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Kelly Hodge

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Stetson no match for Bucs

February 15th, 2014 10:52 pm by Kelly Hodge

Stetson no match for Bucs

The East Tennessee State basketball team revved up its offense again Saturday and left nothing to chance against the Stetson Hatters.

The Bucs raced out to a big lead early and never looked back in a 93-66 victory that closed out their regular-season home schedule. They stand third in the Atlantic Sun Conference with three games to play.

A crowd of 3,166 in the Dome saw a different kind of game than the typical grind-it-out affairs between the teams, which have now split during the regular season for six straight years. The Hatters had won 64-58 on their home floor a month ago.

This time the Bucs put up 44 points in the first half alone and led by 14. Their advantage never dipped into single digits the rest of the way.

The 93 points were the most they’ve scored in the 21-game series with the scrappy Hatters and came on the heels of an 89-81 victory over Florida Gulf Coast two nights earlier.

“We’re flowing right now,” said ETSU coach Murry Bartow. “We’ve really got a lot of scoring options.”

Rashawn Rembert again led the way for the Bucs with 21 points, and his five 3-pointers gave him 83 for the season. That leaves the junior guard third on the school’s single-season list, behind only Courtney Pigram (8 6 in 2006-07) and Mister Jennings (84 in 1990-91).

Barring something disastrous, the record will soon be his.

“I would never have thought that,” said Rembert, who is shooting 43 percent from behind the arc. “Coach feeds to me every day that I’ve got to get shots up. The past couple games my team has been finding me, and I can make shots.”

Coming off a 31-point outburst against Florida Gulf Coast, his career high, Rembert now has nine games of at least 20 points this season. He’s averaging 16.5, which ranks second in the conference to Torrey Craig of USC Upstate (17.0).

The Bucs (16-12, 9-6) shot 57 percent from the field against the Hatters and are getting points from all directions as the season heads into the final two weeks. Five players scored in double figures, marking the fourth time in the last six games that has happened.

Lester Wilson continued his recent surge with 15 points, while A.J. Merriweather finished with 13 and Kinard Gadsden-Gilliard and Jalen Riley had 10 apiece. Merriweather also pulled down 10 rebounds as the Bucs dominated the boards 38-22.

“It’s all about payback,” said Merriweather, alluding to that earlier loss to the Hatters. “Anybody that has beaten us before, the next time it’s strictly business.”

The Hatters (7-18, 5-8) certainly weren’t looking for a shootout. They average just 62.4 points per game, which ranks last in the A-Sun, and were ill-equipped to play catch-up after falling behind 22-10 less than nine minutes into the contest.

Wilson hit a 3-pointer to start a 13-point run, and he ended it with another. The redshirt sophomore, scoring in double figures for the seventh time in eight games, had 13 of his points in the first half as the Bucs took a 44-30 lead.

They were never seriously threatened the rest of the way and won for the seventh time in nine games.

The Bucs have to finish the regular season with three dates on the road – at Jacksonville, North Florida and USC Upstate. They currently hold a half-game lead for third place over North Florida and Upstate.

If they can finish fourth or better, the Bucs will be rewarded with a home quarterfinal in the A-Sun tournament on March 4.

“It’s critical to squeeze some more wins out if we can,” said Bartow. “You desperately want to play that first tournament game at home.”

Especially the team’s four seniors — Gadsden-Gilliard, Hunter Harris, Lukas Poderis and Todd Halvorsen. They were given the traditional sendoff by fans before Saturday’s game and placed in the starting lineup together.

KGG had to sit out the Florida Gulf Coast game with a knee injury, but he bounced back to play 27 efficient minutes, making all four of his shots and handing out five assists. Harris, his roommate, had eight points and five rebounds.

Halvorsen, the third-year walk-on from Kingsport, gave the crowd something to cheer about when he knocked down a 3-pointer on his only shot attempt with just over a minute to go.

Stetson was led by Ramone Andrews’ 17 points and seven assists. Willie Green scored 14 points, while Brian Pegg chipped in with 12 and eight rebounds.

All things considered, Bartow was relieved to walk away with the victory in a hard-fought series the Bucs now lead 12-9.

