Freshman scores game and season-high 26; ties largest offensive output for ETSU player this season
WILMINGTON, N.C. (Dec. 20, 2014) – Freshman point guard Tianna Tarter (Johnson City, Tenn.) scored a game and season-high 26 points in a closely-contested 57-56 loss to Jacksonville State on Saturday afternoon inside Trask Coliseum in ETSU’s final game in the 2014 UNCW Seahawks Hampton Inn Christmas Invitational.
After being out in front since the 17 minute mark of the first half, a jumper from JSU’s Miranda Cantrell with 4:43 left to play in the contest put the Bucs behind, 50-49. The Gamecocks increased their lead to four with 3:41 to go before ETSU cut its deficit to two, 53-51, on a Cara Bowling (Elizabethton, Tenn.) jumper with 1:27 remaining. Missed conversion by both teams on offense over the next minute forced the Blue & Gold to send JSU to the free throw line down the stretch where it unfortunately converted. With the game virtually decided after a pair of Gamecock free throws, Tarter knocked in a three-pointer at the buzzer to bring the final score to 57-56.
With the loss, ETSU drops to 7-6 on the season while Jacksonville State improves to 8-3 on the year.
To begin the game, the Bucs jumped out in front by capitalizing on Jacksonville State turnovers to lead, 13-6, with 13:56 left in the first half. Over the next two minutes, JSU countered to get within two, 15-13, but ETSU responded to maintain hold on the lead. After starting the game hot from the field, the Bucs cooled down a bit but were able to hold the Gamecocks scoreless for nearly eight minutes to maintain their advantage. A lay-in from freshman guard Malloree Schurr (Montgomery, Texas) pushed the Blue & Gold’s lead to a first half-high eight points, 26-18, with one minute to go before Cantrell answered with a basket for JSU to make the score 26-20 going into halftime.
Following shooting a sub-par 32 percent from the floor in the opening period, ETSU began to convert at a better rate to begin the second half due in large part to Tarter taking over on the offensive end. After scoring seven points in the first half, the rookie splashed a pair of three-pointers between the 15:26 and 13:54 marks and, in total, scored 10 points in the first 10 minutes of the second. With 7:10 remaining in the contest, a Tarter lay-in upped ETSU’s lead to seven, 49-42, but JSU responded with an 8-0 run to take its first lead since the 17:21 mark of the first half and held on over the duration.
The Gamecocks had three players in double figures; led by 13 points from Briana Benson. For the Bucs, Tarter’s 26-point offensive explosion ties for the largest this season by an ETSU player; matching senior forward Serena Clark’s (Stone Mountain, Ga.) 26-point effort at George Mason on Dec. 3. In addition, senior forward Destiny Mitchell (Bluffton, Ga.) posted eight points and a team-high seven rebounds in Saturday’s loss.
Jacksonville State shot a poor 28 percent from the field and only knocked down 4-of-18 three pointers, but did the most damage at the free throw line with 23-of-32 makes. The Gamecocks also turned 12 offensive rebounds into 13 second-chance points and got 17 points from their bench.
Meanwhile, ETSU shot the ball better than its opponent at 37 percent and only converted on 4-of-13 behind the arc, but were severely handicapped in its opportunities at the free throw line. The Blue & Gold reached the charity stripe only 14 times where it converted on eight tries and in total were called for 26 personal fouls compared to 16 for JSU. The Bucs owned the paint, though, 32-12, and also turned the Gamecocks over 13 times resulting in 16 points.
The Bucs will enjoy a holiday break before returning to action at home with a matchup versus the Iona Gaels on Monday, Dec. 29, at 7 p.m. inside Brooks Gym.
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