ETSU tops Jacksonville in dramatic 1-point win
Senior forward Kinard Gadsden-Gilliard scored with nine seconds left and had a critical defensive stop as time expired, giving ETSU men's basketball team a 76-75 win over Atlantic Sun Conference foe Jacksonville, Saturday afternoon inside the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center.
The game featured three ties and five lead changes over the last six minutes, but the Bucs managed to make the crucial plays at the end to move to 11-10 overall, 4-4 in A-Sun play. Meanwhile, Jacksonville dropped to 8-12, 4-5. In addition, ETSU head coach Murry Bartow picked up his 200th career win on the Buccaneers' bench.
The game-winning shot came after the Bucs had grabbed the lead at 74-73, when junior guard Jalen Riley inbounded the ball off the back of JU's Marcel White, picked it back up and shot the ball. The Dolphins then responded and regained the lead on a pair of free throws from guard Jarvis Haywood with 25 seconds left, setting up Gadsden-Gilliard's heroics.
Following the score, Jacksonville got the ball to Haywood, but the Bucs surrounded him and blocked his progress to the basket. Haywood dished the ball to guard Vince Martin, whose 3-pointer missed the mark.
"The play was designed to get me the ball with a chance to get to the rim," said Gadsden-Gilliard, who finished with a team-high 17 points for the night. "Rashawn (Rembert) made a great pass and saw that they weren't helping out on the backside, because he led me to the baseline to get me in a good position. I was just glad we kept fighting, especially because we didn't play very well in the second half."
The first half was a different story, as the Bucs led by as many as 14 points and held a 43-36 edge at the halftime break. However, Jacksonville responded quickly by outscoring the Bucs 23-9 over the first 10 minutes of the second half to take the lead at 59-55 with 10:25 left in the game. From there, neither team led by more than three points the rest of the way.
Along with Gadsden-Gilliard's 17 points, the Bucs got 13 points each from senior forward Hunter Harris and sophomore forward Lester Wilson, and 10 points from junior guard Rembert.
Jacksonville was led by Haywood's 23 points, while White finished with 14 points and forward Javon Dawson netted 12.
The game opened in good form for the Bucs, who used a 15-3 run midway through the first half to take a 22-11 lead with 9:30 left before the intermission. ETSU's advantage ballooned to 14 points at 39-25, but JU responded by closing out the half on an 11-4 run to make it 43-36 at the break.
ETSU shot 46 percent from the floor and JU hit 48 percent of their shots. The Bucs only turned the ball over 10 times, while picking up 10 steals.
The Bucs will be back in action again Thursday when they take on Mercer inside the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center at 7 p.m.
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