Johnson City, TN -
Rallying from nine points down with just over two minutes left to tie the game at 80, the ETSU men’s basketball team could not get one more critical defensive stop when it was needed the most.
Lipscomb’s J.C. Hampton hit a game-winning basket with four seconds left on the clock and ETSU’s Jalen Riley (Racine, Wis.) missed a desperation jumper as time expired, giving the Bisons an 82-80 win over the Buccaneers in Atlantic Sun Conference play Thursday night at the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center.
The loss drops ETSU to 8-8 overall, 1-2 in A-Sun play while Lipscomb moves to 6-10, 1-4.
“That’s an emotional, tough loss,” said ETSU head coach Murry Bartow, whose team trailed by 10 at halftime and never led in the second half. “It was an uphill battle for us the whole way, but we just couldn’t get stops. They are a good team offensively, so we knew we had to play well defensively, and we just didn’t do it. To score 80 on your home floor, normally you feel good about your chances.”
Lipscomb’s offensive play was the key to the game. Shooting 63 percent from the field in the second half and 58 percent from the floor for the game, the Bisons also went 11-of-22 from 3-point range on the night. Individually, the Bisons got a game-high 34 points from freshman guard Josh Williamson, while junior forward Martin Smith collected 21 points.
While Williamson was the story of the game, Smith was the story of the first half. He went 6-of-8 from 3-point range and netted 18 of his 21 points before the break, helping the Bisons go 9-of-16 (56.3 percent) from beyond the arc as a team before the intermission. The Lipscomb lead ballooned to as many as 13 points in the first half, and the Bisons ultimately held a 42-32 advantage at halftime.
In the second half, ETSU pulled to within two points at 47-45 and got to within three at 66-63, but eventually found itself in a nine-point hole at 79-70 with 2:26 left. At that point, the Bucs went on a 10-1 run to tie it at 80-80.
For the Bucs, junior guard Rashawn Rembert (Tampa, Fla.) netted a team-high 24 points, while Riley finished with 17, senior forward Kinard Gadsden-Gilliard (Georgetown, S.C.) had 15, and senior Hunter Harris (Nashville) added 12.
The Bucs will return to action at 4 p.m. Saturday, taking on Northern Kentucky inside the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center.