JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Jan. 10, 2013) – Fresh off its first Atlantic Sun Conference win of the year, the ETSU men’s basketball team will be aiming for a second straight victory Thursday night when the Buccaneers host league foe Stetson inside the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center.
Tip time against the Hatters is set for 7 p.m.
This will be the first of two A-Sun contests in the Dome this week, as the Bucs will also host Florida Gulf Coast at 4 p.m. on Saturday. While it’s early on in the conference season, both games are critical to any hopes the Bucs have of competing for a league title this season.
For more on Thursday’s matchup, read the game notes below or click 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
HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. (Jan. 7, 2013) – The streak is over. ... Getting a 12-point, five-rebound effort from junior forward Hunter Harris (Nashville), the ETSU men’s basketball team snapped its nine-game losing streak by holding off a late rally from Northern Kentucky to win 49-44 Monday evening in Atlantic Sun Conference play at the Bank of Kentucky Center. ... ETSU (3-12 overall, 1-1 A-Sun) played one of its best statistic games of the year, shooting 46 percent from the floor and out-rebounding the Norse 30-23. The Buccaneers also outscored NKU 20-8 in the paint and 14-3 off turnovers, and held the Norse to a 35 percent shooting clip. ... Harris was joined in double figures by senior guard Jarvis Jones (Memphis) with 12 points, while freshman Lester Wilson (Knoxville) pitched in 11. Jones also picked up a game-high four steals in 33 minutes of action. ... The Bucs played their best first half of the season, shooting 55 percent from the floor and out-rebounding NKU 14-10 to build a lead of 26-20 at the break. In the first half, the Bucs pounded the ball inside and outscored the Norse 16-2 in the paint, while also besting Northern Kentucky 10-2 in points off turnovers. ... ETSU led by as many as nine at 20-11, getting a team-high eight points from Wilson before the intermission. ... After the break, ETSU basically maintained a lead of between six and nine points most of the way, but NKU put together an 8-4 run in the final six minutes to get to within three points at 47-44 with 34.4 seconds left in the game. ... The Norse took a shot with 13.9 seconds remaining at got the offensive rebound, but after a timeout, their inbound pass missed the mark and was intercepted by ETSU senior guard Jarvis Jones (Memphis). Jones hit both free throws to make it 49-44 with 11.6 left and iced the game from there. ... Amazingly, the Bucs won despite not scoring a field goal over the final 10 minutes of the contest. All of ETSU’s seven points during that time came from the foul line. ... For NKU, Eshaunte Jones led the way in a losing effort with a game-high 18 points.
The series versus Stetson
ETSU has faced the Hatters 17 times and the Bucs hold a 10-7 advantage in the series ... The Bucs won the last meeting 72-56 back on Feb. 23, 2012.
Last time out versus Stetson
JOHNSON CITY (Feb. 23, 2012) – Placing three players in double figures and holding Stetson’s high-powered offense to just 56 points, the ETSU men’s basketball team picked up its second straight win and cruised to a 72-56 victory over the Hatters Thursday evening in Atlantic Sun Conference play at the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center. ... Senior forward Isiah Brown (Miami, Fla.) scored a game-high 22 points to lead the Buccaneers’ offensive attack, while senior guard Adam Sollazzo (Tampa, Fla.) and junior guard Marcus Dubose (Hartsville, S.C.) pitched in 19 and 15 points, respectively. Meanwhile, the Bucs’ defense held Stetson to 39 percent shooting and forced 13 Hatter turnovers. ... The distractions were obvious, and the absence of those players did not go unnoticed. The Buccaneers, who improved to 15-13 overall, 9-8 in A-Sun action, were without the services of senior guard Tommy Hubbard (Boston) and junior guard Sheldon Cooley (Tampa). ... Hubbard sat out for precautionary reasons after hitting his head during a fall in the win over Lipscomb Monday night, while Cooley is now suspended indefinitely from the team following his arrest Thursday for filing a false police report. Cooley, who was not at the scene of an especially aggravated burglary that occurred inside his residence at BucRidge on Tuesday, Feb. 21, reported to police that $1,300 in cash belonging to him was taken by the intruders. ... Even without those two key contributors, the Bucs rolled throughout the game, trailing only momentarily in the opening minutes and ultimately leading by as many as 14 points in the first half. ... After the break, ETSU opened with an 11-2 run to make it 40-21. From there, Stetson managed to make it a 10-point contest 10:35 left in the game, but the Bucs regrouped to put together a 12-3 run, laying to rest any chance of a Hatter rally.
Bucs off to toughest start since 1975-76
ETSU has enjoyed its share of success over the last three-plus decades, but the 2012-13 season has been a tough one so far for the Bucs ... With a win Monday at Northern Kentucky, the Bucs snapped a nine-game losing streak and moved to 3-12 on the season ... prior to that win, ETSU was off to the worst start for the program since the 1975-76 team began the year at 2-13 ... That 1975-76 team and the 1964-65 squad both hold the record for fewest wins by an ETSU team in the modern era, as both finished their seasons with just six wins.
Home Sweet Dome
Since the 1996-97 season, the Buccaneers are an amazing 154-52 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 47-8 against non-conference opponents ... Last year, the Bucs went 10-3 overall at the Dome and a perfect 4-0 against non-conference opponents.
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 13 different starting lineups in the team’s 15 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 3-12 on the year.
Gadsden-Gilliard shows signs of production
Early in the season, ETSU coaches spoke openly about the potential junior transfer Kinard Gadsden-Gilliard (Georgetown, S.C.) to produce quality numbers ... Thirteen games into the season KGG had struggled to meet those predictions, but that changed against Lipscomb (1/5) ... Setting or matching personal bests for points (13), rebounds (7), assists (3) and free throws (3) in 30 minutes of action, KGG played arguably his best game of the season so far.
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 13.3 points per game in his eight outings since returning from academic probation against Ole Miss back on Dec. 14.
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 15.1 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. ... Wilson has posted four 20-plus point games so far this season.
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 779 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.