In a battle of two programs that sport their mascot as a Buccaneer, it was Charleston Southern that ended up edging out East Tennessee State's version of the Buccaneer, 77-76, Tuesday at the Buc Dome.
The win marked just the second in six all-time wins with ETSU, having won each of the past two meetings between the two teams. ETSU got within one point twice in the second half, at 53-52 and at 77-76, however, never led in the contest.
It was another big night for Ge'Lawn Guyn, who scored 20 or more points for the fourth time in the past five games for ETSU, as he ended up connecting on 8-of-18 shots from the field, including 4-for-9 from three-point land, as he finished the night with 23 points.
Charleston Southern had another big night from three-point range, connecting on 11-of-19 shots from beyond the arc, which saw the hometown Bucs blister the nets to the tune of 57.9% from three-point land, moving to 2-0 on the home floor for the season. Charleston Southern also held a 34-31 edge on the backboards. The 34-31 edge on the backboards allowed CSU to out-score ETSU, 34-28, in second-chance points.
Three CSU players finished in double figures, led by Armel Potter who posted a team-high 18 points, while Raemond Robinson and Javis Howard added 14 and 13 points, respectively, to round out the double-figure scorers for CSU.
CSU was able to jump out to an 13-point halftime lead (44-31) on the strength of 51.6% (16-of-31) shooting from the field, including a sizzling the nets at a 60% clip (6-of-10), which equated to the 13-point disparity at the half. ETSU finished the opening half a much cooler 42.9% (12-of-28) from the field and just 35.7% (5-of-14) from three.
Sparked by 11-straight points from Guyn, ETSU started the second half looking like a different team, fashioning a 21-9 run to cut the CSU lead to a single point (53-52) midway through the second half.
CSU would respond, however, using an 8-2 run to create a little cushion in the score once again, taking a 68-62 with six minutes left. The ETSU Bucs trimmed it to a bucket several times, but could not get over the hump. The final came on a three-pointer from Guyn with 33 seconds left to trim CSU's lead to three points, at 77-74, and after CSU's David Upchurch missed the front end of a 1-and-1, Guyn converted a layup on the other end to bring ETSU within a point, at 77-76.
ETSU then immediately fouled Potter, who went to the line for two free throws, missing both. The Bucs called timeout and then with the ball back, All-SoCon guard A.J. Merriweather was fouled attempting to go to the basket, putting him at the line for two shots and a chance to win the game. However, he missed both free throws and ETSU ended up not even being able to force overtime. Merriweather finished with 17 points and 10 boards, completing a solid double-double performance.
The win improved CSU to 2-3 on the young season, while ETSU fell to 3-2. CSU returns to action on Friday, traveling to Akron for a 7 p.m. contest, while ETSU returns to the floor on Saturday, with a 4 p.m. contest slated with UNC Wilmington in the friendly confines of Freedom Hall.