Wilson's 31 not enough for Bucs

Joe Avento • Feb 20, 2014 at 10:07 PM

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Lester Wilson's best wasn't enough for the East Tennessee State basketball team.

Wilson scored a career-high 31 points Thursday night, but the Bucs gave up 57 points in the second half and fell to Jacksonville, 91-86, at Swisher Gymnasium.

"If you had told me we were gonna score 86 points, I would have thought we would win the game," ETSU coach Murry Bartow said. "Defensively, we just were not good in the second half. They have a lot of guys who can score the ball."

The Bucs fell to 16-13 overall, 9-7 in the Atlantic Sun Conference. Jacksonville improved to 10-16, 6-9.

"I would rather score 10 and win," Wilson said.

On a night when the Bucs were connecting from 3-point range — they went 14 for 31 — it was Jacksonville's long range shots that did them in. The Dolphins' Keith McDougald and Vince Martin made back-to-back 3-pointers to put their team up for good. The Bucs played catchup over the final four minutes, and even with a 4-point play from Wilson, they couldn't get over the hump.

"Lester can make shots," Bartow said. "If it wouldn't have been for him, we would have really been run out of here. He kept it close."

Wilson made his first three shots and just kept firing. The sophomore forward wound up making 7 of 12 from 3-point range and 10 of 15 overall. He scored nine consecutive ETSU points down the stretch.

"He hit the first two or three and he was wide open," Jacksonville coach Cliff Warren said. "After that he was confident and I know Murry has confidence in him. We didn't give up much else than those threes."

ETSU managed to tie a school record by going 18 for 18 from the foul line.

Jarvis Haywood led Jacksonville, scoring 24 of his 28 points in the second half. He made 11 of 14 from the field. Martin made all seven of his free throws and had 17 points. McDougald finished with 13. Sam Hunt, who hadn't scored more than six points in a conference game, had 12 on his birthday.

Jacksonville was 10 for 19 from 3-point range and shot 54 percent overall. ETSU shot 44 percent.

Jalen Riley was the only other ETSU player in double figures. He had 17 points and six assists in 17 minutes.

Rashawn Rembert, trying to break ETSU's single-season 3-point record, went 1 for 9, leaving him two shy of Courtney Pigram's mark of 86.

Jacksonville used an 11-0 run midway through the second half to go up 63-56, its biggest lead of the night.

Wilson then drained a 3-pointer, his fifth of the game, to make it 63-59 with 9:40 left.

"As a shooter, you hit that first one, you feel the confidence," Wilson said. "I'm taking the same shots I always take. They just went in tonight. I was confident I could pull up and my coach was telling me to shoot the ball."

Moments later, Petey McClain swished his second 3-pointer of the game -- and his sixth of the season -- to tie it up at 68, the fourth tie of the second half.

Kinard Gadsden-Gilliard gave the Bucs a 73-72 lead with a pair of free throws. That was their last lead of the night.

ETSU led 42-34 at halftime but allowed the Dolphins to shoot 59 percent in the second half. Jacksonville out-rebounded the Bucs 36-26.

The Bucs' road trip continues with a game Saturday night at North Florida. The two teams are in a dogfight for third and fourth place and the right to host a game in the conference tournament.

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