KENNESAW, Ga. (Jan. 4, 2014) – Having won seven of its last nine games, the ETSU men’s basketball team will begin the hunt for an Atlantic Sun Conference regular season title Saturday at Kennesaw State.
The Buccaneers and Owls will tip off at noon inside the KSU Convocation Center.
ETSU enters the game at 7-6 overall on the season, which marks the first time since 2008-09 the Bucs have entered the new year with a winning record. In addition, ETSU head coach Murry Bartow will be looking for his 300th career victory on Saturday.
For more on this matchup, 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 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,
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. …
The series vs. Kennesaw State
The Bucs are 14-1 all-time against KSU, including a 79-70 win in their last game back on Feb. 14, 2013 ... ETSU has won 15 straight.
Last time out vs. Kennesaw State
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Feb. 14, 2013) – Sophomore forward John Walton (Memphis) scored a career high 23 points and the ETSU men’s basketball team led wire-to-wire in a 79-70 win over Kennesaw State at the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center. ... Along with Walton’s game-high 23, the Bucs also got 22 points from senior guard Jarvis Jones (Memphis), while sophomore guard Rashawn Rembert (Tampa) matched his career high with 18 points. The Bucs shot an impressive 53 percent from the floor and 48 percent from 3-point range in the victory. ... Walton was certainly the story of the game, but his play was particularly notable in the first half, as he eclipsed his previous career high in the opening 20 minutes by scoring 17 points on a perfect 6-of-6 from the field and 5-of-5 at the foul line. ... However, the Owls battled back to make it a 10-point game by halftime thanks to an 8-0 run of their own at the end of the half. Before the intermission, ETSU shot an impressive 63 percent from the floor and 50 percent from 3-point range, while forcing Kennesaw State into eight turnovers. ... After the break, the Owls got to within single digits on multiple occasions and actually made it a four-point contest at 51-47 with just over 12 minutes left in the game. The Bucs responded at that point with a 13-4 offensive run of their own to make it 64-51 with 8:08 remaining, and KSU never mounted a serious challenge from there.
Last time out
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Dec. 29, 2013) – The ETSU men’s basketball team capitalized on Valparaiso’s 18 first-half turnovers, building a 21-point halftime lead and ultimately picking up a 73-62 win over the Crusaders inside the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center. ... ETSU played its best all-around first half of the season, applying strong defensive pressure, shooting 50 percent from 3-point range, and hitting on 12-of-14 free throws to build a 42-21 lead at the break. The Crusaders did manage to rally and made it a seven-point contest at 60-53 with 5:17 left, but the Bucs made clutch shots late to seal the 11-point win. ...
The Bucs had four players reach double figures in the winning effort, led by a game-high 19 points from junior guard Jalen Riley (Racine, Wis.). In addition to Riley’s production, junior guard Rashawn Rembert (Tampa, Fla.) had 16 points, senior forward Kinard Gadsden-Gilliard (Georgetown, S.C.) added 13, and sophomore forward Lester Wilson (Knoxville) pitched in 10. ... Early on, the Bucs appeared poised to run away with the contest. After falling behind 4-0 in the early going, ETSU’s defensive pressure forced multiple Valpo turnovers, and despite getting out-rebounded 22-12 in the first half, the Bucs still enjoyed a 42-21 advantage at the break. ... However, after the intermission the Crusaders opened on a 14-2 offensive run to make it 44-35, and slowly picked away at the ETSU lead to draw to within seven at 60-53 with five minutes left. At that point, back-to-back 3-pointers by KGG and Rembert powered a 7-0 spurt, and the Bucs hit five foul shots down the stretch to end the Valpo threat.
Bartow closing in on 300 and 200
ETSU head coach Murry Bartow is just one win shy of 300 for his career, and just four 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 .582 winning percentage also ranks second in the modern era for the Bucs, behind only Alan LeForce’s .607 percentage.
Riley names A-Sun POTW after 19 points against Valpo
MACON, Ga. (Dec. 30, 2013) – Just a week after being named the Atlantic Sun Conference Newcomer of the Week, ETSU junior guard Jalen Riley (Racine, Wis.) has been named the league’s Player of the Week. ... The conference office announced Monday that Riley picked up the honor courtesy of his impressive performance in the Buccaneers’ 73-62 victory over Horizon League foe Valparaiso Sunday afternoon. In that contest, Riley registered a game-high 19 points and added four steals to his stat line, helping the Bucs force a decisive 24 Valpo turnovers. ... The win extended the Bucs’ home winning streak to six games and improved the team’s record to 7-6, the first time ETSU has been over .500 since the end of the 2011-12 season. In those victories, Riley has consistently stepped up his game, leading the Bucs in scoring in three of those past five games.
Rembert hoping to stay hot as A-Sun schedule 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 14.8 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 (7-0) Losses (0-6)
ETSU scoring 84.0 PPG....................... 65.7 PPG
Opponent scoring 73.3 PPG........................ 78.2 PPG
Rebounding margin +0.8.................................... -11.3
Shooting % .485.................................... .390
3-pt. shooting % .370................................... .296
Assists 13.0 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 (6.5 rpg), fourth in scoring (10.9 ppg), first in steals (1.6 spg), and third in minutes played (28.0 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.
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.
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 807 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 and ahead of Oakland.
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.