JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Dec. 29, 2013) – With only one more non-conference game left before opening Atlantic Sun Conference play at the start of the new year, the ETSU men’s basketball team will be aiming for its seventh win in nine games as the Buccaneers host Valparaiso Sunday afternoon.
Tip is set for 4 p.m. inside the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center.
This will be the first meeting ever between the Bucs (6-6) and Valparaiso (8-6), despite the fact both teams have strong tradition in men’s basketball with a total of 17 NCAA Tournament appearances – nine for ETSU and eight for Valpo.
Fans are encouraged to bring their children to games this year to take advantage of the special Sweet Frogs $5 kids’ ticket during men’s basketball games.
For more on the contest, read the game notes below or click on the game notebook link located on 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 University 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, Ole Miss, Virginia Tech, Georgia and Hawaii ... Other issues for the team included senior post Lukas Poderis (Port Richey, Fla.) missing the season with 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. …
The series vs. Valparaiso
This will be the first meeting between the Bucs and Valparaiso ... Both teams have strong men’s basketball traditions, with ETSU making nine trips to the NCAA Tournament all-time, while Valpo has eight trips to its credit.
Last time out
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Dec. 21, 2013) – Trailing 77-70 with five minutes left, the ETSU men’s basketball team put together a 14-0 offensive run and ultimately wrapped up a holiday gift for Buccaneers’ fans, dropping non-conference foe Austin Peay 84-79 Saturday afternoon inside the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center. ... With the win, ETSU enters the Christmas break with a 6-6 overall record, while the Governors drop to 5-8 on the year. ... The Bucs trailed by as many as 15 in the first half and were behind 50-37 at the break, having allowed Austin Peay to shoot 66 percent from the field and 57 percent from 3-point range before the intermission. However, ETSU responded by outscoring the Govs 47-29 in the second half, and held Austin Peay to just 34 percent shooting from the floor and 22 percent from beyond the arc in the final 20 minutes. ... The Bucs got a team-high 21 points from junior guard Rashawn Rembert (Tampa, Fla.), while fellow junior guard Jaley Riley (Racine, Wis.) pitched in 16 points. In addition, freshman guard A.J. Merriweather (Jackson) and senior forward Kinard Gadsden-Gilliard (Georgetown, S.C.) netted 14 points apiece. ... In the final five minutes, the Bucs got strong defensive efforts as well, as Gadsden-Gilliard, Rembert and senior post Lukas Poderis (Port Richey, Fla.) combined to block shots on three of five Austin Peay possessions. Those stops led to ETSU baskets on the other end. In fact, it was following Rembert’s block with 1:48 left that Poderis rebounded the ball and dished to Riley, who then found a cutting KGG, who hit his layup and was fouled, completing a traditional 3-point play to give the Bucs their first lead of the second half at 80-77. ... They would never relinquish that advantage. For the game, Austin Peay enjoyed a 38-30 advantage on the glass, but the Bucs grabbed 13 steals and forced 20 turnovers by the Governors. ETSU also ended the game with a 17-of-20 clip at the foul line (85 percent), and shot 47 percent from the field.
Bartow closing in on 300 and 200
ETSU head coach Murry Bartow is just two wins shy of 300 for his career, and just five wins away from No. 200 as head coach of the Buccaneers ... Bartow is the second winningest coach in program history, behind only legend Madison Brooks’ 370 victories for the Blue and Gold ... Bartow’s .580 winning percentage also ranks second in the modern era for the Bucs, behind only Alan LeForce’s .607 percentage.
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 ... Last season, Rembert ranked fourth in the A-Sun in 3-point field goal percentage at 39.7 percent for the year. ... This year, he has shown a marked improvement in his style of offensive play, and currently leads the team with 14.7 points per contest.
Difference between winning and losing for ETSU
Rebounding has been a particular indicator for the Bucs this season when it comes to wins and losses ... The statistics below show the differences for the Bucs is several important categories so far this season.
Statistical category Wins (6-0) Losses (0-6)
ETSU scoring 85.8 PPG.................. 65.7 PPG
Opponent scoring 75.2 PPG................. 78.2 PPG
Rebounding margin +3.7............................... -11.3
Shooting % .501.............................. .390
3-pt. shooting % .352.............................. .296
Assists 13.3 APG............... 10.8 APG
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 with his second career double-double in the win over Austin Peay (12/4) ... In that game, Merriweather had career highs with 18 points and 11 rebounds. ... He followed that performance with an 18-point, eight-rebound effort in the loss to Georgia Tech (12/7) ... The 6-2 guard collected his first career double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds earlier this year against Morehead State (Nov. 12) ... His current team ranks are first in rebounding (6.8 rpg), fourth in scoring (11.1 ppg), second in steals (1.3 spg), and third in minutes played (27.8 mpg).
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 ... KGG responded to that expectation by putting together a 19-point, seven-rebound and seven-assist outing against Marshall in an 88-78 victory on Nov. 30.
Riley named A-Sun Newcomer of the Week
MACON, Ga. (Dec. 23, 2013) – The Atlantic Sun Conference announced Monday that ETSU junior guard Jalen Riley (Racine, Wis.) has been named the league’s newcomer of the week. ... Riley registered a career-high 28 points in the Bucs’ blowout victory over Tusculum on Dec. 16, and continued his quality week with 16 points in ETSU’s comeback victory against Austin Peay on Dec. 21. The win over Austin Peay extended the team’s home winning streak to five games, and ETSU now sits at 6-6 on the year. ... On way to his first newcomer honor of the season, Riley averaged 22 points, 5.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game. He also collected a career-high seven rebounds and four assists in the win over Austin Peay.
Giplaye makes return following open heart surgery
Earlier this year, the Buccaneers got a serious scare when junior forward Ron Giplaye (Lowell, Mass.) had to undergo open heart surgery for a condition that was described as “life threatening.” ... Following the successful procedure, Giplaye has slowly regained his strength and was able to play two minutes against Tennessee Tech (11/27), marking his first competitive compeition since the 2011-12 season when he played at Providence. ... He then played five minutes in the loss to Georgia Tech (12/7), scoring his first two points in an ETSU uniform and grabbbing three rebounds.
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.
Shuffling starters was 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 ETSU’s coaches searching for the right combination all season. ... Bartow hoped to find more stability with his rotation in 2013-14, but he had used five different starting lineups in the first five games of the year. ... Since that time, he has played with the same starting lineup in seven of the last eight games, with the team going 6-2 in those contests.
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 806 consecutive games. ... ETSU was 0-for-8 in that 1987 game. ... The Bucs currently rank as the 7th longest streak in the NCAA, just behind Arkansas at 813 and ahead of Oakland at 780.
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.