JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) – ETSU men’s basketball closed out the regular season on Saturday evening with a momentum-shifting victory, as the Bucs held on to defeat the SoCon-favorite Spartans, 63-62.
The teams jockeyed for position early, as UNC-G led by as many as six points. But, it was ETSU’s eight-point advantage midway through the first half that ended up being the largest of the frame. The Bucs led 33-29 at the break.
Following a few more lead changes, the Blue and Gold rallied for a 14-4 run, which stretched the team’s advantage to ten points with under eight minutes to play.
The Spartans would not go quietly, however, as they cut the lead to just a single point with 12 seconds remaining.
A Jordan King turnover gave the visitors one last look at the basket, but Kobe Langley’s three-point attempt from the corner rattled out at the buzzer, much to the delight of the Buccaneer faithful.
“Just happy to go out there and play hard, play the whole game and beat a really good team, to be honest,” Jaden Seymour said after the game. “Just good to get that, really, revenge.”
“To come out early in the game and establish ourselves – young teams need to establish themselves,” head coach Desmond Oliver said. “You get down by ten or 12 early – it could be a wrap. But, to go up early and hang and be up at halftime, I thought, brought enough confidence.”
King played every single minute of the contest, scoring a game-best 25 points for the Bucs. Seymour also chipped in 17 points and seven rebounds in the win.
Jalen Haynes, who was ejected in the second half of Wednesday’s win over The Citadel, scored eight points off the bench on Saturday.
Keyshaun Langley and Bas Leyte each notched 12 points for the Spartans in defeat, while Kobe Langley contributed eleven points.
“We needed the momentum,” King said. “The rest of our season we just had, it’s in the past. We’re not remembering that. We’re just ready to go to Asheville and get some wins.”
With a victory, ETSU (12-19, 8-10 SoCon) has earned the No. 5 seed in next weekend’s Southern Conference Tournament. The Bucs will face No. 4 seed, Western Carolina at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday in the Harrah’s Cherokee Center-Asheville.