KENNESAW, Ga. (Jan. 4, 2014) – Junior guard Rashawn Rembert (Tampa, Fla.) and freshman guard A.J. Merriweather (Jackson) each scored a game-high 19 points, as the ETSU men’s basketball team opened Atlantic Sun Conference play with a 71-55 victory over Kennesaw State Saturday afternoon inside the KSU Convocation Center.
With the win, ETSU head coach Murry Bartow collected his 300th career victory, as the Buccaneers improved to 8-6 overall, 1-0 in A-Sun play. Meanwhile, the Owls dropped to 3-13 overall, 0-3 in league action.
The Bucs closed the first half on a 10-2 run and later opened the second half on a 10-0 surge to build an 18-point lead and never looked back. ETSU ultimately led by as many as 21 points in the second half, shooting 55 percent from the field and 50 percent from 3-point range for the game.
“It’s nice to get off to a 1-0 start in the league,” said Bartow, whose team has won eight of its last 10 games. “Winning on the road is tough, but I thought we played well – especially Rashawn and A.J. Getting win 300 is nice, but I hope we can be sitting here in three or four years talking about No. 400.”
Merriweather finished with his third career double-double, grabbing 10 rebounds to go with his 19-point effort. Meanhwhile, Rembert finished a perfect 4-of-4 from 3-point range and 7-of-9 from the field.
It was a back-and-forth game in the first half, with the Buccaneers shooting well from beyond the 3-point arc and Kennesaw State holding a decisive advantage on the glass. The game featured eight lead changes and four ties in the first 20 minutes, but ultimately resulted in a 40-32 score in favor of ETSU at the break, as the Bucs closed the half on a 10-2 offensive run.
The Bucs shot 70 percent from 3-point range (7-of-10) in the first half, with Rembert leading the way with 12 points. Meanwhile, KSU out-rebounded the Bucs 18-15 overall, and 7-4 on the offensive glass.
After the break, Rembert and Merriweather combined to score the first 10 points of the half and quickly make it 50-32 with 18 minutes left. From there, the lead ballooned to 21 points at 65-44 thanks to another seven points from Merriweather during a 9-0 ETSU run. The Owls ultimately managed to marginally cut the deficit in the final minutes.
KSU was led offensively by Orlando Coleman’s 11 points, while Nate Rucker added 10.
The Bucs will continue on the road in A-Sun play on Monday evening, facing off with preseason league favorite Mercer at 7 p.m. in Macon, Ga. For more on ETSU men’s hoops throughout the 2013-14 season, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the men’s hoops link.