BY DARREN REESE
SUN SPORTS EDITOR
JOHNSON CITY - There is no rest for the weary when it comes to Tusculum men's basketball at the moment.
Hampered by a rash of injuries and in the midst of a five-game road stretch, the Pioneers made the short trip up to East Tennessee State University Monday night looking to end an eight-game losing streak.
Instead, Tusculum ran into a hot-shooting Bucs squad that made 54 percent of its shots - including 41 percent from three-point range - and suffered a 108-87 loss at the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center.
"It's frustrating," Tusculum head coach Michael Jones said. "I thought we did some good things, even defensively."
"When you look at who some of their key players are, we did a good job on them. It's frustrating because we gave up some easy things and we had some periods where we broke down defensively. Unfortunately we hit that lull period and let them separate from us."
The road will get no easier for the Pioneers as their next contest will come on Jan. 4 against the University of Tennessee at Thompson Boling Arena.
Tusculum is now 1-10 overall on the year.
"These games are always tough to play because the holiday season is approaching, school is out, crowds are down," Jones explained. "I thought we came out with a very good energy considering."
"If you look at where our season is, it would have been easy for our kids to just come out and go through the motions. But they didn't, and I think that speaks volumes about the character of the kids we have on this team."
Jalen Riley came off the bench to fire in 28 points to lead ETSU, while Rashawn Rembert was right behind him with 26 points.
Rembert connected on six three-pointers, as part of the 12 made by the Bucs in the contest.
ETSU placed four players in double figures. Former Knox Carter standout Lester Wilson added 13 points and nine rebounds, followed by Isaac Banks with 12 points.
Tusculum was led by the 20 points of Addison Flynn and the 18 of Chase Mounts.
Flynn, Darius Carter and B.J. Fisher each made three treys for the Pioneers. The team totaled 11 shots from long range and shot 45.5 percent (30-of-66) from the floor.
Carter finished with 13 points and Jalen Walker 10 in the loss.
"I think both teams came out not being able to find the rim early," Jones noted, "but once the motors got heated up, both were able to score some points."
"There were some times when instead of stop after stop, it would be score after score. But I tell you what, if we can come in here and score 87 against ETSU, we can do some things."
Through Tusculum's first 11 contests of the 2013-14 season, seven guys had missed a total of 33 games due to injury. That total continuted to climb Tuesday as junior forward Neal Spinks was out and senior forward J.D. Miller was only able to go two minutes.
Even without those two big bodies though, the Pioneers were able to limit ETSU's starting front court to 23 points. In addition to Wilson's effort underneath, fellow forwards A.J. Merriweather and Kinard Gadsden-Gillard finished with five points each.
Both of those guys came into the contest averaging double figures.
"I saw a lot of good things tonight offensively, especially with a few guys that we normally count on to score not really getting it going," ETSU head coach Murry Bartow said.
The Bucs are now 5-6 overall.
Tusculum led early as Mounce fired in six points and Cory Fagan and Jalen Walker each added a three-pointer to make it a 12-8 game.
Rembert started to heat up, though, and drained the first two of his long-distance shots to put ETSU in front for good at 16-14.
Riley tallied his 14th point with 6:41 still left in the first half as the Bucs pushed the margin to double digits at 35-24. ETSU went on to lead 49-35 at intermission.