JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Nov. 12, 2013) – Despite a 17-0 offensive run in the first half and leading midway through the second half, the ETSU men’s basketball team was unable to hold off Morehead State as the Eagles crashed the Buccaneers’ regular season home opener with 71-63 victory Tuesday evening inside the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center.
Morehead State’s key to victory came on the inside, where they out-rebounded the Bucs 45-30 overall, and held a 20-7 advantage on the offensive end of the floor. With the loss, ETSU drops to 0-2 on the season, while the Eagles improved to 2-0.
“We did some good things and the game was right where we needed it to be in the first half,” said ETSU head coach Murry Bartow. “But in the second half, they just pounded us. They crushed us on the glass and defensively we didn’t have any energy or the spark we needed.”
Despite holding the Eagles to just 37 percent shooting from the floor and forcing 15 turnovers, the Bucs slowly relinquished their 31-25 halftime lead and fell behind for good when Morehead State’s Angelo Warner sank a 3-pointer with 8:28 left in the game to make it 52-51.
Warner finished the contest with a game-high 25 points, while teammates Brent Arrington and Drew Kelly pitched in 15 and 11, respectively. For the Bucs, junior guard Rashawn Rembert (Tampa, Fla.) scored a team-high and career-best 21 points, while sophomore forward Lester Wilson (Knoxville) pitched in 13, and freshman guard A.J. Merriweather (Jackson) added 12.
The Bucs trailed 10-4 in the early going, but exploded on a 17-0 run to take a 21-10 lead with 7:04 left in the first half. From there, Morehead State managed to slowly pull closer and ultimately trailed by six at the break.
In the second half, the Bucs actually got to within two points at 62-60 with 4:59 left, but another Warner 3-pointer extended the Eagles’ lead to 65-60 and ETSU was unable to make another significant challenge the rest of the way.
ETSU shot 42 percent from the floor for the game, but just 21 percent from beyond the 3-point arc and 68 percent from the charity stripe.
The Bucs will return to action on Saturday evening at 8 p.m., when they hit the road to Bowling Green, Ky., to face former Ohio Valley Conference rival and current Sun Belt Conference member Western Kentucky. For more on ETSU men’s basketball throughout the 2013-14 season, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the men’s hoops link.