“Stetson came in here on a good roll,” he said, “and they just beat us three weeks ago. When you play Florida Gulf Coast on Thursday and Stetson on Saturday, it can be dicey.”

The Bucs will visit Jacksonville on Thursday night. They won the first meeting here 76-75 on Gadsden-Gilliard’s driving basket with nine seconds left. regular season for six straight years. The Hatters had won 64-58 on their home floor a month ago.

This time the Bucs put up 44 points in the first half alone and led by 14. Their advantage never dipped into single digits the rest of the way.

The 93 points were the most they’ve scored in the 21-game series with the scrappy Hatters and came on the heels of an 89-81 victory over Florida Gulf Coast two nights earlier.

“We’re flowing right now,” said ETSU coach Murry Bartow. “We’ve really got a lot of scoring options.”

Rashawn Rembert again led the way for the Bucs with 21 points, and his five 3-pointers gave him 83 for the season. That leaves the junior guard third on the school’s single-season list, behind only Courtney Pigram (8 6 in 2006-07) and Mister Jennings (84 in 1990-91).

Barring something disastrous, the record will soon be his.

“I would never have thought that,” said Rembert, who is shooting 43 percent from behind the arc. “Coach feeds to me every day that I’ve got to get shots up. The past couple games my team has been finding me, and I can make shots.”

Coming off a 31-point outburst against Florida Gulf Coast, his career high, Rembert now has nine games of at least 20 points this season. He’s averaging 16.5, which ranks second in the conference to Torrey Craig of USC Upstate (17.0).

The Bucs (16-12, 9-6) shot 57 percent from the field against the Hatters and are getting points from all directions as the season heads into the final two weeks. Five players scored in double figures, marking the fourth time in the last six games that has happened.

Lester Wilson continued his recent surge with 15 points, while A.J. Merriweather finished with 13 and Kinard Gadsden-Gilliard and Jalen Riley had 10 apiece. Merriweather also pulled down 10 rebounds as the Bucs dominated the boards 38-22.

“It’s all about payback,” said Merriweather, alluding to that earlier loss to the Hatters. “Anybody that has beaten us before, the next time it’s strictly business.”

The Hatters (7-18, 5-8) certainly weren’t looking for a shootout. They average just 62.4 points per game, which ranks last in the A-Sun, and were ill-equipped to play catch-up after falling behind 22-10 less than nine minutes into the contest.

Wilson hit a 3-pointer to start a 13-point run, and he ended it with another. The redshirt sophomore, scoring in double figures for the seventh time in eight games, had 13 of his points in the first half as the Bucs took a 44-30 lead.

They were never seriously threatened the rest of the way and won for the seventh time in nine games.

The Bucs have to finish the regular season with three dates on the road – at Jacksonville, North Florida and USC Upstate. They currently hold a half-game lead for third place over North Florida and Upstate.

If they can finish fourth or better, the Bucs will be rewarded with a home quarterfinal in the A-Sun tournament on March 4.

“It’s critical to squeeze some more wins out if we can,” said Bartow. “You desperately want to play that first tournament game at home.”

Especially the team’s four seniors — Gadsden-Gilliard, Hunter Harris, Lukas Poderis and Todd Halvorsen. They were given the traditional sendoff by fans before Saturday’s game and placed in the starting lineup together.

KGG had to sit out the Florida Gulf Coast game with a knee injury, but he bounced back to play 27 efficient minutes, making all four of his shots and handing out five assists. Harris, his roommate, had eight points and five rebounds.

Halvorsen, the third-year walk-on from Kingsport, gave the crowd something to cheer about when he knocked down a 3-pointer on his only shot attempt with just over a minute to go.

Stetson was led by Ramone Andrews’ 17 points and seven assists. Willie Green scored 14 points, while Brian Pegg chipped in with 12 and eight rebounds.

All things considered, Bartow was relieved to walk away with the victory in a hard-fought series the Bucs now lead 12-9.

“Stetson came in here on a good roll,” he said, “and they just beat us three weeks ago. When you play Florida Gulf Coast on Thursday and Stetson on Saturday, it can be dicey.”

The Bucs will visit Jacksonville on Thursday night. They won the first meeting here 76-75 on Gadsden-Gilliard’s driving basket with nine seconds left.

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