JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Nov. 23, 2013) – The ETSU men’s basketball team will try to keep its good fortune going inside the Freedom Hall Civic Center when the Buccaneers host Stephen F. Austin Saturday afternoon in the second of three games scheduled for the First Bank and Trust Roundball Showcase.
Tip is set for 4 p.m. inside Freedom Hall.
The Bucs (1-4) are coming off an 89-75 victory over Samford on Thursday night, while Stephen F. Austin (3-1) defeated Marshall in overtime that same evening. This will be the first meeting ever between the Bucs and Lumberjacks.
For more on Saturday’s game, read the game notes below or click on the game notebook link to the right. For more on ETSU men’s basketball throughout the 2013-14 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.
The ETSU men’s basketball program was glad to see the 2012-13 campaign come to an end, following a season which saw the team face multiple obstacles and challenges -- such as a brutal schedule that featured the likes of North Carolina, Arizona,
Virginia Tech, Georgia and Hawaii ... Other issues for the team included senior post Lukas Poderis (Port Richey, Fla.) missing the
ankle injury that he suffered in
the preseason, senior guard Jarvis Jones (Memphis) being academically ineligible for the first two months of the year, and two other senior guards who were expected to be major contributors were dismissed from the team in early November for violations of team rules … This left head coach Murry Bartow and his coaching staff with a young, inexperienced group of underclassmen, several true freshmen, one redshirt freshman and a pair of junior college transfers … Those obstacles proved to be tough to overcome, as the Buccaneers posted a 10-22 record and finished 8-10 in Atlantic Sun Conference play … It was the toughest campaign in Bartow’s 10 seasons at ETSU, a tenure that has produced many championships, postseason tournament appearances and 20-win campaigns … In all, Bartow’s teams have earned three NCAA Tournament invitations (2004, 2009 and 2010), one NIT appearance (2007), and one CIT berth (2011), and the Bucs have eclipsed 20 wins five times. … This year, the Bucs will once again take to the floor with a young squad made up of several new faces … In fact, despite the return of the 6-fooot-9 Poderis, the Bucs have just five players back this season who played significant minutes a year ago.
The Bucs return to Freedom Hall
Over the next week and a half, the ETSU men’s basketball team will play three games inside Johnson City’s Freedom Hall as part of the First Bank and Trust Company Roundball Showcase ... The Bucs will play Samford (Nov. 21), Stephen F. Austin (Nov. 23) and Marshall (Nov. 30) at the facility, and the women’s team will play one game against Morehead State as part of a doubleheader on Dec. 21.
The series vs. Stephen F. Austin
This will be the first meeting ever between ETSU and Stephen F. Austin.
Last time out
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Nov. 21, 2013) – A change of scenery turned out to be just what was needed for the ETSU men’s basketball team. ... Playing a “home game” inside Freedom Hall Civic Center for the first time in 12 years as part of the First Bank and Trust Company Rounball Showcase, senior forward Kinard Gadsden-Gilliard (Georgetown, S.C.) collected a double-double performance and sophomore forward Lester Wilson (Knoxville) netted a team-high 20 points as the Buccaneers overcame a second-half deficit to defeat non-conference foe Samford 89-75 Thursday evening. ... The Bucs – who scored their most points in a game since a 90-88 win over Lipscomb back on Feb. 2, 2013 – got 18 points and a career-high 12 rebounds from Gadsden-Gillard, along with double-figure scoring nights from Wilson with 20, junior guard Jalen Riley (Racine, Wisc.) with 16, freshman guard A.J. Merriweather (Jackson) with 15, and junior guard Rashawn Rembert (Tampa, Fla.) with 13. ... As a team, ETSU shot 50 percent from the field and out-rebounded the Bulldogs, 41-28, including a 13-7 advantage on the offensive glass. The Bucs also committed just nine turnovers in the game. ... ETSU’s bench also outscored Samford’s reserves 42-11, and the Bucs held a 17-5 advantage in second-chance points. ... Despite those quality numbers, the Bucs actually trailed much of the game and found themselves down 54-47 with 13:15 left in the contest. However, at that point it was not only the offensive play of the team, but the defensive and rebounding efforts of Merriweather and senior post Lukas Poderis (Port Richey, Fla.) that helped change the momentum. ... Poderis, who finished with nine boards and six rebounds in the game, also had a pair of blocks that sparked the Bucs and led to a 16-2 run that made the game 63-56 in favor of ETSU with less than eight minutes left in the contest.
