NASHVILLE (Jan. 5, 2013) – With a rough non-conference schedule now behind it, the ETSU men's basketball team will take to the road to open Atlantic Sun Conference play Saturday evening at Lipscomb.
Tip time is set for 7:30 p.m. inside Allen Arena.
The Buccaneers (2-11) are hoping to snap an eight-game losing streak, which dates back to Dec. 5. Since joining the A-Sun back in 2005-06, the Bucs are 11-5 again Lipscomb.
For more on Saturday’s game, read the game notes below or click on the game notebook link. 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
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Jan. 2, 2013) – It was a record-setting night inside the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center. Unfortunately for the home standing ETSU Buccaneers, it was visiting VCU that was rewriting history. ... On a night when ETSU athletics unveiled a “new look” Dome with an overhead lighting system and refurbished championship banners, VCU guard Troy Daniels shot the lights out with an Atlantic 10 Conference record 11 three pointers on his way to a career high 33 points, leading the Rams past ETSU 109-58 Wednesday night in men’s non-conference basketball action. ... The Rams’ 109 points was the highest offensive total ever by an ETSU opponent inside the Dome, and it was the first time since the 2007 season that the Bucs have suffered a loss of 50 points or more. ... Daniels – who also matched the Dome record for 3-pointers in a game which was originally set by Belmont’s Josh Goodwin during the 2005-06 season – was joined in double figures by teammates Treveon Graham with 19 points, Juvonte Reddic with 14, and Melvin Johnson with 10. ... The Bucs got a team-high 14 points from freshman forward Lester Wilson (Knoxville), as well as 11 points each from sophomores John Walton (Memphis) and Rashawn Rembert (Tampa, Fla.) in the losing effort. ... Trailing 19-10 midway through the first half, ETSU looked on as VCU (11-3) built a lead of 20 points at 51-31 by halftime. In the second half, it was an early 8-0 run and a 22-3 burst later on that ultimately led to the final 51-point margin. ... VCU dominated statistically, out-rebounding the Bucs 52-23 and forcing 24 ETSU turnovers on 14 steals, while shooting 55 percent from the floor and 47 percent from 3-point range. In the paint, the Rams owned a 36-12 advantage, and outscored the Bucs 33-12 off turnovers.
The series versus Lipscomb
The Bucs are 30-11 all-time against the Bisons, in a series that dates back to 1951 when both teams played at the NAIA level ... ETSU has won 11 of the last 16 meetings since joining the A-Sun, with four of those games going to overtime -- the Bucs are 3-1 in those overtime games ... ETSU won the last meeting 66-57 back on Feb. 20, 2012.
Last time against Lipscomb
NASHVILLE (Feb. 20, 2012) – Junior guard Marcus Dubose (Hartsville, S.C.) hit a decisive 3-pointer with 33 seconds left on the clock and the ETSU men’s basketball team scored the final seven points of the game to drop Lipscomb 66-57 in Atlantic Sun Conference men’s basketball action inside Allen Arena. ... The Bucs were led offensively by a trio of players. Senior forward Isiah Brown (Miami, Fla.) finished with a double-double thanks to his 19-point, 11-rebound effort. Meanwhile, junior guard Sheldon Cooley (Tampa) scored 17 points to go with four assists and three steals, and Dubose finished with 16 points thanks to a 4-of-7 shooting night from 3-point range. ... In the first half, ETSU opened the scoring with seven straight points, but watched as Lipscomb battled back to tie the game at 11-11. From there, ETSU used an 8-0 run to go up 19-11, and later used another 7-0 spurt to ultimately lead 26-17 at the break. ... Brown led the way for ETSU in the early going with 11 points, while the Bucs’ defense forced 10 Lipscomb turnovers and picked up six steals in the first 20 minutes. ... The Bucs lost senior guard Tommy Hubbard (Boston) early in the game, as he went up to steal a pass and collided with Lipscomb’s Deonte Alexander. On the play, Hubbard lost his balance and fell hard, hitting his head on the floor before landing on his back. ... Hubbard was conscious following the play and went to the training room for tests, but he missed the rest of the contest and will be evaluated further in the coming days. ... After the break, ETSU led by as many as 13 after scoring the first four points of the half. However, Lipscomb battled back over the next 16 minutes to make it 56-54 with 2:58 left on the clock. ... From there, Lipscomb stayed within two at 59-57, but at that point, Dubose sank his fourth 3-pointer of the game as the shot clock wound down to make it 62-57 with 33.3 seconds left in the contest.
New lighting system for the Mini-Dome
The game with VCU marked 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.
Shuffling starters the “new normal” for Bucs
ETSU head coach Murry Bartow has used 11 different starting lineups in the team’s 13 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 2-11 on the year.
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 13.8 points per game in his six 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 15.4 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.
Buccaneers 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 10 players who are eligible and healthy enough to play, and of that group there are only six 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 777 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.