MACON, Ga. (March 4, 2010) -- The ETSU men's basketball team will begin defense of its 2009 Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament championship Thursday, facing Campbell in the quarterfinals of the 2010 General Shale Brick A-Sun Championships.
Tip is set for 2:30 inside the University Center on the campus of Mercer University.
The Bucs (17-14) enter as the fifth seed in the event, but finished just one game back of a four-way tie for first, which included fourth seeded Campbell. The two teams split their two regular season meetings, with both teams winning big on their home floors.
For more on Thursday's game, click on the game notes link above or read the game notes located below.
With three straight wins serving as momentum heading into postseason play, the ETSU men's basketball team will be attempting to defend their 2009 Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament championship this week at Mercer University ... The Bucs are certainly not the same team that won this event a year ago, having lost all four of its five starters from a year ago (three to graduation and one to injury), and giving up over 44 points of the team's 78.1-point average from a year ago ... But there has been even more to overcome, as the Bucs also were forced to deal with the death of rising sophomore forward Seth Coy (Washington, Ind.) to a car accident over the summer and the loss of 1,000-point scoring guard Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.) to injury early in the regular season ... Regardless, ETSU posted a 17-14 overall record and a 13-7 league mark, and finished just one game out of first place in the league race ... While Smith has been absent and will apply for a medical redshirt season, junior forward Tommy Hubbard (Boston), along with junior guards Justin Tubbs (Trussville, Ala.) and Micah Williams (Manchester) have stepped up their games. In fact, Hubbard has posted double-doubles 13 times this season on way to being named second team All Atlantic Sun Conference ... Currently, Hubbard and Tubbs lead the team in scoring, with Hubbard averaging 13.8 points per game, and Tubbs pitching in 12.2 a contest ... Williams is the only other ETSU player averaging double figures with 11.6 a contest.
The Bucs in the A-Sun Tournament
Entering just their fifth Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament, the Buccaneers are 6-3 all-time, and most recently enjoyed a perfect 3-0 run through the event a year ago en route to a conference title and trip to the NCAAs ... The Bucs' previous trips included a loss in the first round of the event in 2006, advancing to the finals in 2007, and falling in the semifinals in 2008 ... In conference tournaments all-time (including the Southern and Ohio Valley), the Bucs are 36-21, having gone 7-3 in league championship final games.
ETSU in conference finals
The Buccaneers have played in 10 previous tournament finals and hold an impressive 7-3 mark ... The following is a breakdown of those games:
1983 -- vs. Chattanooga, 70-62 (L)
1989 -- vs. Marshall, 96-73 (W)
1990 -- vs. Appalachian State, 96-75 (W)
1991 -- vs. Appalachian State, 101-82 (W)
1992 -- vs. Chattanooga, 74-62 (W)
1993 -- vs. Chattanooga, 86-75 (L)
2003 -- vs. Chattanooga, 97-90 (W)
2004 -- vs. Chattanooga, 78-62 (W)
2007 -- vs. Belmont, 67-94 (L)
2009 -- vs. Jacksonville, 85-68 (W)
Last time in the A-Sun Tournament
NASHVILLE (March 7, 2009) - For most of the 2008-09 season, much had been written and said about ETSU's "Big Three" of senior guard Courtney Pigram (Memphis), senior forward Kevin Tiggs (Flint, Mich.) and junior guard Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.). ... But on Saturday in the finals of the Atlantic Sun Conference Championships at Allen Arena, it was the Buccaneers "Big 10" that truly made the difference. While Smith posted a double-double with 22 points and 12 rebounds to go with 21 points from Tiggs, the ETSU bench combined to provide 22 points and 12 rebounds in an absolutely dominating 85-68 win over Jacksonville. ... With the win, ETSU (23-10) secures a bid to the 2009 NCAA Tournament, marking the eighth time in school history that the Buccaneers have made their way to March Madness. The Bucs are the 16th different team to win the A-Sun title and first new winner since Belmont took the championship in 2006. ... Dominance in the paint and on the glass highlighted the first half for ETSU, along with a quick scoring start for Tiggs. The Bucs held a 22-17 advantage on the boards, outscoring the Dolphins 24-8 in the paint and enjoying a 14-0 edge in second chance points. Meanwhile, Tiggs scored 13 of ETSU's first 23 points, staking the Bucs to a 23-11 lead with just over 11 minutes left in the half. ... From there, Tiggs got in foul trouble after picking up his third violation of the game with 6:12 left before the intermission. The score was 32-18 at the time, and despite Tiggs' departure ETSU still pushed the lead out to 43-28 at the break. ... In the first