MACON, Ga. (Feb. 6, 2012) – The ETSU men’s basketball team will continue with Atlantic Sun Conference action on the road Monday night, taking on conference leader Mercer at 7 p.m. inside the University Center.
The Buccaneers (12-10 overall, 6-5 A-Sun) have won two in a row, but will be facing a Bears team that has not lost since suffering a defeat at ETSU back in early January. In that game, the Bucs – who are the nation’s leader in steals – used a strong defensive effort to stymie Mercer (18-7, 10-2) and take the win.
For more on Monday’s matchup, 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 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.
Last time out
KENNESAW, Ga. (Feb. 4, 2012) – Senior guard Adam Sollazzo (Tampa) scored a game-high 19 points, freshman guard Rashawn Rembert (Tampa) came off the bench to net a crucial 11, and senior Tommy Hubbard (Boston) made clutch plays down the stretch, leading the ETSU men’s basketball team to a 64-59 win over Kennesaw State Saturday afternoon inside the KSU Convocation Center. ... The win moves ETSU to 12-10 overall, 6-5 in Atlantic Sun play. The Owls drop to 3-21, 0-12. ... With the Bucs trailing 57-54 and 2:37 left on the clock, Hubbard – who played in the game despite suffering from a turf-toe injury – began his game-saving play. He first scored on a traditional 3-point play to make it 57-57, and then after a free throw miss by junior guard Jarvis Jones (Memphis), Hubbard grabbed an offensive rebound to keep the ball on ETSU’s end of the court. He later picked up three offensive rebounds in a row on the same possession, before ultimately tapping in a miss to give the Bucs a 60-57 edge with only 20 seconds left in the game. ... The first half closely resembled the last meeting between the Bucs and Owls earlier this season, as Kennesaw State connected on seven 3-pointers in the first 20 minutes and led by as many as 11 at 24-13. The Bucs, whose offensive issues have become a theme this year, again struggled to score in the early going, but managed to cut the deficit to six at 30-24 at halftime thanks to a Rembert 3-pointer to close out the half. ... Guard Delbert Love was the story of the first half, going 5-of-5 from 3-point range and scoring 15 points for the Owls. ... In the second half, Rembert’s play continued to impress as he opened the half with five straight points, and capped a 13-2 run with a 3-pointer that made it 44-42 in favor of ETSU with 10:07 left in the game. The ETSU advantage grew to six at 48-42 on a Poderis’ layup, but the Owls battled back to regain the lead at 57-54 with 2:57 remaining on the clock. ... At that point, Hubbard took over. However, after his fourth and fifth point made it 60-57, it wasn’t until Sollazzo and Jones combined to hit four-straight free throws that the Bucs could relax and picked up the win. ... For the game, ETSU shot 51 percent from the floor, forced Kennesaw State into 17 turnovers, collected 12 steals and out-rebounded the Owls 26-18. However, the Owls shot the ball well, posting an impressive 57 percent clip from the field and hitting on 58 percent from 3-point range. ... Along with Sollazzo and Rembert, senior forward Isiah Brown (Miami, Fla.) reached double figures with 14 points. Meanwhile, KSU’s Love netted a game-high 19, while Spencer Dixon pitched in 14, and Brandon Dawson had 12.
The series versus Mercer
The Bucs lead the all-time series over Mercer 12-2, and currenlty hold a four-game winning streak over the Bears ... ETSU won the last meeting 76-61 back on Jan. 7, 2012.
Last time out against Mercer
JOHNSON CITY (Jan. 7, 2012) – The ETSU men’s basketball team used a relentless defensive attack and 20-point efforts from senior guard Adam Sollazzo (Tampa) and junior guard Marcus Dubose (Hartsville, S.C.) to drop Mercer 76-61 in Atlantic Sun Conference action Saturday afternoon inside the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center. ... The Bucs, who shot 53 percent from the floor and 77 percent from the foul line for the game, got a game-high 23 points and six assists from Sollazzo, and 21 points from Dubose. Meanwhile, senior forward Isiah Brown (Miami) netted 16 points and blocked three shots. ... Defensively, ETSU held the Bears to 41 percent shooting from the floor and forced 21 turnovers, which allowed the Bucs to outscore Mercer 16-0 on fast break points. For the Bears, Justin Cecil led their attack with a team-high 17 points. ... In the first half, the two teams were tied at 7-7 before ETSU went on to outscore the Bears 42-23 the rest of the half and take a 49-30 lead at the break. In the second half, the Bucs lead grew to as many as 29 points at 69-40 with 6:54 left in the game, before ETSU substituted its entire bench and the Bears took advantage by outscoring the Bucs 21-7 the rest of the way. ... Along with the offensive efforts of Sollazzo, Dubose and Brown, ETSU got a game-high 10 rebounds from junior forward Lukas Poderis (Port Richey, Fla.), while senior forward Tommy Hubbard (Boston) collected a game-high five steals. ETSU dished out 13 assists as a team, but did commit 16 turnovers. ... While Cecil led the Bears, Mercer also got 12 points from Shaquille Harris and 11 from Daniel Coursey. The Bears out-rebounded the Bucs 32-30 and collected 12 assists, but Mercer shot just 54 percent from the foul line.
