NASHVILLE (Feb. 8, 2014) – Looking to avenge a home loss in the final seconds earlier this year, the ETSU men’s basketball will face Atlantic Sun Conference foe Lipscomb Saturday afternoon inside Allen Arena at 5 p.m.
The game will air live on ESPN3.
This is a critical game for the Buccaneers (13-11 overall, 6-5 in A-Sun), who have won four of their last five contests, and hold a half-game lead over Lipscomb (11-12, 6-6) for fourth place in the league standings. It will also be the second time this year the Bucs have an opportunity to sweep a road trip after having dropped Northern Kentucky 64-50 on Thursday.
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 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. Lipscomb
The Bucs are 31-13 all-time against the Bisons, in a series that dates back to 1951 when both teams played at the NAIA level ... ETSU has won 12 of the last 19 meetings since joining the A-Sun, with five of those games going to overtime -- the Bucs are 4-1 in those overtime games ... The Bucs lost the last meeting 82-80 back on Jan. 9, 2014.
Last time out vs. Lipscomb
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Jan. 9, 2014) – Rallying from nine points down with just over two minutes left to tie the game at 80, the ETSU men’s basketball team could not get one more critical defensive stop when it was needed the most.... Lipscomb’s J.C. Hampton hit a game-winning basket with four seconds left on the clock and ETSU’s Jalen Riley (Racine, Wis.) missed a desperation jumper as time expired, giving the Bisons an 82-80 win over the Buccaneers in Atlantic Sun Conference play Thursday night at the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center. ... Lipscomb’s offensive play was the key to the game. Shooting 63 percent from the field in the second half and 58 percent from the floor for the game, the Bisons also went 11-of-22 from 3-point range on the night. Individually, the Bisons got a game-high 34 points from freshman guard Josh Williamson, while junior forward Martin Smith collected 21 points. ... While Williamson was the story of the game, Smith was the story of the first half. He went 6-of-8 from 3-point range and netted 18 of his 21 points before the break, helping the Bisons go 9-of-16 (56.3 percent) from beyond the arc as a team before the intermission. The Lipscomb lead ballooned to as many as 13 points in the first half, and the Bisons ultimately held a 42-32 advantage at halftime. ... In the second half, ETSU pulled to within two points at 47-45 and got to within three at 66-63, but eventually found itself in a nine-point hole at 79-70 with 2:26 left. At that point, the Bucs went on a 10-1 run to tie it at 80-80. ... For the Bucs, junior guard Rashawn Rembert (Tampa, Fla.) netted a team-high 24 points.
Last time out
HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. (Feb. 6, 2014) – Just when the ETSU men’s basketball team looked like it was “pressing” on offense, it was the Buccaneers’ pressing defense that led to a victory. ... By utilizing a full-court defense midway through the second half, a lethargic ETSU team found new life and overcame a seven-point deficit to drop Northern Kentucky 64-50 in Atlantic Sun Conference play Thursday evening at the Bank of Kentucky Center. ... The Bucs were led by junior guard Rashawn Rembert (Tampa, Fla.), who scored 12 of his game-high 20 points in the second half, as ETSU improved to 13-11 overall, 6-5 on the season. ... Along with Rembert, the Bucs got 16 points from junior guard Jalen Riley (Racine, Wisc.), while freshman guard A.J. Merriweather (Jackson) nearly posted a double-double with nine points and 11 rebounds on the night. The Bucs’ pressure kept NKU from being efficient on offense, as the Norse finished the game shooting 33 percent from the field. In addition, ETSU forced 11 turnovers on eight steals, and won the rebounding battle, 35-34. ... The story of the first half was the disappearance of ETSU’s offense midway through the first 20 minutes. After building a lead of 24-18 on a 3-pointer by Riley with the 8:05 mark, the Bucs did not score again and looked on as Northern Kentucky went on a 15-0 run to close out the half and lead 33-24 at the break. ... After the intermission, it took another two minutes of play before the Bucs finally broke NKU’s run with a layup by senior forward Kinard Gadsden-Gilliard (Georgetown, S.C.) with 17:40 left in the game. The Bucs still trailed by seven at 38-31, but at that point Bartow chose to let his team utilize their full-court defense and the result was a 12-2 run that put ETSU back on top at 43-40. ... From there, the press continued to do the job as the Bucs outscored NKU 21-10 the rest of the way.
Free throws key to ETSU victories this season
What a difference a year can make ... Last season, the Buccaneers struggled for consistency at the foul line, but this year has been a different story ... The Bucs currently lead the Atlantic Sun Conference with a 73 percent shooting clip from the charity stripe, and their numbers are also good enough to rank 31st in the country in free throws made as of Feb. 2 with 419, and in free throws attempted at 576 ... In fact, earlier this year the Bucs hit a remarkable 32-of-33 free throws in a single game, and they were 12-of-13 at the line against NKU (2/6).
Resurgent Wilson giving Bucs a lift on offense
Sophomore Lester Wilson (Knoxville) was expected to be a major offensive weapon for the Buccaneers this season, but only recently has the forward made his presence felt ... In three of the Bucs last four games -- from Jan. 25 to Feb. 2 -- Wilson averaged 15.3 points and 4.7 rebounds per game, shooting 54 percent from the field and from 3-point range ... He reached double figures in all three games, despite only reaching double figures once in the previous seven games ... By comparison, before his recent streak, Wilson had averaged 7.5 points and 2.6 rebounds per game on just 33 percent shooting from the field and 26 percent shooting from 3-point range.
Bartow gets win No. 300 overall and No. 200 at ETSU
ETSU head coach Murry Bartow won his 300th career game on Jan. 4 against Kennesaw State, and captured his 200th win on the ETSU bench on Jan. 25 against Jacksonville ... Bartow is the second winningest coach in program history, behind only legend Madison Brooks’ 370 victories for the Blue and Gold. In addition, 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 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, and currently ranks second this year with a 43 percent mark ... This year, he has shown a marked improvement in his style of offensive play, and currently leads the team with 15.7 points per contest ... He also leads the league in made 3-pointers with 2.8 per game ... In fact, his numbers are good enough to rank him nationally in both percentage and total makes from 3-point range (see NCAA list to the left).
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 (13-0) Losses (0-11)
ETSU scoring 81.4 PPG....................... 66.7 PPG
Opponent scoring 71.1 PPG........................ 78.9 PPG
Rebounding margin -1.0........................................ -7.9
Shooting % .472.................................... .387
3-pt. shooting % .395................................... .316
Assists 12.9 APG..................... 11.0 APG
Merriweather continues to shine, posts double-double
Freshman guard A.J. Merriweather (Jackson, Tenn.) has certainly made an impression this season, and he continued to make more news with his third career double-double in the win over Kennesaw State (1/4) ... In that game, Merriweather also netted a career high with 19 points, while grabbing 10 rebounds ... His current team ranks are first in rebounding (6.4 rpg), fourth in scoring (10.7 ppg), first in steals (1.4 spg), and third in minutes played (27.3 mpg). ... He followed that effort with a career high 20 points in the loss at Mercer (1/6).
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.
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 818 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.
Shuffling starters was the “new normal” for Bucs
Last season, ETSU head coach Murry Bartow used 17 different starting lineups in the team’s 33 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 17 of the last 19 games, with the team going 11-6 in those contests.
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.