ETSU men’s basketball has one slip away at Morehead State, 61-57

Published 2:42 pm Monday, December 12, 2022

Bucs led for over 38 minutes before Eagles rallied for the victory
 
MOREHEAD, Ky. – Despite leading for over 38 minutes, the ETSU men’s basketball team couldn’t secure its first road win of the season.
 The Buccaneers led by nine at the half and were up by the same margin midway through the second half, but Morehead State rallied back. The Eagles ended the game on an 8-0 run, including Alex Gross providing the go-ahead lay-up with 16.7 seconds remaining, lifting Morehead State to a 61-57 victory on Sunday afternoon inside Johnson Arena.
 ETSU was held to 10 points in the final 10 minutes and DeAnthony Tipler (Ashland, Miss.) missed a potential game-winning three-pointer from the corner in the closing seconds, allowing Drew Thewell to grab the rebound and going the distance for the fastbreak lay-up to ice it with 0.9 ticks left.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
The Bucs suffered their second straight loss and dipped to 4-6 on the season, while Morehead State – who is 29-4 at home since the start of the 2020-21 season – improved to 5-5.
 For the game, ETSU shot 44 percent from the field (23-52) and 24 percent from beyond the arc (4-17), while the Eagles finished 47 percent from the floor (22-47) and 28 percent from three-point range (5-18).
 At the free throw line, the Bucs were 7-of-13, compared to the Eagles going 12-of-18.
 The Bucs led by nine at the half; however, ETSU shot 31 percent (8-26) from the field and went 1-of-11 from beyond the arc in the second half. The Eagles outscored the Bucs 34-21 in the final 20 minutes after shooting 59 percent (13-22) and knocking down three of seven from long distance.
 For just the second time this season ETSU was beat on the boards as Morehead State was plus-10, 35-25. The Eagles converted 10 offensive rebounds into 19 second-chance points, while the Bucs registered eight points on eight offensive rebounds.
 ETSU assisted on 13 of its 23 made field goals, while only turning the ball over 10 times.
 
TOP PERFORMERS
Two Bucs scored in double figures with Jordan King (Albany, N.Y.) leading the Blue and Gold with 13 points, while Josh Taylor (Atlanta) added 10 points on 5-of-6 shooting.
 Jalen Haynes (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) finished with nine points, four rebounds and four assists.
 Justice Smith (Lyons, N.Y.) accounted for nine of the Bucs’ 19 bench points. Smith also grabbed five rebounds.
 Morehead State was led by Gross as he totaled 13 points and eight rebounds.
GAME SUMMARY
First Half
The Bucs brought the defensive energy in the opening 20 minutes as they held Morehead State to 36 percent shooting, while forcing six turnovers and blocked four shots as ETSU took a 36-27 lead into halftime thanks to holding the Eagles without a field goal for the final five minutes and forty-five seconds.
 King knocked down a pair of three-pointers to start the game, giving ETSU an early four-point cushion, while the Bucs’ lead grew to eight when Jeremy Gregory (Charlotte, N.C.) found Seymour for a posterizing slam, making it 17-9 at the 12:16 mark. From there, the Eagles rattled off eight straight points to pull even at 17, but with the game tied at 23, ETSU closed the final 5:45 on a 13-4 run to take the nine-point lead into the locker room.
Second Half
In a half where open looks were hard to come by, the Bucs still held a nine-point lead at the midway point of the frame, 47-39.
 Unfortunately, the Bucs were unable to sustain momentum as they were held to 10 points down the stretch.
 Despite the offensive struggles, ETSU still led by six with five minutes to play and were up four when Haynes found Taylor cutting to the basket for a dunk, making it 57-53 with 2:21 showing on the clock. However, those were the final points by the Blue and Gold as Morehead State closed the game on its 8-0 run to rally for the victory.
 Following the Taylor slam, Jake Wolfe knocked down his only three-point attempt, cutting the deficit to one with under two minutes to play. From there, the Bucs turned the ball over on a shot clock violation when King made a jumper but the ball wasn’t released before the buzzer sounded, giving the Eagles the opportunity to take their first lead of the night.
 Morehead State was unable to do so on the ensuing possession as King fouled Thewell and he missed both free throws, giving ETSU another chance to extend its lead. King had a three-point shot blocked and Morehead State grabbed the defensive rebound. After the Eagles missed two shots inside the paint, the third time was the crusher for Buccaneer fans, as Gross pulled down the board and laid one in for the eventual game-winning field goal.
UP NEXT
The Bucs now head home for their final two home games in 2022 when ETSU hosts Queens (NC) on Wednesday night and UNC Asheville on Saturday.
For more information on Buccaneer men’s basketball, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the men’s basketball page.

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