JOHNSON CITY (Jan. 2, 2013) – When the ETSU men’s basketball team takes the floor Wednesday night against VCU, the Buccaneers hope a “new look” home floor and a New Year will result in a new outlook to its 2012-13 season.
Having lost seven straight games, the Bucs (2-10) will face their final non-conference opponent of the regular season Wednesday evening at 7 p.m., as they take on 2011 Final Four participant VCU inside the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center.
While the Bucs have struggled this year, the Atlantic 10 Conference's Rams enter the game at 10-3 overall and are on the verge of earning a spot in the nation’s Top 25 polls. Yet again this year, VCU relies on its “Havoc” fullcourt defense to roll over opponents, so the Bucs will have to find ways to break that pressure if they hope to have a successful start to the New Year.
For more on this matchup, read the game notes located below, or click on the game notebook link above. For more on ETSU men’s basketball throughout the 2012-13 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.
After several years of quality returning players and at least some level of certainty regarding what to expect heading into the winter months, the 2012-13 ETSU men’s basketball team will enter the new campaign with several questions and concerns. ... The loss of standout seniors such as Adam Sollazzo (Tampa), Isiah Brown (Miami, Fla.) and Tommy Hubbard (Boston) will be hard to overcome, considering that group combined for a total of 3,091 points in their careers ... A year ago, the Bucs enjoyed quality wins such as a road victory over Atlantic 10 Conference foe Charlotte, and finished with a respectable 17 victories on the season ... The team finished fourth in the Atlantic Sun Conference standings at 10-8, reaching the league tournament semifinals. ... This season, the Bucs’ top two returning starters were guards Sheldon Cooley (Tampa) and Marcus Dubose (Hartsville, S.C.), who both combined to score 19.7 points per game a year ago. ... However, both Cooley and Dubose have been dismissed from the team for violation of team rules and policies ... Along with those two, fellow guard Jarvis Jones (Memphis) and forward Lukas Poderis (Port Richey, Fla.) are the only other ETSU seniors to be returning after playing significant minutes last year, but Poderis is now lost for the season with a left foot injury and will be forced to redshirt, while Jones missed the first seven games of the year for academic reasons ... Jones returned against Ole Miss on Dec. 14 ... With so few returning, experienced players, ETSU will be looking to some unproven returning players, as well as a recruiting class that includes three incoming freshmen and a pair of junior college transfers, to come in and make an immediate impact. Sophomores Rashawn Rembert (Tampa) and John Walton (Memphis), along with redshirt freshman Lester Wilson (Knoxville) are expected to increase their production this year, while true freshmen guards Petey McClain (Mobile, Ala.), Mario Stramaglia (Birmingham, Ala.), and Yunio Barrueta (Miami, Fla.) will look to blossom into early contributors. ... On the interior, Walton will need help from junior college transfers Kinard Gadsden-Gilliard (Georgetown, S.C.) and Hunter Harris (Nashville).
Last time out
HONOLULU (Dec. 25, 2012) – Playing its third game in four days, the ETSU men’s basketball team got off to a fast start but things quickly faded as San Francisco pulled past the Bucs, 67-49, in the final game of the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic on Tuesday afternoon inside the Stan Sheriff Center. ... Once again Jarvis Jones (Memphis, Tenn.) led the Bucs by scoring a team-high 17 points on 7-of-15 shooting and dished out four of ETSU’s eight assists. Hunter Harris (Nashville, Tenn.) also scored in double figures by finishing with 11 points and seven rebounds, but was 1-for-7 at the free throw line. Overall, the Blue and Gold went 4-of-12 at the charity stripe for the game. ... Things looked promising for the Blue and Gold as ETSU got off to a hot start but play fizzled down the stretch, as San Francisco outscored the Bucs 20-7 in the final nine minutes of the first half to lead 32-21 at the break. ... ETSU hit on six of its first 10 shots to lead 14-12 after Harris knocked down a jumper, but things quickly unraveled in a hurry as the Dons mounted a 13-1 run to pull ahead 25-15 when Cole Dickerson scored two of his 13 first-half points with 5:31 left in the half. ... San Francisco eventually built a 32-18 advantage and carried an 11-point lead into the break. ... In the second half, the Bucs were able to cut their 11-point halftime deficit to eight on a lay-up by Jones, but that’s as close as ETSU would get. ... ETSU has now dropped seven straight and saw its mark dip to 2-10, while San Francisco pulled event at 6-6 on the season.
The series versus VCU
The Bucs and Rams have met nine times previously ... ETSU has never beaten VCU in those previous matchups ... The first game was played in 1971 and the last in 2001, which was a 79-71 defeat in Richmond, Va.
