JOHNSON CITY (Nov. 14, 2011) – After opening the 2011-12 regular season on the road, the ETSU men’s basketball team will open the home portion of its schedule Tuesday evening, taking on former Southern Conference rival Appalachian State. Tip is set for 7 p.m. inside the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center.
The Buccaneers, who dropped their season opener 64-53 at Virginia Tech on Saturday, will look to maintain their current winning streak against the Mountaineers – which currently stands at four games.
Fans are also encouraged to stay in their seats at halftime Tuesday night, as the ETSU Department of Intercollegiate Athletics will unveil a new program mascot with the help of the past’s most beloved Buccaneer supporters (which will include the Bucs’ past mascots over the last 100 years).
For more on Tuesday’s game, click on the game notebook to the right or read the game notes below. For more on ETSU men’s basketball, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the men’s hoops link.
We are “ETSU”
The ETSU Department of Intercollegiate Athletics would like to ask both the print and broadcast media to honor our request to be called “ETSU” ... East Tennessee State in first reference is acceptable, but subsequent references should be ETSU ... On TV graphics please use ETSU ... Our nickname is the Buccaneers, but Bucs is also acceptable.
While posting its highest RPI since the 2003-04 season, head coach Murry Bartow led the ETSU men’s basketball team to another successful season in 2010-11, a campaign that included 24 wins and ultimately ended with a run to the semifinals of the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament … Led by seniors such as Atlantic Sun Conference Player of the Year Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.) and all-conference performer Micah Williams (Manchester), the Bucs enjoyed impressive road wins at Atlantic 10 Conference member Dayton and Southeastern Conference foe Mississippi State, while also finishing second in the A-Sun Conference standings … Along with Smith and Williams, fellow senior Justin Tubbs (Trussville, Ala.) continued to impress fans with his high-flying dunks, which twice landed him as the No. 1 play of the day on ESPN’s SportsCenter and earned him a spot in the national slam dunk championships … Unfortunately for the Bucs, Smith, Williams and Tubbs have departed, leaving the team with the unenviable task of having to replace over 42 points of offensive production from a year ago – equal to 60 percent of the team’s scoring in 2010-11 … The Bucs will begin looking for those offensive numbers from returning starters such as senior guard Adam Sollazzo (Tampa) and senior forward Isiah Brown (Miami, Fla.), while senior forward Tommy Hubbard (Boston) – a 2010 A-Sun all-conference and all-tournament performer – will return to the floor after taking a medical redshirt season a year ago … Other returning players looking to improve their production will include junior guards Sheldon Cooley (Tampa) and Jarvis Jones (Memphis), junior forwards J.C. Ward (Marietta) and Lukas Poderis (Tampa), and redshirt freshman point guard Ryan Woumn (Lynn, Mass.) … The Bucs have also added a talented recruiting class that includes three true freshman and one junior college transfer … As opposed to last season – when the team returned a bevy of talented and experienced players – the younger and more inexperienced Buccaneers will face more questions than usual this season when they take the floor to open the 2011-12 campaign at Virginia Tech on Nov. 12.
The series versus Appalachian State
The Bucs and Mountaineers have a long history of battles on the hardwood, with ETSU holding a 77-46 edge in the all-time series dating back to 1928 ... ETSU won the last meeting back on Dec. 24, 2010 in the Cancun Governor’s Cup, and the Bucs have won four straight in the series.
Last time out against Appalachian State
CANCUN, Mexico (Dec. 24, 2010) - Wishing for some early Christmas cheer in the form of a solid performance on the court, the ETSU men’s basketball team made it happen Friday in the third round of the Cancun Governor’s Cup at the Poliforum Benito Juarez. ... Powered by a double-double performance from senior guard Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.) that included a game-high 20 points and career-high 16 rebounds, the Buccaneers also utilized an effective man-to-man defense and a 16-point first half offensive run to drop former Southern Conference rival Appalachian State decisively in a 79-51 blowout. ... Smith was certainly not alone on the offensive end, as junior forward Isiah Brown (Miami) scored 16, junior guard Adam Sollazzo (Tampa) netted 14, and senior guard Micah Williams (Manchester) had 13. The Bucs also shot 57 percent from the floor, 43 percent from 3-point range, and 74 percent from the foul line for the game. ... Meanwhile, they held Appalachian to just 32 percent shooting from the floor and 29 percent from beyond the arc. More impressively, the Bucs outrebounded the Mountaineers 39-26 for the game. ... Appalachian State did take advantage of the zone in the early going and led 5-0 with 18:43 left in the first half. However, Bartow took timeout at that point and did make the defensive switch, while also allowing the Bucs to use their fullcourt press defense. ... For the Mountaineers, Omar Carter led the way with 16 points, while Nathan Healy had 14.
