Bucs prepare to face OVC favorite Murray State
Friday, December 11, 2009

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Dec. 12, 2009) -- Hoping to keep its perfect home record intact, the ETSU men's basketball will play host to Ohio Valley Conference preseason favorite Murray State Saturday afternoon at 4 p.m. inside the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center.

The Buccaneers (5-5) are coming off a unexpectedly tough 75-71 win over North Georgia Thursday evening as part of the special "Back to Brooks" game at Brooks Gym. However, no matter the margin of victory, the Bucs have still find themselves at .500 on the year despite a brutally tough early season slate, and the team is 4-0 this season in Johnson City.

Juniors Tommy Hubbard (Boston) and Justin Tubbs (Trussville, Ala.) continue to lead the Bucs, with both players averaging 15.6 points per game. Those two have raised their level of play, as the status of preseason All Atlantic Sun pick Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.) remains in doubt. The senior guard has participated in just four of the team's 10 games this season.

For more on Saturday's game, click on the game notebook link above, or read the game notes below.


Buc bits

The ETSU men's basketball team puts its perfect 4-0 record at home on the line Saturday as the Buccaneers host Ohio Valley Conference favorite Murray State ... The Bucs have won four of their last six games, including wins over SEC foe Arkansas on the road, 94-85, and the team's first conference win over the year 82-56 over North Florida ... The Bucs (5-5), who are 4-0 at home and 1-5 on the road this season ... Preseason All Atlantic Sun Conference pick Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.) remains questionable  for the Murray State game after missing the North Georgia game, even though he has played in just four games this sesaon, he most recently posted a 14-point effort in the loss at UAB ... In Smith's absence, junior forward Tommy Hubbard (Boston) and junior guard Justin Tubbs (Trussville, Ala.) have stepped up their games … In fact, Hubbard has posted double-doubles in six of his last nine games, which led his selection as A-Sun player of the week on Nov. 30 ... that week included a career best 32-point effort against the Razorbacks and a game-high 25-point effort in the victory over UNF ... Meanwhile, Tubbs posted a career best 29 points against CofC and 21 against Arkansas, to go with nine rebounds ... Currently, Hubbard and Tubbs share the team lead in scoring with 15.6 points per game.


The series against Murray State

The Bucs and Racers once shared a strong Ohio Valley Conference rivalry as the two teams battled it out throughout the 1960s and 70s ... ETSU trails the all-time series with Murray State 19-22, but the two teams have not met since those days in the OVC ... The Bucs have a two-game winning streak in the series, and won the last meeting between the two schools, 84-69, back in 1978.


Last time out

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Dec. 10, 2009) - Junior guard Micah Williams (Manchester) scored a career high 22 points and posted his first career double-double thanks to a 10-rebound effort, but more importantly it was his rebound and put back with six seconds left that sealed ETSU's unexpectedly tough 75-71 win over North Georgia Thursday night inside Brooks Gym ... Playing in front of a sellout crowd of 2,972 fans as part of a special "Back to Brooks" game, the Buccaneers wore special retro uniforms based after the 1968 squad. However, there was nothing special about the performance, as the Division II Saints overcame a 67-53 deficit in the final 2:56 to make it a two-point game at 73-71 with just 10 seconds left ... Williams was fouled and went to the line at that point, but missed both foul shots. However, even though ETSU had no players on the lane, Williams managed to weave his way through the Saints to grab the rebound and score a layup as time ran down ... Along with Williams' double-double, junior forward Tommy Hubbard (Boston) posted his sixth double-double of the year with 14 points and 11 rebounds, and junior guard Justin Tubbs (Trussville, Ala.) pitched in 16 in the winning effort. For North Georgia, Bernard Rimmer and Carl Taylor both had a team-high 15 points, while Andrew Bennett scored 14 and Pat Moynihan added 10 ... The Saints stayed in it throughout and led for much of the first half, even holding an advantage of as many as seven points at 27-20 with 6:18 left before the intermission. Yet the Bucs rallied with a 8-2 offensive run  in the final minutes of the half to lead 33-31 at the break ... North Georgia again stayed close in the second half until Taylor left the game with a mouth injury. ETSU took advantage of his absence to build their lead to 14. However, the Saints fullcourt pressure led to multiple ETSU turnovers and easy baskets, and despite a technical foul call on North Georgia's Keldrick Coleman that helped the Bucs go up 72-63 with 52 seconds, North Georgia still battled back to make it 73-71 thanks to a pair of and-one baskets by Tyler Norman and Coleman ... The Bucs committed 21 turnovers on the night and only won the rebound battle, 38-35. Meanwhile, North Georgia shot 42 percent from the field and 37 percent from beyond the arc. ETSU hit on only 20 percent from 3-point range, while the Saints outscored the Bucs 34-32 in the paint.


Smith's status still in doubt

Though he has played in four games this season and most recently scored a season high 14 points against UAB (12/4), senior guard Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.) continues to battle nagging injuries ... This has left his status for this week -- and the rest of the year -- still in doubt ... No decision has been made at this point on whether Smith will redshirt this season or whether he will attempt to return to the floor this year ... Smith has been out of practice the last few days.


