Men's Basketball

Eastern Kentucky cuts 18-point lead to two, then hits wall vs. ETSU

RICHMOND — A three-for-all broke out Tuesday night in McBrayer Arena.

Eastern Kentucky and East Tennessee State combined to fire 65 three-point shots, and it was the visiting Buccaneers who held on for a 63-60 win.

ETSU's Rashawn Rembert, sinking nine of 17 treys, led ETSU (6-2) with 30 points. Lester Wilson, four of 11 from long distance, added 15 points.

For EKU (5-4), a brilliant rally from an 18-point deficit wasn't quite good enough.

"The guys that we have in the locker room are very accustomed to winning in this building, and we've won games in very similar situations to this," Colonels Coach Jeff Neubauer said. "I knew we'd improve as we attacked the zone as the game went on, and I thought in the second half we did attack it much better. We got the ball to the high post to Corey (Walden) in the second half and to Eric (Stutz) at the rim.

"But we just didn't complete enough possessions. Us taking 31 threes is typical, but I really thought we were going to attack them at the rim more than we did. Obviously East Tennessee deserves credit. They've got very good shooters and tonight Rembert was the one that really stepped up. They have three of the best shooters in the country, and it shows."

ETSU shot 15-for-34 (44.1 percent) from three-point range, compared to EKU's 10-for-31 (32.3 percent) versus a 2-3 zone. Both teams came in averaging 29 three-point attempts per game.

Eastern had a final three-point attempt come just after the buzzer sounded, but Walden's attempt to tie hit off the front of the rim anyway.

Walden and Stutz led EKU with 13 points each, Stutz added eight rebounds and Walden had four steals and three assists. Jaylen Babb-Harrison added 11 points and four assists.

Rembert shot 7-for-11 from three-point range to spot ETSU a 33-26 halftime lead.

"I shoot a lot. Last year I made 108 (threes), so that just shows I'm ready. ... My teammates did a really good job of finding me," Rembert said. "(The Colonels) played really good pressure 'D' — they were up tight and close up on us, so if we were able to get by their first line of defense, it made it easy on our shooters."

Eastern had the upper hand briefly, using an 11-0 run to take a 16-9 lead.

ETSU scored the next 13 points to go up 22-16. Included in that spurt were a pair of threes by Rembert and another by Jalen Riley.

"Rembert didn't get threes because whoever was matched up with him was doing a poor job," Neubauer said. "Rembert made seven threes in the first half because other players were getting beat off the dribble, and it was just one-on-one defense. People had to help and, all of a sudden, he was open. I do think we guarded the ball better in the second half."

In the second half, the Buccaneers gradually pushed out to a 59-41 lead when Rembert scored a fast-break layup with 7:37 left.

The Colonels scored the next 11 points on back-to-back threes by Denzel Richardson, another three by Walden and a reverse layup by Stutz.

That was the start of a 19-3 flurry that pulled EKU to within 62-60, capped by a Walden three-pointer with 1:39 left.

After a turnover, EKU had a chance to take the lead, but Babb-Harrison's three-pointer with 45 seconds left missed. Babb-Harrison grabbed a rebound with 18 seconds left, but the Colonels turned the ball over with five seconds left.

ETSU's Devin Harris made one of two free throws with 2.4 seconds left.

After a timeout, EKU went the length of the floor before Walden's shot.

"We really chose to fight," Walden said. "That's the good thing about our team — we didn't give up. Definitely didn't think the game was over. We gave ourselves the opportunity, but we just didn't get it done."