JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (Feb. 22, 2014) – Junior guard Jalen Riley (Racine, Wis.) hit two free throws with 3.2 seconds on the clock and North Florida’s Beau Beech missed an opportunity to tie the game with .3 seconds left, as the ETSU men’s basketball team escaped UNF Arena Saturday night with an 88-85 Atlantic Sun Conference victory over the Ospreys.
Beyond the emotions of the win, ETSU senior Hunter Harris (Nashville) also learned that his father was sick prior to the game, and later got news at halftime that he had passed away. Harris still played the second half and finished the game with 18 points and a team-high seven rebounds.
Meanwhile, Riley finished with a game-high 19 points, while junior guard Rashawn Rembert (Tampa, Fla.) set the single-season record for 3-pointers with a shot at the 9:12 mark of the second half and finished with 18 points as well.
With the win, ETSU improves to 17-13 overall, 10-7 in A-Sun play, taking a major step toward locking up a home game in the A-Sun Tournament, while UNF drops to 14-15, 8-8. By virtue of USC Upstate’s loss to Jacksonville earlier in the day, the Bucs are again tied for third place and will face the Spartans in the regular season finale next Friday in Spartanburg, S.C.
“This was just an unbelievable win and gutsy performance,” said an emotional ETSU head coach Murry Bartow. “The team played with a heavy heart for Hunter, but guy after guy on the team made plays at the end. I can’t say enough about the effort.”
The game was full of dramatic moments at the end, as North Florida overcame an 85-77 deficit with an 8-0 run that was capped by senior Travis Wallace’s two free throws, tying the game at 85 with 12.1 seconds left. At that point, Riley was fouled as he raced to the basket and promptly hit two free throws to make it 87-85 with 3.2 seconds left.
UNF then inbounded the ball and senior Kinard Gadsden-Gilliard (Georgetown, S.C.) intercepted the pass. He was quickly fouled and with 1.2 seconds left went to the foul line, hitting one of two shots at the stripe. However, at that point, North Florida again made a long pass and found Beach open for a deep 3-point attempt. Gadsden-Gilliard fouled Beach on the play, but the sophomore forward went to the line and missed his first two attempts, sealing the win for the Bucs.
Along with Riley, Rembert and Harris, the Bucs got 16 points from KGG, while sophomore guard Lester Wilson (Knoxville) netted 15 points. Rembert now has 88 3-point field goals on the season, besting the previous mark of 87 makes set by Courtney Pigram (Memphis) during the 2006-07 season.
For UNF, Wallace finished with 19 points, while Dallas Moore netted 18, Beech finished with 11 and Chris Davenport added 10.
For the game, ETSU shot 57 percent from 3-point range (12-of-21) and 85 percent from the foul line (22-of-26). North Florida out-rebounded ETSU 39-33, and dished out 18 assists in the loss.
The Bucs will return to the road for their final regular season game of the season on Friday, Feb. 28, at USC Upstate. Game time is set for 7 p.m. in Spartanburg, S.C., and the contest will air on regional cable courtesy of CSS. For more on ETSU men’s basketball throughout the 2013-14 season, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the men’s hoops link.