Hubbard steps up his game, averaging double-double

Much has been written and reported about junior forward Tommy Hubbard (Boston) and his efforts to improve his offensive game, and those strides most recently led to being selected A-Sun Player of the Week one week ago ... Already considered one of the best defenders in the A-Sun, Hubbard posted a 32-point and 10-rebound effort in the win over Arkansas and dropped in another game-high 26 in the win over UNF ... He currently leads the Bucs with 15.6 points per game and 8.6 rebounds a contest ... while he has posted double-doubles in six of the last nine games, his efforts began to pay off on the offensive end against Chattanooga back on Nov. 17 ... Setting career bests for points (26) and rebounds (13), Hubbard collected his first career double-double against the Mocs ... In addition, he hit his first 3-point shot in three seasons with the Bucs, and didn't stop there -- ultimately finishing with four long-range bombs on the night.


Record setting night from the arc for Bucs

Hitting on 11-of-14 shots from 3-point range against Arkansas, the Bucs put their name in a multiple of record books ... First, those numbers set a new school record for 3-point field goal percentage in a game with a 78.6 percent mark, breaking the previous record of 66.7 percent which had been done three times previously ... In addition, it was the best shooting effort in the "nation" this season for teams taking more than 10 shots in a game ... And it was the best percentage by a team in the A-Sun since Nov. 28, 1999 when UCF was 11-of-14 in a game against South Carolina state.


Tubbs getting it done for the Bucs

When junior guard Justin Tubbs (Trussville, Ala.) transfered out of the University of Alabama and came to ETSU, many expected the athletic guard to provide an immediate impact on the offensive end of the floor ... This has been the case ... Against Charleston, Tubbs posted a game high and career high 29 points in the Bucs win over Charleston (11/25) ... He followed that effort up with 21 points against Arkansas, and a game high 22 points in the loss to Tennessee  ... currently, Tubbs has eclipsed double-figure scoring in six of the Bucs first eight games and is second on the team with 15.6 points per game.


Sollazzo steps up on night ETSU honors Coy

Before the start of the Bucs' Homecoming game against Appalachian State (11/14), the ETSU community honored the memory of former center Seth Coy, who died in a car accident last summer ... His former roommate and friend, Adam Sollazzo (Tampa), now wears Coy's No. 43 jersey and against the Mountaineers he played inspired basketball ... Sollazzo set a career high with 13 points and hit two critical foul shots in the final seconds to get the win.


Bench play critical in win over Mountaineers

With only 21 points of offensive production from its starting five on Saturday, the Bucs got a huge lift from its bench against the Mountaineers ... All three ETSU players to reach double figures -- Adam Sollazzo (13), Justin Tubbs (11) and Sheldon Cooley (11) -- all came off the bench, and the Bucs got a total of 41 from the reserves as a whole ... With injuries costing the Bucs several offensive weapons, look for ETSU to continue to count on the bench.


Bucs offering families "value" for attending games

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Oct. 28, 2009) - With the considerable expense of entertainment options today and the difficult economic times faced by many local families, the ETSU Department of Intercollegiate Athletics in cooperation with Fun Expedition™ Family Center of Johnson City are teaming up to make it more affordable than ever for families to attend Buccaneer basketball games during this 2009-10 season ... The Fun Expedition™ Family Pack and the Fun Expedition™ Family Zone will provide ETSU fans with a pair of options to make attending ETSU basketball games easier on the pocketbook. In fact, the program will offer tickets for free to children 10 and under (with the purchase of an adult ticket), while also offering discounts of more than 50 percent on packaged ticket deals ... Below are specific details of how each of these two programs will work:

           -- Fun Expedition™ Family Packs: These special family packs will contain 4 bronze level tickets (located in sections C and E), a concessions coupon for FREE popcorn, and a coupon from FUN EXPEDITION™. The total cost of one pack is $20, which is a savings of well over 50 percent on the regular cost of admission (reserved single seats are $10 each).

           -- Fun Expedition™ Family Zone: In addition to the family pack option, the Fun Expedition Family Zone will provide kids 10 and under a FREE Blue Level ticket (located in sections B and F) with the purchase of an adult Blue Level ticket. The free kids' tickets will be available to the first 900 fans, and these special family tickets can be purchased at the booth located between Memorial Center and Brooks Gym. Parents with more than two children will be able to get as many as four FREE tickets with the purchase of two regular-priced tickets.


Big questions surround Bucs entering 2009-10

With the loss of seniors Courtney Pigram and Kevin Tiggs -- one of the most dynamic offensive duos in the country -- the Bucs have a lot of questions to answer on the offenisve end of the floor this season  ... Having averaged 78.1 points a game a year ago, which ranked 21st nationally in all of Division I play -- ETSU has lost 44.0 of those points to graduation when one includes now departed senior Greg Hamlin in that trio ... In addition to the losses on offensive, the Bucs' 13-man roster includes just eight players who have experienced actual floor time in college ... The other five players are either true freshmen, redshirt freshmen or walk-ons.