FORT MYERS, Fla. (Feb. 7, 2013) – With one month left in the regular season, the ETSU men’s basketball team will take yet another shot at winning back-to-back games when they visit Atlantic Sun Conference foe Florida Gulf Coast on Thursday night.
Tip is set for 7 p.m. inside Alico Arena and the game will air live on both the Buccaneer Sports Network and ASun.TV.
For the Bucs (7-17 overall, 5-6 A-Sun) are looking to build momentum heading into the league tournament at the first of March, and putting together a win streak would do just that – especially with a victory over the A-Sun’s first place team in FGCU. So far this season, all seven of the Bucs’ victories have been single wins.
ETSU will be counting on another strong performance from ETSU senior guard Jarvis Jones (Memphis), who carried the Bucs to an overtime win over Lipscomb last week thanks to a career high, 36-point performance. Jones was named the A-Sun Player of the Week for his efforts.
For more on Thursday’s game, read the game notes below or click the game notes 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. (Feb. 2, 2013) – After missing a game-tying layup on Thursday night against Northern Kentucky, a distraught Jarvis Jones (Memphis) said he was unable sleep after the game. Well, Jones should sleep like a baby after his performance Saturday afternoon. ... ETSU’s lone senior guard scored a career-high 36 points in a spectacular performance that included three straight made 3-pointers in overtime, lifting a short-handed ETSU men’s team past Atlantic Sun Conference rival Lipscomb 90-88 inside the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center. ... The Bisons, who dropped to 8-14 overall, 3-8 in A-Sun play, had an opportunity to tie the game at the buzzer in overtime, but Deonte Alexander’s shot missed the mark and the Bucs grabbed the rebound. With the win, ETSU improves to 7-17 overall, 5-6 in league play. ... The Buccaneers – who were without the services of junior forward Hunter Harris (Nashville) who is attending a family medical issue – trailed by as many as 10 points in the second half before going to their “white” full-court press with just over six minutes left in regulation. That defensive switch paid immediate dividends as ETSU produced a 14-4 run to tie the game at 74-74.
From there, both teams traded the lead four times before a Jones 3-pointer gave the Bucs a 79-77 edge with 17 seconds left. Alexander then tied it at 79 on a pair of free throws with eight seconds remaining, and later stole the ball from Jones with three seconds left on the clock only to miss a game-winning layup attempt at the buzzer. ... In overtime and already missing Hunter’s services, the Bucs were forced to play without three post players – junior Kinard Gadsden-Gilliard (Georgetown, S.C.), sophomore forward John Walton (Memphis) and freshman Lester Wilson (Knoxville) – all of whom fouled out during regulation. ETSU head coach Murry Bartow employed a group of guards at that point, which included Jones, sophomore Rashawn Rembert (Tampa), and freshmen Petey McClain (Mobile, Ala.), Mario Stramaglia (Birmingham, Ala.) and Yunio Barrueta (Miami, Fla.). ... That group – which did not have a player taller than 6-foot-4 – held its own against a much larger Lipscomb team in the final minutes and in overtime, ultimately helping the Bucs hold on. ... Along with Jones, the Bucs got 11 points each from Wilson, Rembert, Stramaglia and Walton. Meanwhile, Lipscomb had a team-high 21 points from Martin Smith, while his brother Malcolm Smith netted 18, Alexander finished with 16, and Stephen Hurt added 11.
The series versus Florida Gulf Coast
In a series that began in 2008, the Bucs own a 9-2 advantage in the all-time record books against FGCU ... ETSU’s last meeting with the Eagles came on Jan. 12, 2013, a 85-75 victory for the Bucs.
Last time out against Florida Gulf Coast
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Jan. 12, 2013) – Down 19 points to Florida Gulf Coast with 17 minutes left in the game, the ETSU men’s basketball team put five players on the floor – a group that included three freshmen, a sophomore and a senior. ... That quintet turned out to be a fantastic five. ... Led by a game-high 21 points from freshman forward Lester Wilson (Knoxville) and double figure scoring efforts courtesy of senior guard Jarvis Jones (Memphis), freshman guard Mario Stramaglia (Birmingham, Ala.) and freshman point guard Petey McClain (Mobile, Ala.), the Buccaneers overcame a 55-36 deficit to dramatically drop league-leading Florida Gulf Coast 85-75 in Atlantic Sun Conference action Saturday afternoon inside the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center. ... While Wilson led the way, Jones finished with 18 points, while Stramaglia and McClain pitched in 14 and 10, respectively. In addition, McClain dished out eight assists, while Stramaglia grabbed up five rebounds. Sophomore post John Walton (Memphis) was the fifth man in the fantastic five, finishing with eight points and five rebounds in 23 minutes of action. ... Indeed, it was as if the 2,446 fans inside the Dome were watching ETSU’s youngsters grow up in front of them. After FGCU (12-7 overall, 4-2 A-Sun) seemed to have their way offensively at every turn during the first 23 minutes of play, the Bucs began their comeback with a 14-2 run in which Wilson, McClain and Stramaglia scored every point. ... While FGCU responded with back-to-back 3-pointers to make it 63-50 with 11:05 remaining in the contest, the Bucs did not back down as Wilson again answered with a 3-pointer and sparked the Bucs to a 35-12 run to close out the game. ... The Eagles did manage to get to within four points at 79-75 and had possession of the ball with just under a minute remaining, but as the Eagles’ Bernard Thompson went up for an apparently open layup, Jones soared in at the last minute to block it away. Stramaglia picked up the loose ball and was fouled, subsequently hitting two free throws to basically ice the game. ... After shooting 53 percent in the first half and connecting on 56 percent of their shots from 3-point range, the Eagles shot just 34.5 percent from the field and 29 percent from 3-point range after the break.
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.
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. … In his most recent outing, Jones almost single-handedly won the game for the Bucs against Lipscomb, scoring a career high 36 points and hitting three straight 3-pointers in overtime -- including the game winner ... Since returning to the team in the middle of December, Jones has average a taem-best 16.5 points per game.
Rembert heating up from outside
Sophomore guard Rashawn Rembert (Tampa) has made the most of his increased playing time this season, having made a 3-pointer in 19 straight games and currently ranking fourth in the A-Sun in 3-point field goal percentage at 41 percent on the season ... In fact, he’s hit a 3-pointer in 20 straight games ... 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 counting the three games since that time, Rembert has made 37 3-pointers on the 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 15 different starting lineups in the team’s 24 games this season ... Injuries and dismissals have left the ETSU’s coaches searching for the right combination, as the team currently stands at 7-17.
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 ... This has been the case ... 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.
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 788 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.