Eshaunte Jones showed why he was named the Atlantic Sun Player of the Week as he helped the Northern Kentucky Norse avenge a home loss to East Tennessee State with a 70-68 victory in Johnson City, Tenn. on Thursday.
Jones, who averaged 25.5 points in the two victories last week, led the Norse (7-11, 5-5 A-Sun) with 25 points and nine rebounds with all seven of his field goals coming from behind the arc. Ernest Watson added 16 while Chad Jackson finished with 12 points and nine rebounds. Jack Flournoy accounted for 11 of the Norse’s 13 points off the bench.
Jarvis Jones led the Buccaneers (6-17, 4-6) with 23 points and Lester Wilson added 16 and six rebounds. Hunter Harris, who led ETSU in its 49-44 victory at NKU earlier this month, finished with just two points and attempted only two shots.
Those two points came at the very beginning of the contest as Harris gave the Bucs an early 2-0 lead that was erased by the first of Jones’ seven 3-pointers. The two teams battled back and forth as the Norse grabbed a six point lead, but the Bucs took control with a lead that grew as big as seven. ETSU looked to take a five point lead into the half, but a jumper by Watson with 25 seconds left made it 31-28.
John Staley quickly cut the lead to one with a basket in the opening minute and then Jackson tied the game after splitting a pair of free throws. Jones gave the Norse their first lead since the 9:31 mark in the first half with a 3-pointer. Flournoy capped the 9-0 to start the half with a 3-pointer of his own before ETSU scored five straight.
The Norse would jump out to a 55-45 lead, but ETSU clawed its way back by going on a 12-2 run to tie the game at 59 with 4:45 remaining. Watson would give NKU the lead back on its next posession, but the Bucs jumped ahead with a free throw and a 3-pointer.
The next two minutes belonged to Jackson as he drove to the lane and picked up two points and a foul. He would convert the free throw for a one point Norse lead. On the defensive end he grabbed a rebound on the Bucs ensuing possession and then got his own rebound on the offensive end and converted it into a layup and a three point lead with 1:46 left.
Jarvis Jones 3-point attempt missed the mark allowing Eshaunte Jones to scoop up the rebound, but Tyler White was unable to convert on the other end for the Norse. Ethan Faulkner fouled Jones who converted two ETSU free-throws to cut the lead to one with 55 seconds left.
Eshaunte Jones dealt a devastating blow on the Norse’s next possession as he not only made a 3-pointer, but was also fouled by Wilson for the rare four-point play. It took only six seconds for ETSU to respond as Rashawn Rembert knocked down a 3-pointer to make it a 70-68 game.
Eshaunte Jones committed an offensive foul for a costly turnover that gave ETSU a shot a tying or possibly winning the game. Instead Jarvis Jones’ layup did not go in in the final seconds allowing Watson to nab the rebound for NKU as well as the victory.
The road trip continues for the Norse as they head to Spartanburg, S.C., for a showdown with USC Upstate (13-10, 7-3) on Feb. 2. The Spartans defeated the Norse earlier this season 60-54 at the Bank of Kentucky Center on Jan. 5.