JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) – Despite jumping out to an early double-digit lead, the Bucs had to hang on late to defeat the visiting Bulldogs, 78-70.

The Blue and Gold come out on an offensive mission, starting the contest on a 17-4 run. The Citadel drew back to within six points, however, and went into the halftime locker room trailing, 29-21.

The Bulldogs sliced the lead down even further, clawing back as close as four points in the second half. But, a Jordan King three-pointer with 4:39 remaining gave the Bucs its largest lead at 17 points.

On the following ETSU possession, Jalen Haynes was called for an offensive foul. Displeased with the call, he approached the officials and received two technical fouls and was immediately ejected from the contest.

“(Haynes’ ejection) changed the game,” head coach Desmond Oliver said. “Clearly -we’re up 17 points with a chance to close it. It gets tight – at one point they cut it to five. But again, guys stepped up.”

In the remaining four minutes of game time, the teams combined for eleven fouls, as the Bulldogs tested the Buccaneers’ lead, once again. But, a strong showing from the charity stripe carried ETSU across the finish line.

“Making free throws down the stretch – I feel like that was the biggest thing for us because we weren’t really scoring late in the game,” ETSU guard Jordan King said. “But, we just focused in on our free throws.”

The Blue and Gold finished 18-of-25 at the line on the night, including 13 of their final 15 attempts.

“We can’t just slack off at the end of the season, we’ve still got to lock in to finish these games,” ETSU forward Jaden Seymour said. “We don’t know what can happen. It could affect our seeding. Just getting prepared for the tournament.”

ETSU (11-19, 7-10 SoCon) has one more shot to improve that conference record as UNC Greensboro comes to town Saturday. Tip-off on Senior Day is slated for 4 p.m.