leonard finished with a team-high 18 points, while Ethan Stair added 10.
The Bucs will be home again on Saturday as they host The Citadel at 4 p.m. inside Freedom Hall. For more on ETSU men’s basketball throughout the 2015-16 season, visit ETSUBucs.com.