Bucs looking to bounce back against Charleston
Tuesday, November 24, 2009

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Nov. 25, 2009) -- After enduring a difficult three-game road swing, the ETSU men's basketball team will return to the more hospitable surroundings of the Memorial Center Wednesday night, as the Buccaneers will renew an old Southern Conference rivalry as they host the College of Charleston Cougars.

Tip is set for 7 p.m.

The Bucs (1-3) are coming off a respectable showing at No. 20 Louisville, where they fell 69-56 but outscored the Cardinals 35-32 in the second half. ETSU will be looking to snap a three-game losing streak before heading on the road again to take on SEC foe Arkansas the day after Thanksgiving. That game is set to be televised live on WJHL-TV 11 Connects on Friday evening at 8 p.m. (EST).

The Bucs will once again be without the services of senior guard Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.), who continues to nurse an injured knee. However, junior forward Tommy Hubbard (Boston) and junior guard Justin Tubbs (Trussville, Ala.) have stepped up to provide some much-needed offensive firepower. ETSU hopes that duo along with the rest of its young, inexperienced squad can continue to mature and best the Cougars.

For more on the game, click the game notebook link above or read the game notes provided below.


Buc bits

The ETSU men's basketball team went 0-3 last week, dropping three straight road contests at Chattanooga (76-85), Morgan State (61-72) and Louisville (56-69) Currently, the Buccaneers stand at 1-3 on the season and face a week that includes homes games against College of Charleston (11/25) and UNF (11/29), and a road trip to SEC foe Arkansas (11/27) The Bucs are currently enduring a stretch that includes six games in 12 days, with four of those contests on the road in unfriendly territory ETSU remains without the services of preseason All Atlantic Sun Conference pick Mike Smith, as the senior is still nursing a knee injury In Smith's absence, junior forward Tommy Hubbard (Boston) and junior guard Justin Tubbs (Trussville, Ala.) have stepped up their offensive production Hubbard posted back-to-back double-doubles last week against Chattanooga and Morgan State, which included a career best 26-point effort against the Mocs Meanwhile, Tubbs posted a career best 18 points and seven rebounds in the loss at No. 20 Louisville Currently, Hubbard and Tubbs lead the Bucs in scoring with 14.5 points and 13.0 points per game, respectively.


The series against College of Charleston

The Bucs and Cougars shared many hard fought battles during their time in the Southern Conference throughout the 1990s and early this decade ... In all, the Bucs trail the series 3-7 ... ETSU's most recent wins came during the 2002-03 season when the Bucs defeated Charleston in the regular season and in the semifinals of the SoCon tournament en route to the NCAA Tournament ... Charleston won the last meeting in 2004-05, defeating the Bucs 79-72 inside Memorial Center on Dec. 4, 2004.


Last time against CofC

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Dec. 4, 2004) - The College of Charleston Cougars outscored East Tennessee State 14-6 in the final 4:36 to take a 79-72 win over the Buccaneers in the Southern Conference opener for both teams at Memorial Center ... Over 4,700 fans came out to see the contest, which was highlighted by senior guard Tony Mitchell's game-high 21 points, all of which came in the second half. The Buccaneers struggled offensively, turning the ball over 24 times compared to just 10 for the Cougars ... The Bucs and Cougars traded baskets early on before Charleston was able to build a nine-point lead at 32-23 with 5:57 remaining in the first half. However, the Bucs methodically worked their way back into the contest and trailed just 34-33 at the half thanks to a Tim Smith (Newport News, Va.) layup with 48 seconds before the break ... In the second half, Mitchell was on fire, hitting on 5-of-9 shots from 3-point range and collecting all 21 of his points. He was the difference despite the fact the two teams traded the lead four times. With the score in favor of Charleston at 69-66, a layup by junior guard Ben Rhoda (Dayton, Ohio) was blocked by Bernard Jackson and the pro-ETSU crowd expected a foul call. However, the call did not come and from there it was all Charletson, as the Cougars scored the next 10 points to build a comfortable margin ... For the game, four Charleston players scored in double figures. Along with Mitchell, Stanley Jackson collected 13 points, while Bernard Jackson and Jeff Horowitz added 12 apiece ... ETSU got a team-high 15 points from Smith, who also picked up his third career double-double with 10 rebounds. Smith was joined in double figures by junior post Brad Nuckles (Council, Va.) with 14 points, while Rhoda and junior post Dillion Sneed (Chicago) had 12 points apiece. Nuckles' effort was a bright spot, as the 6-foot-9 forward returned from a foot injury to also pick up eight rebounds.