Last time out
BLACKSBURG, Va. (Nov. 12, 2011) – Despite trailing by 14 points midway through the second half, the ETSU men’s basketball team rallied to within four points late in the game, but ultimately dropped a hard-fought regular season opener to Virginia Tech 64-53 Saturday afternoon at the Cassell Coliseum. ... The Bucs could not overcome a poor shooting effort, as they hit on just 30 percent of their shots from the floor and 12 percent (2-of-17) from the 3-point range. ETSU fell despite holding the Hokies to 39 percent shooting from the floor and 28 percent from beyond the arc. ... Senior Adam Sollazzo (Tampa) led the Bucs with a game-high 13 points, while junior guard Sheldon Cooley (Tampa) and senior post Isiah Brown (Miami, Fla.) pitched in 10 points apiece. ... In the first half, ETSU led by as many as seven points at 17-10 with 9:15 left on the clock. The Bucs maintained a lead for 18 minutes of action in the first half, but a major offensive drought to end the half led to trouble for ETSU. ... A pair of free throws from Tommy Hubbard (Boston) made it 21-15 with 7:54 left, but from there ETSU would not score again and looked on as the Hokies went on a 9-0 run to finish with a 24-21 advantage at the break. ... At the half, ETSU had stayed even in the rebounding category and had committed just three turnovers. However, the Bucs shot just 20 percent from the field and did not have a made 3-point shot. The Bucs did force seven Virginia Tech turnovers and also held the Hokies to just 33 percent shooting from the floor and 10 percent from the 3-point arc. ... ETSU opened the second half with a dunk from Brown, who was fouled on the play and then hit the free throw to tie the game at 24-24. The Bucs were still within six points with 14 minutes left in the game, but three straight 3-pointers from Tech’s Robert Brown made it 46-36 with 11:42 remaining. ... Tech then pulled ahead by as many as 14 points, but the Bucs battled back thanks to 10 points from Sollazzo and a layup by Lukas Poderis (Port Richey, Fla.) that made it 55-51 with 1:52 left. However, from there Tech made a pair of free throws followed by a turnover by Sollazzo, and two more Hokie free throws made it 59-51 with 1:04 left. ... ETSU never threatened again. ... The Hokies were led by game-high 13 points from Tyrone Garland, while Brown finished with 12 points and Dorian Finney-Smith added 10.
On their way to 1,000 points
As they begin their seniors seasons, ETSU’s trio of Isiah Brown, Adam Sollazzo and Tommy Hubbard are all eying the 1,000 point mark for their careers. After the season opener at Virginia Tech, here is where each stands:
Isiah Brown 808 points
Tommy Hubbard 575 points
Adam Sollazzo 581 points
To reach 1,000, the three would have to average the following during the regular season:
Isiah Brown 7.0 points per game
Tommy Hubbard 14.7 points per game
Adam Sollazzo 14.8 points per game
Block party for Brown
With a block in last season’s finale against Iona, senior forward Isiah Brown (Miami, Fla.) set a new school record for blocks in a single season, swatting away a total of 71 shots on the year ... For his career, he now stands fifth on the all-time list at 142, but just 42 blocks behind the program’s all-time leader Zakee Wadood ... In addition to those marks, Brown’s six-block performance against Belmont last year also matched the program’s single-game record ... At the time, Brown joined six other ETSU players who have had six-block games, including former standouts Brad Nuckles, Eryk Thomas, Jerald Fields, Zakee Wadood, Greg Dennis and Greg Hamlin.
Getting to the free throw line a key for the Bucs
In recent years, the Bucs have focused on playing stingy defense, but also driving to the basket on offense and trying to get “tough” points thanks to fouls ... One way for the ETSU coaching staff to determine how successful the Bucs have been is charting free throw attempts and makes ... Well if this statistic is a true indicator, then the Bucs are doing just as the coaches would like ... Last season, ETSU set a school record for free throw attempts, putting up a total of 856 free tosses ... The Bucs also made their share of those attempts, ranking second on the all-time list with 580 makes ... The 2010-11 edition of the Bucs came up just nine makes short of the all-time record, held by the 1991-92 Bucs at 589.
Bucs add to postseason resume
The ETSU men’s basketball team has enjoyed its share of postseason success and ranks as one of the nation’s most prestigious basketball programs ... The Buccaneers have earned berths to the NCAA Tournament nine times (1969, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 2003, 2004, 2009, 2010) and NIT twice (1983, 2007) ... In 2011, the Bucs made their first ever appearance in the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament, winning twice and advancing to the semifinals of that event ... it was the program’s 12th postseason tournament appearance all-time.
Home Sweet Dome ... against non-conference teams
Since the 1996-97 season, the Buccaneers are an amazing 143-45 overall inside Memorial Center, good for a winning percentage of 77 percent ... But when looking at the past 10 years, the Bucs are an even more impressive 42-4 against non-conference opponents ... Last year, the Bucs went 13-2 at the Dome.
ETSU “only” A-Sun team picked among
nation’s best “Prestige” programs
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 ESPN.com’s “Prestige” ranking released back in 2008 ... Since that time, the Bucs have only added to their list of prestigious honors … The Buccaneers, who have enjoyed nine NCAA Tournament trips, one NIT berth, 11 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. 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.
Bartow gets wins No. 250 overall and 150 at ETSU;
ranks among best coaches in last five years
With his team’s win over Florida Gulf Coast on Jan. 8, ETSU head coach Murry Bartow picked up his 250th career victory ... He then collected his 150th win at ETSU when the Bucs downed Jacksonville on Jan. 15 ... When looking at coaches across the country, ETSU head coach Murry Bartow stands among a select group ... Of those coaches that have been at their current school for at least five years, only 24 have averaged better than 20 wins a season ... That list includes coaches such as Dayton’s Brian Gregory, Syracuse’s Jim Boeheim, UConn’s Jim Calhoun, Florida’s Billy Donovan, Michigan State’s Tom Izzo, Duke’s Mike Kryzewski, Louisville’s Rick Pitino, Kansas’ Bill Self, Maryland’s Gary Williams and North Carolina’s Roy Williams ... The list also includes Bartow, who is average 20.2 wins a year since 2005-06.