half, Tiggs was joined by Smith with 13 points to lead the way, but despite the fact Pigram scored just one point, it was the supporting cast of freshman forward Isiah Brown (Miami, Fla.), sophomore forward Tommy Hubbard (Boston), sophomore guard Micah Williams (Manchester) and senior forward Greg Hamlin (Flint, Mich.) that combined for 16 points and 12 rebounds off the bench. ... The second half opened with another ETSU run, as a 3-pointer by Pigram to open the half ignited an 11-2 run for the Buccaneers and made the score 54-30 with 16:19 left in the game. Jacksonville tried to answer with a 4-0 spurt of its own, but ultimately ETSU would lead by 30 at 69-39 with 9:05 left in the game. Jacksonville ultimately rallied to outscore the Bucs 29-16 over the final nine minutes, but at that point it was simply too late for the Dolphins to recover. ... For the game, ETSU shot 47 percent from the floor and outrebounded the Dolphins 40-34, forcing 15 turnovers on seven steals. Meanwhile, the Bucs' defense held JU to 39 percent shooting and just 68 points on the night. ... Along with Smith and Tiggs, Williams finished with a career high 16 points, and Hubbard finished with six points and seven rebounds, while Brown pitched in nine points and five rebounds. Pigram, Smith and Tiggs made all-tournament team, with Tiggs earning MVP honors. ... For JU, Ben Smith scored a game high 29, while Ayron Hardy and Evan Jefferson pitched in 11 each.
Sollazzo honors Coy with number change
When ETSU's rising sophomore forward Seth Coy (Montgomery, Ind.) was tragically killed in a car accident this summer, it left the entire Buccaneer community with a deep sense of loss ... As is often the case, those that are left to mourn have looked for ways to remember the Bucs' 6-foot-11 "Gentle Giant." ... For sophomore guard Adam Sollazzo (Tampa), who was Coy's roommate, the answer was simple ... Changing his jersey number from No. 20 to Coy's No. 43, Sollazzo will play the 2009-10 season to honor his friend and have that memory with him each night. ... In addition, the Bucs were a special "43" batch on their uniforms this season in honor of their fallen friend and teammate.
Last time out
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (Feb. 27, 2010) - Building a 19-point lead with only seven minutes left in the game, the ETSU men's basketball team watched the Jacksonville Dolphins battle back to pull to within one point with less than a minute remaining. However, JU's Ben Smith missed a desperation 3-pointer at the buzzer to give ETSU a 64-62 victory in Atlantic Sun Conference action Saturday afternoon at the Veterans Memorial Arena. ... Jacksonville fell on its home floor despite outscoring the Bucs 22-5 over the final seven minutes of the game. The Bucs (17-15 overall, 13-7 A-Sun) got a double-double from sophomore forward Isiah Brown (Miami, Fla.), who scored 15 points and grabbed 12 rebounds, while junior guard Micah Williams (Manchester) added 15 points and junior forward Tommy Hubbard (Boston) netted 12. ... The Dolphins dropped to 18-11, 14-6 in A-Sun action. ... In the first half, the forward trio of Brown, Hubbard and sophomore J.C. Ward (Marietta, Ga.) powered the ETSU offense, scoring 25 of ETSU's 37 first-half points and out-rebounding the Dolphins 23-16. Perhaps more importantly, after JU's Lehmon Colbert scored the Dolphins' first six points, Ward was asked to defend the Dolphins' big man and Colbert scored just two points the rest of the half. ... The key run for the Bucs came late in the first half as ETSU took a 23-19 game with 7:47 left and went on a 14-5 run to close out the first 20 minutes with a 37-24 lead. In the first half, the Bucs shot 73 percent from the foul line (11-of-15), enjoyed a 20-10 edge scoring in the paint, and held an 11-5 lead in second chance points. ... ETSU opened the second half with a deep 3-pointer from Justin Tubbs (Trussville, Ala.) to make it a 16-point game at 40-24 with 19:23 left, but over the next six minutes JU was able to cut the lead to seven at 42-35 with 13:29 remaining. However, at that point, Williams netted 10 of the Bucs' next 12 points to power a 12-0 offensive run and give ETSU its largest advantage of the game at 54-35 with 10:59 left. ... The ETSU advantage got to 19 at 59-40 with 7:45 remaining in the game, but JU responded with a 22-4 run over the next seven minutes to make it 61-60 with 45 seconds left. During that span, the Dolphins got 17 points from senior guard Ben Smith, which included an amazing four 3-pointers. ... At that point, however, a missed 3-pointer by Tubbs with 10 seconds left was rebounded by Williams, who was fouled by JU's Travis Cohn. With 8.2 seconds left, Williams hit one of two foul shots to make it 64-62, but Smith's 3-pointer then missed as time expired. ... The Bucs held JU to 38 percent shooting, and forced 13 turnovers by the Dolphins. ETSU shot 42 percent from the floor, and a strong 70 percent from the foul line (19-of-27), out-rebounding JU 41-34 on the boards.
