|February 22, 2017||1st||2nd||1OT||Final|
|Stats at a Glance||FUR||ETSU|
|FG Percentage||.491 (27-55)||.608 (31-51)|
|3P FG Percentage||.444 (12-27)||.500 (9-18)|
|FT Percentage||.789 (15-19)||.846 (22-26)|
- 19||T.J. CROMER
- 7||TEVIN GLASS
- 4||DESONTA BRADFORD
- 2||DESONTA BRADFORD
H. MOSQUERA-PEREA - 2
TEVIN GLASS - 2
Geoff Beans - 1
Kris Acox - 1
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Feb. 22, 2017) – On a night when they celebrated their final regular season basketball game inside Freedom Hall, ETSU’s seniors enjoyed a game they will remember for a lifetime.
It took overcoming a last-second 3-pointer by Southern Conference rival Furman that sent the game to overtime, but senior T.J. Cromer (Albany, Ga.) finished with a career high 32 points, fellow senior Tevin Glass (Norcross, Ga.) posted a double-double with 17 points and 11 rebounds, and four-year fan favorite A.J. Merriweather (Jackson) made the critical defensive plays down the stretch, as the ETSU men’s basketball team outscored the Paladins 19-7 in the extra period to win 93-81 in front of a sellout crowd of 6,149 fans on Wednesday night.
With the win, the Bucs have taken sole possession of first place in the Southern Conference by improving to 23-6 overall and 13-3 in league play. Meanwhile, Furman drops to 20-10, 13-4 and into a second-place tie with UNC Greensboro in the SoCon standings.
“What a great game, “ said ETSU head coach Steve Forbes, whose team improved to a perfect 5-0 in overtime during his two years in Johnson City. “We had some big time performances from a lot of guys but I want to give a lot of credit to T.J. Cromer. He was crying coming off the court. He left it all out there, and that’s what we told our team before the game. No regrets.
“Furman made a big shot there at the end of regulation, but our guys had tremendous resolve.”
In a game that had multiple storylines, Cromer’s effort was arguably the most compelling – particularly in the second half. Scoring 12 straight and 15 of 17 over a five-minute stretch to single-handedly keep the Bucs in the lead, Cromer later went to the line for two free throws with 11.4 seconds left and the Bucs up 72-71. He hit both pressure-packed shots before Furman’s John Davis hit a 30-foot 3-pointer to send the game to overtime.
Glass, Cromer and Merriweather were again the senior trio that took over in the extra period. Glass opened the scoring with two free throws, before Cromer and Merriweather hit back-to-back 3-pointers to make it 82-76. Glass scored again and the Bucs went on to hit a perfect 7-of-7 at the foul line to take the win.
In overtime, the Bucs were simply perfect, going 4-of-4 from the field, 2-of-2 from 3-point range and 9-of-9 at the foul line. After trailing 38-34 at halftime, the Bucs went a combined 18-of-24 from the field and 17-of-20 from the charity stripe.
For the game, ETSU juniors David Burrell (Milwaukee) and Desonta Bradford (Humboldt) also reached double figures with 12 and 11 points, respectively. For Furman, guard Devin Sibley scored a team high 19 points, while guard Daniel Fowler finished with 17, Davis netted 14, and Jordan Lyons added 12.
The first half lived up to the hype of a game between two teams tied for first place in the SoCon standings. After trading the lead back and forth over the first seven minutes of play, the Bucs went cold for a five-minute period, which opened the door for Furman to manufacture a 9-0 run and take a 21-14 lead with 8:10 left before the intermission.
Ultimately, the Furman lead grew to 10 at 35-25 with just over two minutes left in the half, but the Bucs used that small amount of time to respond with a 9-2 run and cut the Furman lead to just two at 36-34 with 50 seconds left on the clock. However, a miss from 3-point range by the Bucs led to another bucket by the Paladins in the closing seconds, as Furman took at 38-34 advantage to the locker room.
Junior wing David Burrell (Milwaukee) played a major role for the Bucs in the first half, leading all scorers with 10 points and grabbing three rebounds. Both teams finished the half shooting 48 percent from the floor and over 80 percent from the foul line, with Furman holding a 17-14 edge on the boards.
The Bucs will now hit the road for their final two games of the regular season, beginning with a trip to Cullowhee, N.C., on Saturday night to take on Western Carolina at 7 p.m. For more on ETSU men’s basketball throughout the 2016-17 season, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the men’s hoops link.
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