Bucs lead nation in steals, Cooley ranks 12th
Key to the Bucs’ wins this year has been the ability to swipe the ball from opponents ... Through games of Jan. 2, ETSU ranks No. 1 in the country in steals per game, averaging 10.6 steals a contest ... In fact, in the Bucs’ last game, the team swiped 18 steals against James Madison (1/30) ... Meanwhile, junior Sheldon Cooley (Tampa) has been on a torrid pace this season and a big reason for the Bucs’ success in the steals category, averaging a conference best 2.5 steals per game ... He currently ranks 12th nationally in steals per game. ... The Bucs have four players ranked in the Top 10 among A-Sun Conference players in steals: Cooley (1st, 2.5), Tommy Hubbard (2nd, 2.0), Adam Sollazzo (5th, 1.8), and Isiah Brown (9th, 1.5).
Rembert breaks out
Freshman guard Rashawn Rembert (Tampa), who was recruited for his ability to score that basketball, came off the bench to provide valuable minutes in the Bucs’ win over Kennesaw State (2/4) ... Going a perfect 4-for-4 from the field and 3-for-3 from 3-point range, Rembert netted 11 points for ETSU during a critical stretch midway through the game ... Afterwards, head coach Murry Bartow commented how Rembert was probably the player of the 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 third on the all-time list at 173, but is just nine 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.
Sollazzo stepping up his offensive game
Senior point guard Adam Sollazzo (Tampa) has found a strong offensive rhythm in recent games ... In his last 18 games, Sollazzo has scored in double figures 16 times, eclipsing 20 points in five of those games ... Over that time frame, he has averaged 17.3 points, 4.4 assists, and 5.3 rebounds, and is shooting 47 percent from the floor. ... Sollazzo currently ranks first on the team in points (15.8 ppg) and assists (4.6 apg), and third in rebounds. (5.5 rpg).
Poderis reaches career mark for rebounds
In recent weeks, junior forward Lukas Poderis (Port Richey, Fla.) has become a truly valuable part of the Buccaneers attack ... In the win over Mercer, Poderis picked up a career high 10 rebounds, and that effort came two days after he matched his career high for points with 14 against USC Upstate ... In the win over Kennesaw State, he posted another nine-rebound effort ... For the year, Poderis is averaging 4.6 points and 4.6 rebounds in 20.7 minutes per game.
Bucs showing “flex”-ability with offense
In ETSU’s game against Appalachian State back on Dec. 10, the Bucs debuted a new offensive wrinkle, utilizing one of basketball’s most traditional offenses ... The “flex” is an offense that utilizes multiple screens and a great deal of slashing throughout the paint ... The results were good for the Bucs, who enjoyed several layups and dunks against the Mountaineers, as they won 65-48 to snap a four-game losing streak.
On their way to 1,000 points
As they began their seniors seasons, ETSU’s trio of Isiah Brown, Adam Sollazzo and Tommy Hubbard were all eying the 1,000 point mark for their careers. While Brown has now reached the mark, Hubbard and Sollazzo are still in the hunt. After the Bucs’ last game, here is where each stands:
Adam Sollazzo ................................................................ 916 points
Tommy Hubbard ........................................................... 805 points
To reach 1,000, the three would have to average for the season:
Adam Sollazzo............................................ 14.8 points per game
Tommy Hubbard....................................... 14.7 points per game
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. ... This season, after starting out the year shooting poorly from the foul line, the Bucs are have improved those numbers and are now shooting 63 percent for the year as a team.
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 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 and one CIT berth, 14 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 programs such as Virginia Tech, Notre Dame, DePaul, Bradley, Clemson, California and Florida State.