Last time against VCU
ETSU senior guard Dimeco Childress (Columbia, Tenn.) came just one point shy of a career high, scoring 29 points, but it was not enough to stop Virginia Commonwealth University, as the Rams defeated the Bucs 79-71 back on Nov. 21, 2001. ... VCU came out on a 12-2 run to start the game and led by as many as 13 (20-7) with 14:11 left in the first half. But the Bucs clawed back into the game, led almost single-handedly by Childress, who scored 21 points in the first half, hitting 8-of-12 shots from the floor and 4-of-6 from three-point range. ... The Bucs took the lead at 27-25 with 8:51 left in the half and entered the locker room with a 37-35 advantage. ... The score remained close throughout the first eight minutes of the second half before VCU went on a 9-0 run to go from two points down (46-44) to seven points up (53-46) at the 11:39 mark. ... The Buccaneers would get as close as four points (74-70) on a trey by Zakee Wadood (Lonoke, Ark.) with 1:43 left, but the Rams hit all five of their free throws in the final minute to seal the win.
New lighting system for the Mini-Dome
The game with VCU will mark a new look for the Buccaneers home court inside the ETSU/MSHA Atheltic Center ... Over the holiday break, a new lighting system and championship banners were installed inside the Dome, creating a more “basketball friendly” environment ... Along with the new LED digital boards along the floor, a renovated “Courtside Club” for donors, and the team’s new practice facility which was completed earlier this year, there have been over $1 million in basketball improvements made to the Dome this year alone.
Home Sweet Dome ... against non-conference teams
Since the 1996-97 season, the Buccaneers are an amazing 154-51 overall inside the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center, good for a winning percentage of 76 percent ... But when looking at the past 11 years, the Bucs are an even more impressive 47-7 against non-conference opponents ... Last year, the Bucs went 10-3 overall at the Dome and a perfect 4-0 against non-conference opponents.
Shuffling starters the “new normal” for Bucs
ETSU head coach Murry Bartow has used 10 different starting lineups in the team’s 12 games this season ... Injuries and dismissals have left the ETSU coaching staff searching for the right combination to start games, as the team currently stands 2-10 on the year.
Bartow atop list of second generation coaches
Murry Bartow’s coaching lineage is undeniable ... As the son of the late Gene Bartow, he had the fortunate opportunity to grow up learning from one of the most successful basketball coaches in college history ... Setting off on his own career, Bartow has carried on the tradition. ... His 181 wins at ETSU ranks second on the Bucs’ all-time list ... In addition, Bartow’s 284 career victories ranks No. 1 among second generation coaches ... Along with his father’s 647 career wins, the Bartow men have combined for 931 victories, ranking fourth on the all-time win list for Father/Son coaches.
Jones meeting expectations for Bucs
ETSU head coach Murry Bartow expected the return of senior guard Jarvis Jones (Memphis) would improve his team’s efforts on the offensive end of the floor … He was right. … After posting a career-high 21 points against No. 4 Arizona, followed by a team-high 14 against Hawaii and another team-best 17 against San Francisco, Jones is now averaging 15.2 points per game in his five outings since returning from academic probation against Ole Miss back on Dec. 14 … Jones was 6-of-6 from the foul line, dished out three assists, grabbed three steals and played just under 40 minutes in the loss to the Wildcats, while collecting five steals and five rebounds to go with his 14 points against the Rainbow Warriors ... Against San Francisco, he posted 17 points with 3-of-6 shooting from 3-point range, while dishing four assists and grabbing two steals.
ESPN names Wilson to nation’s Top 25 freshmen list
While circumstances have forced the ETSU men’s basketball team to struggle in the early going this season, talented redshirt freshman forward Lester Wilson (Knoxville) has still given the Buccaneers reason for hope. ... Wilson, who is averaging 15.5 points per game, was listed as one of the Top 25 freshmen in college basketball Thursday by ESPN hoops writer John Gasaway. The list – which included players such as UNLV’s Anthony Bennett, UCLA’s Jordan Adams, Michigan’s Nik Stauskas and Duke’s Rasheed Sulaimon – had Wilson ranked at No. 25. ... Currently the Atlantic Sun Conference’s third best scorer, Wilson has posted four 20-plus point games so far this season ... Of those contests, he scored a career high 27 points in the win over Milligan back on Nov. 29, after scoring 26 in the Bucs’ previous win over Charleston Southern on Nov. 20.
Talented Bucs still face obstacle with experience
At no time in the tenure of ETSU head coach Murry Bartow have the Buccaneers had less experience ... Currently, the team has nine players who are eligible and healthy enough to play, of that group there are only five total years of Division I experience ... On average, that’s less than a half year of experience per player ... With four freshmen and two junior college transfers that means 66 percent of the team is competing in their first season of Division I basketball.
Three-point streak for Bucs dates back nearly 20 years
Since Feb. 16, 1987 in a game against Davidson, the Bucs have made at least one 3-pointer in 776 consecutive games. ... ETSU was 0-for-8 in that 1987 game.
Bucs have tradition of postseason appearances, success
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
In 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 Bus -- who have enjoyed nine NCAA 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 team, as well as former SoCon rivals Appalachian State, Western Carolina, Georgia Southern and UNC Greensboro. In addition, at that time 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 Notre Dame, DePaul, Bradley, Clemson and Fla. State.