JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Jan. 31, 2013) – Returning to the familiarity of the Dome, the ETSU men’s basketball team will play back-to-back Atlantic Sun Conference games this weekend, beginning with a visit from Northern Kentucky Thursday evening.
Tip between the Buccaneers and the Norse is set for 7 p.m. inside the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center.
The Bucs (6-16, 4-5 A-Sun) need a victory to get back in the race for the A-Sun regular season title. Currently, ETSU sits two games back of five teams that are tied for the league lead at 6-3.
For more on Thursday's game, 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
SPARTANBURG, S.C. (Jan. 28, 2013) – In a reverse of the ETSU men’s basketball team’s normal trend this season, the Buccaneers played a strong first half only to see things unravel after the intermission Monday evening against USC Upstate. ... Despite leading 34-33 at the break, ETSU looked on as the Spartans put together a 13-2 run to open the second half and ultimately scored 55 points after the break to pull away with an 88-71 victory in Atlantic Sun Conference play at the Hodge Center. ... For the game, the Spartans shot 53 percent – which included a 62 percent clip in the second half. USC Upstate’s junior forward Torrey Craig led the Spartans’ offensive attack with a game-high 23 points, while three other Spartans’ reached double figures. ... Meanwhile, the Bucs committed 17 turnovers in the game and was outscored 30-18 in the paint. ... After struggling in the first half during recent games, the Bucs actually got off to a much better start against the Spartans. ETSU led by as many as six in the first half and ultimately held a 34-33 edge at the break. ... Unfortunately for the Bucs, the second half was a different story. Upstate came out with a better offensive attack and quickly used a 13-2 run powered by seven points from junior forward Jodd Maxey to build a 10-point lead at 46-36. The lead swelled to 12 before ETSU’s comeback tendencies returned. ... The Bucs answered with a 9-2 run to make it 61-56, but that would be as close as ETSU could get the rest of the way.
The series versus Northern Kentucky
This is just the second meeting ever between the Bucs and the Norse ... ETSU won the first game at NKU 49-44 back on
Last time out versus USC Upstate
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. ... 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.
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 14.8 points per game since returning from academic probation against Ole Miss back on Dec. 14. ... Jones is currently second on the team in scoring.
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 and then going 2-of-4 from outside against UNF, Rembert is now hitting on 41 percent of his 3-point attempts for the season and has connected 35 times from outside this year ... He now ranks second in the A-Sun behind UNF’s Parker Smith for 3-point field goal percentage.
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 5-16.
McClain a “key” to success for ETSU’s offense
When freshman point guard Petey McClain (Mobile, Ala.) missed several games early in the year with ankle injuries, ETSU’s coaching staff kept pointing out how much better the Bucs’ offense would be when he returned ... They were right ... As an example, McClain dished out eight assists and did not commit a turnover in the win over North Florida (1/26), and helped the Bucs to a season high 56 points in the second half against the Ospreys ... In that game, McClain also pitched in seven points.
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.
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 a pair of double-double efforts in recent games, posting career highs for points (16) and rebounds (11) against USC Upstate (1/28), as well as another double-double effort against Jacksonville (1/24).
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 786 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.