ETSU goes for season sweep of Austin Peay

Joe Avento • Dec 21, 2013 at 7:28 AM

Seventeen days after beating Austin Peay on its home court, the East Tennessee State basketball will try to sweep the series when the teams meet today at the Minidome.The Bucs took an 80-74 decision from the Governors earlier this month in Clarksville for their only road victory of the season."We're trying to keep in mind just because you beat a team on the road doesn't mean you're gonna beat them here," Bucs forward Lester Wilson said. "You have to come focused just as much as you were when you were away. We have to protect our home court."The Bucs don't have to look back too far to realize what could happen if they don't take care of business at home. Last season, ETSU won at Charleston Southern only to lose a rematch in the Minidome, 72-51."We've reminded them of that," ETSU coach Murry Bartow said.ETSU is coming off a 108-87 victory over Tusculum College. The Bucs come into their next-to-last non-conference game having won five of their last seven."We're getting better," Bartow said. "We're playing a little better, I think, in all areas. We're just starting to get into the flow better. There are still, a lot of things we've got to improve on."ETSU has six players averaging more than eight points a game, and all six have led the team in scoring for at least one game. Rashawn Rembert averages 14.1 and is coming off a career-high 26 against Tusculum. Kinard Gadsden-Gilliard averages 11.7, while Jalen Riley scores 11.3 and A.J. Merriweather gets 10.8.Austin Peay figures to see a lot of Riley, the 6-foot junior-college transfer who is beginning to play a bigger role with each game. Riley scored 28 points against Tusculum and had 18 against Austin Peay the first time around."Jalen can score in different kinds of ways," Rembert said. "He has that extra scoring ability, from shooting outside to making free throws. That's big."Bartow has been wanting Riley to increase his offensive efficiency, and he responded in the last outing. His 28 points came on just 10 shots and he went 13 for 14 from the free throw line."Jalen is getting more comfortable," Bartow said. "He's got an ability to go get us baskets. He's one of those guys you really don't have to run a lot for. He's not very big but he can create his own shot."Riley is spending time at two positions, shooting guard and point guard. He was mainly a shooting guard at Sauk Valley Community College."He's never played Division I basketball and we're trying to play him at multiple positions, so we're throwing more at him," Bartow said. "He's a smart kid and has a high basketball IQ, so that helps."Austin Peay is 1-4 in December, but threw a scare into Vanderbilt in a 58-56 loss earlier this week. The Govs are coming off an 88-83 loss to Lipscomb on Thursday night.Chris Horton, a 6-foot-8 sophomore, averages 13.6 points and 10.0 rebounds a game to lead the Govs. He's shooting 78 percent from the field in his last three games. Travis Betran, a 6-foot-3 senior, averages 13.2 points. After today's game, the Bucs close out their non-conference schedule on Dec. 29 with a home game against Valparaiso. Their final trip through the Atlantic Sun Conference begins Jan. 4 at Kennesaw State.

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