Sharpshooting Rembert in rare air at ETSU

Joe Avento • Feb 19, 2014 at 7:05 PM

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — If recent form holds true, Rashawn Rembert should enter the East Tennessee State basketball record book sometime late in the first half or early in the second when the Bucs take on Jacksonville tonight.

The ETSU junior guard needs four 3-pointers to break the single-season school record of 86, set by Courtney Pigram during the 2006-07 season when he was the Atlantic Sun Conference’s player of the year.

“It would mean a lot to me, a lot to the program,” Rembert said. “There were a lot of people here to witness Mister Jennings, Courtney Pigram.”

Rembert’s next 3-pointer will be his 84th this season and tie him with Jennings for second place on the list. Jennings, ETSU’s 5-foot-7 All-American point guard, did it during the 1990-91 season.

“Oh, my goodness ... It just brings a smile to my face,” Rembert said. “I was in the grocery store the other day and a lady asked me if I played for ETSU. I told her I did and she said, ‘We watched Mister Jennings.’ To be able to be mentioned with those names means a lot to me.”

Rembert has arrived at this juncture with a couple of big outings in a row. He’s made 11 of 19 from 3-point range in the last two games, both ETSU victories.

“He deserves it,” coach Murry Bartow said. “He’s making a lot of threes. Sometimes you can make a lot if you shoot a lot, but he’s shooting at a high percentage. He’s just playing with a lot of confidence. The more shots you make, your eyes get a little bit bigger, you get more confidence, you get a little swagger, you play better the next game. It just builds and grows.”

Rembert is shooting 43.5 percent from 3-point range this season, tops in the A-Sun. He’s also moved up to second in the conference scoring race at 16.5 points a game, trailing only USC Upstate’s Torrey Craig (17.0).

During the preseason, Bartow predicted a big season from Rembert, calling him one of the hardest workers on the team during the offseason. His opinion hasn’t changed.

“I could see it coming because of the minutes he got as a sophomore and he just had a great summer,” Bartow said. “I can really only imagine what next year’s gonna bring. He’ll be a lot better than he is right now because I know what he’ll do after the season’s over.

“He’s an all-league player, hopefully. He certainly deserves to be.”

One thing in Rembert’s favor tonight is the fact that Jacksonville ranks next-to-last in the A-Sun in 3-point defense.

Tonight’s game will be played at 61-year-old Swisher Gymnasium instead of the downtown Veterans Memorial Coliseum. The intimate, 1,500-seat on-campus gym has been renovated.

Jacksonville is 3-1 at Swisher this season but enters tonight’s contest on a three-game losing streak.

“Our coach stresses how hard it is to win on the road,” Rembert said. “But I feel our team’s prepared. Jacksonville is a good team. They have good coaching. They play hard. That’s their thing. They’re gonna play hard.”

The Bucs (16-12 overall, 9-6 A-Sun) have won their last two games and seven of their last nine. They also won their last two road games.

ETSU is in third place in the A-Sun with three games to go. The top four teams in the final standings will host games in the first round of the conference tournament.

Jacksonville has been a welcome stop for the Bucs, who have won the last four games here and hold a 6-2 advantage on the road in the series.

“That doesn’t mean much,” Bartow said. “But some of our guys have been down there and won. Those memories don’t hurt. It doesn’t mean you’ll win, but it certainly helps.”

The Dolphins (9-16 overall, 5-9 A-Sun) have the third-leading scorer in the league in Jarvis Haywood, who averages 16.0 points a game. ETSU won the matchup in Johnson City earlier this season, 76-75.

The Bucs continue the road trip without having to travel far for their next game. They take on North Florida, also in Jacksonville, on Saturday night.

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