Bucs comeback bid falls short in Asheville Championship

Published 9:27 am Monday, November 14, 2022

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ETSU erases 14-point second-half deficit but falls to Louisiana in title game, 81-77
 JOHNSON CITY – The ETSU men’s basketball team erased a 14-point second-half deficit but couldn’t get over the hump as the Buccaneers fell to Louisiana in the Asheville Championship title game 81-77 on Sunday inside Harrah’s Cherokee Center.
ETSU, who suffered its first loss of the season, moved to 2-1 through the first three games, while Louisiana – the preseason favorite in the Sun Belt Conference – improved to 3-0.
Three-point shooting proved to be the difference maker as the Bucs went 3-of-16 from long distance, while Louisiana knocked down 10 of its 21 attempts.
For the game, ETSU shot 44 percent from the field (27-62) and 87 percent at the free throw line (20-23), while the Ragin’ Cajuns posted a 49 percent clip (29-59) and went 13-of-18 at the charity stripe.
In all three games this season, the Bucs won the rebounding battle as ETSU was plus-6, 38-32, and turned 11 second-chance rebounds into 12 points.
ETSU also turned 12 Louisiana turnovers into 21 points and finished plus-18 in points in the paint, 44-26.
The Bucs scored 49 second-half points after post 28 in the opening 20 minutes.
Jalen Haynes (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) led all scorers with a career-high 23 points on 7-of-9 shooting (9-9 at the free throw line), while also grabbing seven rebounds, posting two steals and swatting two shots.
Josh Taylor (Atlanta) registered his first collegiate double-double – finishing with 13 points and 10 rebounds.
Despite battling foul trouble, Jaden Seymour (Charlotte, N.C.) finished with 11 points and six boards, while Jordan King (Albany, N.Y.) was the final Buccaneer in double figures as he netted 13.
The Cajuns had four players score in double figures with Arizona transfer Jordan Brown leading the pack at 14 points before fouling out in 27 minutes of work.
First Half
Louisiana scored the first five points of the contest and never trailed as the Ragin’ Cajuns took a 42-28 lead into halftime. The Bucs closed the gap to two early on but Louisiana scored nine of the next 11 points to build a nine-point advantage, 16-7 at the 13:16 mark. The Bucs were able to get within five but not any closer as the Ragin’ Cajuns pushed the lead into double figures and took that into the break.
ETSU’s shooting woes proved to be costly in the first 20 minutes as the Bucs were held to a 34 percent clip (12-35), while Louisiana shot 50 percent (16-32). UL was plus-4 from beyond the arc, 6-2, while making two extra free throws, 4-2.
Second Half
The final 20 minutes was much different than the opening 20.
ETSU came out the locker room energized and ready to play as they used a 12-2 run to clip the deficit to four when a driving lay-up by Haynes made it 44-40 with 16:03 remaining. After Louisiana survived the first Buccaneer wave to go back up eight, ETSU came right back at them with an 8-0 run to tie the game at 55 with 11 minutes to play.
Again, the Ragin’ Cajuns answered as they extended their lead back to double digits, 68-58, but the Blue and Gold didn’t back down.
With Louisiana’s lead hovering around eight for the next five minutes, the Bucs answered the challenge yet again. ETSU cut the Louisiana lead to two following a DeAnthony Tipler (Ashland, Miss.) three-pointer and Haynes came up with a massive blocked shot to get a stop on the defensive end, keeping it a 79-77 score with 20 seconds remaining.
Following a Buccaneer timeout, Haynes got the ball in post – but with contact made an no whistle – the Virginia Tech transfer couldn’t finish and Louisiana grabbed the defensive rebound. The Cajuns made both free throws to ice the game and held on for the win.
ETSU returns home to host Little Rock Thursday night at 7 p.m. inside Freedom Hall.
For more information on Buccaneer men’s basketball, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the men’s basketball tab.

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