DELAND, Fla. (Dec. 1, 2011) – After having a three-game winning streak snapped on Tuesday night at Troy, the ETSU men’s basketball team will look to rebound as the Buccaneers begin play in the Atlantic Sun Conference with a road matchup with the Stetson Hatters Thursday night.
Tip time at the Edmunds Center is set for 7:00 p.m.
The Bucs (3-2) will face a Stetson team with a new head coach, as former Belmont assistant Casey Alexander has taken over for longtime coach Derek Waugh. ETSU split the season series with Stetson a year ago.
For more on Thursday’s game, click on the game notes link to the right, or read the game notes below. For more on ETSU men’s basketball throughout the 2011-12 season, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the men’s basketball 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 Bucs will face more questions this season.
The series versus Stetson
ETSU has faced the Hatters 15 times and the Bucs hold a 9-6 advantage in the series ... However, Stetson won the last meeting between the two programs last season in Deland, Fla., as the Hatters won 55-54 back on Feb. 6, 2011.
Last time out against Stetson
DELAND, Fla. (Feb. 6, 2011) - The ETSU men’s basketball team did not score for the final 5:38 of the game, giving up an 11-point lead over that time frame and watching as Stetson’s Corey Walden sank a layup with 5.5 seconds left, handing the Hatters a 55-54 upset win over the Buccaneers in Atlantic Sun Conference play Sunday afternoon at the Edmunds Center. ... The Bucs had one last chance at the end, but sophomore Sheldon Cooley (Tampa) was called for an offensive foul as he ran down the lane for a potential game-winner of his own. ... As in past Stetson games, the Hatters attempted to slow down the pace and make it an ugly contest, utilizing an unorthodox 2-1-2 zone to stymie the Bucs. It worked early on, but a pair of 3-pointers from senior guard Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.) and a 12-3 run late in the second half helped ETSU to a 27-13 edge with 2:38 left before the intermission. ... The Bucs’ advantage at the break was ultimately 27-17, and the real story for the first 20 minutes was ETSU’s defensive effort, which held Stetson to just 17 points. It matched the lowest point total for an ETSU opponent this season, and was the same as when the Bucs met the Hatters back on Jan. 10. ... Stetson shot just 27 percent in the first half and was out-rebounded by the Bucs, 20-12. Smith scored 12 points in the first 20 minutes to lead all scorers at that point. ... After the break, it was a different story. ... Stetson put together an 11-2 run in the early going to cut the Bucs’ lead to just 34-30 with 14:50 left. However, from there ETSU responded thanks to a quick five points from senior guard Micah Williams (Manchester) and a 9-0 run ensued to make it 43-30 with 12:08 remaining. ... Stetson did not go away, though, and was able to make another significant run at the Bucs, methodically cutting the ETSU lead down to just one at 54-53 on a free throw by Graeme Radford with 36.5 seconds left on the clock. ... Smith was fouled after Radford missed his second of two attempts at the line, but missed the front end of the one-and-one, giving Walden his chance to become the hero.
Last time out
TROY, Ala. (Nov. 29, 2011) – As the ETSU men’s basketball team prepared for Tuesday night’s road game against Troy, the Buccaneers’ major concern was the Trojans’ 3-point shooting attack. The Bucs apparently had good reason to be worried. ... Troy connected on 12 shots from long range and also took advantage at the foul line, as the Trojans avenged a loss to ETSU earlier this season with a 79-71 victory Tuesday evening inside Sartain Hall. The loss snapped ETSU’s three-game winning streak, as the Bucs now stand at 3-2 on the season. Meanwhile, Troy improved to 3-3. ... The Trojans started the game on target from 3-point range, with six of their first nine made shots coming from beyond the arc. Those efforts led to an eight-point advantage for Troy, as the score stood at 24-16 with 8:18 left in the first half. ... ETSU got it back to within four at 24-20, but the Trojans bounced back to make it 31-22 on a three-point play by Emil Jones with 3:03 left before the break. Ultimately, the Bucs managed to make several defensive stops and went to the locker room trailing by a score of 35-28. ... In the first 20 minutes, Troy shot 45 percent from the field and 37 percent from beyond the arc, while the Bucs led the battle of the boards at 18-15. ... After the break, the Bucs managed to get within four points on multiple occasions, and trailed just 49-45 with eight minutes left in the game. However, from there Troy found their stroke from 3-point range once again, hitting on four long range shots over the next five minutes to power a 21-10 run and take a 70-55 lead with just over two minutes left in the game. ... ETSU got the game back to eight at 79-71 thanks to some desperation 3-pointers in the final minutes, but could get no closer.
Early season scouting report for ETSU
After playing five games so far this season, the Buccaneers have seen some statistical regularities -- some positive and some negative. On the positive side, the Bucs are holding opponents to just 39 percent shooting from the floor and have forced an average of 19 turnovers a game ... In addition, the Bucs are collecting 10.0 steals a contest and averaging 11 assists per game ... However, on the negative side, ETSU is shooting just 29 percent from 3-point range so far this season, and is being out-rebounded by an average of 2.8 rebounds a game ... The team is also shooting just 59 percent from the foul line.
Cooley among nation’s best in steals
Junior Sheldon Cooley (Tampa) has been on a torrid pace this season, averaging 3.8 steals per game ... Through games as of Nov. 27, he ranked second nationally in steals.
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 149, but is just 33 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.
Florida connection proving valuable to Bucs
For much of the past 10 seasons, the Buccaneers have enjoyed a pipeline of quality players coming from the “Sunshine” state ... A glance at this year’s current roster shows that trend continuing ... Entering Thursday’s game, these have been the contributions of ETSU’s current Floridians:
Adam Sollazzo (Tampa) 11.2 points, 6.4 rebounds, 4.8 assists
Sheldon Cooley (Tampa) 10.6 points, 2.8 rebounds, 1.8 assists
Isiah Brown (Miami, Fla.) 12.0 points, 6.8 rebounds, 0.8 assists
Lukas Poderis (Port Richey, Fla.) 4.6 points, 4.2 rebounds, 0.2 assists
In all, ETSU’s Florida players are averaging a combined 38.4 points,
20.2 rebounds, 7.6 assists and 6.2 steals per game so far this season.
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 did 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.
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........................................................................ 846 points
Tommy Hubbard ........................................................... 608 points
Adam Sollazzo ................................................................ 608 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
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.
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.