Last time out

LOUISVILLE (Nov. 21, 2009) - Outscoring No. 20 Louisville 35-32 in the second half, the ETSU men's basketball team did not back down from its Big East Conference foe, but the Buccaneers still could not overcome a tough first half offensively as they fell 69-56 to the Cardinals in front of 19,179 at historic Freedom Hall ... Junior guard Justin Tubbs (Trussville, Ala.) sank four 3-pointers in the second half and scored a game-high 18 points in a contest that saw the Buccaneers' defense hold Louisville to just 36 percent shooting from the floor. In addition, ETSU held its own on the glass against a much larger Louisville squad, finishing 44-44 in the rebounding category ... The Bucs stayed close in the early going, as a Tubbs' 3-pointer made it 10-7 in favor of ETSU with 15:04 left. However, from there the Bucs went cold and did not score a field goal for over 10 minutes of game play, allowing the Cardinals to pull away by as many as 17 with 1:32 left before the intermission. At the break, it was 37-21 in favor of the Cardinals ... ETSU did hold Louisville to 39 percent shooting in the first half and forced 10 turnovers, but the Cardinals dominated on the glass, besting the Bucs 25-14 in the paint. In addition, Louisville's defensive pressure held the Bucs to just 29 percent shooting from the field and 22 percent from 3-point range ... Yet in the second half, the Bucs reversed most of those trends, outrebounding Louisville 30-19 in the second half and making a more effective effort on the offensive end. Though the Cardinals built their lead to as many as 21 points with 15:14 left in the game, ETSU continued to claw and fight, ultimately hitting five 3-pointers as a team in the final 10 minutes of play to pull to within 11 at 67-56 with 52 seconds left in the game ... Along with Tubbs, the Bucs got 12 points from junior guard Micah Williams (Manchester), while junior forward Tommy Hubbard (Boston) had nine points and nine boards. For Louisville, Edgar Sosa had a team-high 16 points, while Samardo Samuels added 14 and 11 rebounds in a double-double effort ... ETSU's issues offensively continued for a third straight game, as the Bucs hit on just 33 percent from the field and 57 percent from the foul line. The Bucs also committed 20 turnovers in the game. However, the Bucs did hold the Cardinals to just 20 percent shooting from 3-point range, usually a strength for Louisville teams.


Hubbard steps up on offensive end

Much has been written and reported about junior forward Tommy Hubbard (Boston) and his efforts to improve his offensive game ... Already considered one of the best defenders in the A-Sun, Hubbard's hardwork finally paid dividends against Chattanooga ... 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 ... Hubbard also set career highs for field goals (9), field goals attempted (13), 3-pointers attempted (5), blocks (1) and steals (2) ... Hubbard stayed hot against Morgan State, posting another double-double with 19 points and 10 rebounds.


Charity stripe woes cost Bucs

Shooting just 56 percent from the foul line so far this season, the Buccaneers are showing how poor foul shooting can cost a team ... Against Chattanooga, ETSU attempted two more foul shots than the Mocs (29-27), but UTC hit on 22 of their attempts compared to just 14 for the Bucs ... Then, against Morgan State, the Bucs were just 22-of-36 (61.1 percent) from the line ... All told, the Bucs are 44-of-79 in their last three games ...  A year ago, this was a strength for ETSU, which as a team shot 71 percent from the line.


Sollazzo steps up on night ETSU honors Coy

Before the start of Saturday's 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 lift the Bucs to a victory.


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 contributions from the bench.


ETSU the "only" A-Sun team picked among nation's best "Prestige" programs

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (July 22, 2008) - Since the beginning of 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 a new "Prestige" ranking released by ESPN.com ... The Buccaneers, who have enjoyed six NCAA Tournament trips, one NIT berth, seven 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 Conference team, as well as former Southern Conference rivals Appalachian State, Western Carolina, Georgia Southern and UNC Greensboro. The Bucs also were placed ahead of every current member of the Colonial Athletic Association with the exception of Old Dominion ... In addition, the Bucs ranked ahead of SEC schools such as Tennessee, Vanderbilt, South Carolina, Mississippi State, Georgia, Mississippi and Auburn, as well as other major programs such as Virginia Tech, Notre Dame, DePaul, Bradley, Clemson, California and Florida State.