JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Nov. 18, 2014) – The ETSU men’s basketball team posted its best offensive first half in nearly four years, scoring 61 points on its way to a 40-point halftime advantage and ultimately coasted to a 111-66 win over non-conference opponent UVa.-Wise in the Buccaneers’ home opener Tuesday night at Freedom Hall.
ETSU connected on 14 3-pointers on the night, coming up just one shy of the school record of 15, while shooting 51 percent from the floor in the first half and hitting on 48 percent of its shots for the game. The Bucs – who last scored 100-plus points in a 108-87 win over Tusculum back on Dec. 16, 2013 – held the Cavaliers to just 29 percent shooting, out-rebounded Wise 63-35, held an impressive 22-0 advantage in fast break points, and outscored the Cavs 44-10 in the paint.
“I thought we did some good things and this was a good game to get back into the flow of things,” said ETSU head coach Murry Bartow, whose team improved to 1-1 on the year. “Obviously in our season opener at Valpo we didn’t defend well and a lot of things didn’t go the way we wanted them to go. Tonight, to get a lot of guys into the flow of the game, to hit 14 threes, to defend a little bit better, and to test our press a little bit was good for us. This was a game we needed timing wise because we’ve got two really good tests coming up.”
Senior guard Jalen Riley (Racine, Wis.) posted his second-straight 20-plus point game with a game-high 21, while four other teammates eclipsed double figures on the night. Junior forward Lester Wilson (Knoxville) collected 18 points, senior guard Rashawn Rembert (Tampa, Fla.) and senior post Alex Bates (Greenbelt, Md.) both netted a season-high 14, and sophomore guard A.J. Merriweather (Jackson) pitched in 10. Meanwhile, junior point guard Petey McClain (Mobile, Ala.) dished out a career high 11 assists in the game, and sophomore guard Devin Harris (Tampa, Fla.) grabbed a personal best 10 rebounds.
In the first half, the Bucs used an early 13-0 run to take a 13-9 advantage and build it to 26-9 with 10 minutes left before the intermission. From there, the lead grew to 25 at 45-20 before the Bucs ended the half on a 16-1 run to make 61-21 at the break.
While Wise was able to basically match the Bucs offensively in the second half, the game was all but decided at that point. For the game, ETSU dished out 25 assists on 42 made baskets, and committed just nine turnovers. The team shot 42 percent from 3-point range, and held Wise to just 28 percent from beyond the arc.
For the Cavs, Charles George led the way with 17 points, while Philip Owens II and Oliver Thompson scored 16 and 14, respectively.
The Bucs will return to action inside Freedom Hall on Saturday evening, taking on non-conference foe UNC Asheville at 7 p.m. For more on ETSU men’s basketball throughout the 2014-15 season, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the men’s hoops link.