All-around effort by Gadsden-Gilliard impressive
Setting new personal bests with 12 rebounds and six assists in the win over Samford (11/21), senior forward Kinard Gadsden-Gilliard (Georgetown, S.C.) had people thinking “triple-double” when he added an 18-point effort to his statistical line ... The Bucs hope that KGG can make these types of efforts more consistent ... So far this year, KGG has games of 31, 18 and 16 points, to go along with outings of just two and four points of output.
Merriweather continues to shine, posts double-double
Freshman guard A.J. Merriweather (Jackson, Tenn.) has certainly made an impression in the early going this season, and he continued to make more news against Morehead State (11/12) ... The 6-2 guard collected his first career double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds, to go along with a pair of assists, a block and a steal in 35 minutes of play ... His current team ranks are first in rebounding (7.2 rpg) and second in steals (1.2 spg), fifth in scoring (9.4 ppg), and third in minutes played (27.8).
Bucs improve defensively, but inside game struggling
A year ago, ETSU allowed teams to shoot a high percentrage from the field and from the 3-point line ... This year, ETSU’s defensive efforts have paid off as the Bucs have held teams to just 41 percent shooting from the field and 31 percent from 3-point range ... However, as the Bucs have improved on the perimeter, the team has struggled in the paint ... Currently, ETSU’s rebound margin is -5.2, and the Bucs have been out-rebounded by a total of 197-171 ... Those numbers have led to more second chance points for opponents and the reason for two close losses for the team.
KGG, Merriweather enjoy strong debuts at Charlotte
With his career-high, 31-point effort in the loss at Charlotte (11/8), senior forward Kinard Gadsden-Gilliard (Georgetown, S.C.) certainly made an impression on those inside Halton Arena. ... Along with KGG’s showing, freshman A.J. Merriweather (Jackson, Tenn.) did not shy away from the challenge of his first college game and the assignment of defending Charlotte guard Pierria Henry ... While KGG finished with career bests for points (31), field goals made (10) and 3-pointers made (4), Merriweather finished with 10 points to go along with team highs for rebounds (7) and steals (3) in 29 minutes of play.
Young Bucs still face obstacles with experience
The last two seasons, ETSU head coach Murry Bartow has faced the challenge of developing a roster with minimal experience ... As the 2013-14 Buccaneers begin play, Bartow is once again looking at a team with several new faces and limited playing time ... In all, the Bucs return just six players who saw time on the floor last sesaon, while there are a total of seven newcomers to the program ... When counting the entire 15-man roster, the Bucs have a total of just 11 varsity seasons between the team for an average of less than a season per player ... The most experienced player on the team is fifth-year senior Lukas Poderis (Port Richey, Fla.), but he is returning from an injury which made him miss the entire 2012-13 campaign.
Shuffling starters the “new normal” for Bucs
Last season, ETSU head coach Murry Bartow used 17 different starting lineups in the team’s 32 games ... Injuries and dismissals left the ETSU’s coaches searching for the right combination all season. ... Bartow hoped to find more stability with his rotation in 2013-14, however he has now used five different starting lineups in five games so far this season.
Rembert hoping to stay hot as 2013-14 season begins
Junior guard Rashawn Rembert (Tampa) has made the most of his increased playing time over the last two seasons, having made a 3-pointer in 34 straight games dating back to last season ... Last season, Rembert ranked fourth in the A-Sun in 3-point field goal percentage at 39.7 percent for the year. ... This year, Rembert has shown signs of expanding his offensive productivity, as he averaged 21.0 points per game in the Bucs’ exhibitions against Milligan (10/29) and Mars Hill (11/2) ... In fact, he put up a stunning 33 points on nine made 3-pointers in the win over Milligan.
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.
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 799 consecutive games. ... ETSU was 0-for-8 in that 1987 game.
ESPN names Wilson to nation’s Top 25 freshmen list
While circumstances forced the ETSU men’s basketball team to struggle last season, talented redshirt freshman forward Lester Wilson (Knoxville) gave the Buccaneers reason for hope. ... Wilson, who is averaged 13.0 points per game, was listed as one of the Top 25 freshmen in college basketball 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.
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 Bucs -- 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.