JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Jan. 26, 2013) – For the fourth time this season in Atlantic Sun Conference play, the ETSU men’s basketball team will be looking to bounce back with a victory to even up their league record when the Buccaneers host North Florida Saturday afternoon.
Tip inside the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center is set for 4 p.m.
The Bucs (5-15 overall, 3-4 A-Sun) are still in the thick of the hunt for the A-Sun regular season title, but have unfortunately been on the losing end of several close games, including three contest they have lost by a total of just nine points.
Typically a strong homecourt team, the Bucs are an uncharacteristic 2-5 at home this season.
For more on Saturday’s matchup, read the game notes 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 entered this 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 has looked 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) have increased their production this year, while true freshmen guards Petey McClain (Mobile, Ala.), Mario Stramaglia (Birmingham, Ala.), and Yunio Barrueta (Miami, Fla.) are blossoming into early contributors. ... On the interior, Walton has been getting help from junior college transfers Kinard Gadsden-Gilliard (Georgetown, S.C.) and Hunter Harris (Nashville).
Last time out
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Jan. 24, 2013) – In a game that featured two teams putting on an offensive clinic, the ETSU men’s basketball team’s second half rally came up short as the Jacksonville Dolphins enjoyed an 83-80 win over the Buccaneers in Atlantic Sun Conference play inside the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center. ... With the loss, the Bucs dropped to 5-15 overall, 3-4 in A-Sun play, while Jacksonville improved to 11-10, 6-2. ... Trailing 65-52 with just under 12 minutes left in the game, the Buccaneers battled back to regain the advantage at 76-75 with less than two minutes left in the game. However, JU outscored the Bucs 8-4 the rest of the way, and a desperation 3-point attempt by ETSU freshman forward Lester Wilson (Knoxville) missed the mark as time expired. ... ETSU led by as many as 11 points in the first half, as the Bucs shot 54 percent from the floor and 50 percent from 3-point range in the opening 20 minutes. However, at that point Jacksonville combined to finish the first half on a 14-5 run and then opened the second half on another 23-6 burst to build its 13-point second half advantage. ... The Bucs then outscored JU 24-10 over the next 10 minutes and took the lead 76-75 on senior guard Jarvis Jones’ (Memphis) 3-pointer with 1:56 left in the game. But in the end, it wasn’t enough. ... For ETSU, the Bucs placed four players in double figures, with Wilson scoring a team-high 19 points, while junior forward Kinard Gadsden-Gilliard (Georgetown, S.C.) pitched in a double-double effort with 15 points and 10 rebounds. In addition, sophomore guard Rashawn Rembert (Tampa) scored 17 points and Jones finished with 15.
The series versus North Florida
ETSU and North Florida have met 15 times, with ETSU leading the all-time series 14-1 ... UNF picked up their first and only win over ETSU in the semifinals of last season’s A-Sun Tournament, dropping the Bucs 59-55 ... The Bucs avenged that loss with three straight wins over the Ospreys a year ago.
Last time out versus North Florida
MACON, Ga. (March 1, 2012) – Senior Isiah Brown (Miami, Fla.) scored a game-high 22 points and broke the ETSU all-time record for blocked shots on a critical play with 57 seconds left, lifting the ETSU men’s basketball team to a 68-66 win over North Florida during first round play at the General Shale Brick Atlantic Sun Conference Championships inside Mercer’s University Center. ... Brown was joined in double figures by junior guard Marcus Dubose (Hartsville, S.C.) with 13 points, while seniors Adam Sollazzo (Tampa) and Tommy Hubbard (Boston) pitched in 13 and 11, respectively. ... In a game that ETSU led most of the way, the Bucs still never led by more than seven points. It led to some nerve-racking final moments. ... After tying the record of 182 career blocks held by former ETSU standout Zakee Wadood (Lonoke, Ark.) by stuffing a shot earlier in the game, Brown denied a 3-point attempt by UNF sharp-shooter Parker Smith in the final minute and the Bucs leading 66-64. On that play, Dubose (Hartsville, S.C.) later stole the ball and scored a lay-up to make it 68-64. .. From there, UNF later made it 68-66 and after a missed free throw by Dubose, the Ospreys had one final opportunity to tie or win the game. Instead, ETSU’s defense swarmed over UNF and held for the final 22 seconds. The only opportunity UNF managed was a long, desperation shot by Smith as time expired.
Rembert heating up from outside
Sophomore guard Rashawn Rembert (Tampa) has made the most of his increased playing time this season, and against Jacksonville he gave ETSU’s coaches even more reason to utilize him ... Hitting on 5-of-7 attempts from 3-point range against the Dolphins, Rembert is now hitting on 41 percent of his 3-point attempts for the season and has connected 31 times from outside this year ... He now ranks second in the A-Sun behind UNF’s Parker Smith for 3-point field goal percentage.
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.
Home Sweet Dome ... not so sweet in 2012-13
Since the 1996-97 season, the Buccaneers are an amazing 155-54 overall inside the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center, good for a winning percentage of 75 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 ... However, this season the Bucs are just 2-5 in the Dome so far.
Young 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 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.
Shuffling starters the “new normal” for Bucs
ETSU head coach Murry Bartow has used 14 different starting lineups in the team’s 20 games this season ... Injuries and dismissals have left the ETSU’s coaches searching for the right combination, as the team currently stands at 5-15.
Freshmen trio shine in win over FGCU
When Florida Gulf Coast built a 19-point lead over the Bucs back on Jan. 12, few would have thought a youthful ETSU team could pull off the victory ... However, a freshman trio that included redshirt freshman Lester Wilson (Knoxville), and true freshmen Petey McClain (Mobile, Ala.) and Mario Stramaglia (Birmingham, Ala.) had a different plan ... Helping power an ETSU comeback, the young Bucs ultimately came back and won 85-75 ... Wilson finished the game with a game-high 21 points, while McClain pitched in 10 points and eight assists at the point position, and Stramaglia came off the bench to score 14 points and grab five rebounds ... The question for ETSU fans is whether these youngters can continue to grow and become more consistent.
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. ... KGG has followed that game up with better performances, including another career night against Jacksonville (1/24), as he posted a double-double and set personal bests for points (15), rebounds (10), free throws made (8), assists (5) and minutes played (40).
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 14.2 points per game since returning from academic probation against Ole Miss back on Dec. 14. ... Jones is currently second on the team in scoring.
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 15.3 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 six 20-plus point games so far this season.
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 784 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.