Century mark not usual for ETSU defense
Giving up 100 points in the loss to Belmont (1/23/10) was not usual for the Buccaneers ... Before that game, the Bucs had not given up 100 or more point in over two years ... The last time it happened was on Dec. 15, 2007, when the Bucs lost to Syracuse 125-75 ... This season, the most points the ETSU defense had allowed was 85, in games at Arkansas and UAB ... For the year, the ETSU defense is giving up an average of just 66.7 points per game.
Williams bringing more offense to the table
Junior guard Micah Williams (Manchester) has worked his way into the starting lineup thanks to more consistent play on the offensive end ... He has scored in double figures in 17 of his last 22 games, and recently matched his season high with 22 points against Stetson (2/6) ... He most recently scored 15 in the win over Jacksonville (2/27) ... Currently, Williams is one of three Bucs averaging double figures scoring this year with 11.6 points per game.
Hubbard steps up game in 2009-10
Much has been written and reported about junior forward Tommy Hubbard (Boston) and his efforts to improve his offensive game, and those strides have led to some solid numbers ... He currently leads the Bucs with 13.8 points per game and 8.4 rebounds a contest ... while he has posted 13 double doubles on the year, his efforts began to pay off on the offensive end against Chattanooga back on Nov. 17 ... Setting career bests for points (26) and rebounds (13), Hubbard collected his first career double-double against the Mocs ... In addition, he hit his first 3-point shot in three seasons with the Bucs, and didn't stop there -- ultimately finishing with four long-range bombs on the night.
Record setting night from the arc for Bucs
Hitting on 11-of-14 shots from 3-point range against Arkansas, the Bucs put their name in a multiple of record books ... First, those numbers set a new school record for 3-point field goal percentage in a game with a 78.6 percent mark, breaking the previous record of 66.7 percent which had been done three times previously ... In addition, it was the best shooting effort in the "nation" this season for teams taking more than 10 shots in a game ... And it was the best percentage by a team in the A-Sun since Nov. 28, 1999 when UCF was 11-of-14 in a game against South Carolina state.
ETSU the "only" A-Sun team picked among
nation's best "Prestige" programs
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (July 22, 2008) - Since the beginning of the modern era for NCAA Division I-A basketball - marked by the expansion of the NCAA Tournament field to 64 teams in 1984-85 - the ETSU men's basketball program ranks in the Top 30 percent of the 300 programs that were eligible for the postseason at that time, this according to a new "Prestige" ranking released by ESPN.com ... The Buccaneers, who have enjoyed six NCAA Tournament trips, one NIT berth, seven 20-win seasons, and a slew of conference regular season and tournament championships since 1984-85, ranked tied for 82nd out of 300 teams, meaning they were in the Top 27 percent of schools making the list. ETSU was ranked ahead of every current Atlantic Sun Conference team, as well as former Southern Conference rivals Appalachian State, Western Carolina, Georgia Southern and UNC Greensboro. The Bucs also were placed ahead of every current member of the Colonial Athletic Association with the exception of Old Dominion ... In addition, the Bucs ranked ahead of SEC schools such as Tennessee, Vanderbilt, South Carolina, Mississippi State, Georgia, Mississippi and Auburn, as well as other major programs such as Virginia Tech, Notre Dame, DePaul, Bradley, Clemson, California and Florida State.