Bucs braced for battle with Louisville
Friday, November 20, 2009

LOUISVILLE (Nov. 21, 2009) -- Facing one of the most successful programs in the history of college basketball, the ETSU men's basketball team will try to end its current two-game losing streak when the Buccaneers take on the Louisville Cardinals Saturday afternoon at 4 p.m. inside Freedom Hall.

The game, which will tip at 4 p.m., will be broadcast live on WJHL-TV 11 Connects beginning with the pregame show at 3 p.m. Fans are encouraged to gather at Fanatics Restaurant in Johnson City to watch the game together, where drink and food specials are planned, and free ETSU gear will be given away.

ETSU junior forward Tommy Hubbard (Boston) continues to raise the level of his play, as he is coming off his second straight double-double thanks to a 19-point, 10-rebound effort  against Morgan State. Hubbard and junior guard Justin Tubbs (Trussville, Ala.) were the only two Bucs in double figures against the Bears, as Tubbs posted 16 in the losing effort.

To turn around their recent struggles, the Bucs will need to shoot better from the fiel and the foul line. Currently, the Bucs are hitting on just 38 percent from the field and 55 percent from the foul line.

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

The series against Louisville

This will be the first meeting between the Bucs and the Cardinals.


Last time out

BALTIMORE (Nov. 19, 2009) - With the departures of graduated All-Atlantic Sun Conference players Courtney Pigram and Kevin Tiggs, and the knee injury that has sidelined senior guard and preseason all league pick Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.), the deck has been stacked against the ETSU men's basketball team in the early going this year ... This was once again evident Thursday night against the defending Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference champion Morgan State. ... Shooting just 29 percent from the field and struggling offensively throughout the game, the Buccaneers trailed the Bears by as many as 22 points and ultimately dropped its second straight game 72-61 inside the Hill Field House. The Bucs (1-2) now have to regroup and prep for defending Big East Conference champion Louisville on Saturday at 4 p.m. ... Despite the loss, a bright spot was once again the play of junior forward Tommy Hubbard (Boston), who finished with his second straight double-double thanks to a 19-point, 10-rebound effort. Along with Hubbard, junior guard Justin Tubbs (Trussville, Ala.) added 16 points and was the only other ETSU player in double figures ... Meanwhile, Morgan State's Reggie Holmes was impressive, posting a career high 30 points while teammate Rodney Stokes had 12 ... The ETSU offense carried over its offensive struggles from the second half of the Chattanooga game and made just five field goals in the first 20 minutes against the Bears. Things weren't much better at the foul line, as the Bucs hit on just 12-of-21 shots at the charity stripe for a 57 percent clip ... However, even with those struggles, the Bucs battled back from a deficit of as many as 18 points midway through the half to make it a 34-24 game at the break ... Looking for a rally in the second half, the Bucs could just never make a move and watched the Bears pull away to a 22-point edge at 64-42 with 7:24 left in the game. To its credit, ETSU battled to the end and was able to get to within 11 by the end of the game.


Charity stripe woes cost Bucs

Shooting just 55 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 36-of-65 in their last two games ...  A year ago, this was a strength for ETSU, which as a team shot 71 percent from the line.


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.


ETSU games at Louisville, Arkansas to air live locally

In cooperation with WJHL 11 Connects, the ETSU Department of Intercollegiate Athletics is proud to announce that fans throughout the Northeast Tennessee, Southwest Virginia and Western North Carolina regions will be able to watch the Bucs take on BCS schools Louisville and Arkansas live on television ... The Bucs take on Louisville on Saturday at 4 p.m., while the Arkansas game is set for 8 p.m. (EST) on Nov. 27.


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.


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.


Turnovers key for Bucs during recent success

Since winning five of their last six games a year ago and their two exhibition games this season, the Buccaneers are showing why their focus on defense is so important ... Most coaches believe that team's should score at least one point to every single turnover they force ... For the Bucs, this number has been much higher ... In their last six games a year ago, the Bucs forced 103 turnovers and scored 132 points off those opponent mistakes ... This is an average of 22 points off 17 turnovers a game -- well over the ratio most coaches desire ... If one adds in this year's two exhibition games, those numbers go to 25 points off 19 turnovers.


Preseason polls pick Bucs middle of the pack

The ETSU men's basketball team was picked fourth by the Atlantic Sun Conference coaches and fifth by the league's media in preseason polls release Wednesday by the conference office ... The conference's two most recent tournament champions, ETSU (2009) and Belmont (2006-08) place fourth and fifth, depending on the poll. The Buccaneers edged out the Bruins for the spot from the coaches while the media gave the nod the Bruins. Both teams suffered tremendous losses due to graduation. ETSU must replace Courtney Pigram (Memphis) and Kevin Tiggs (Flint, Mich.), one of the highest scoring duos in the nation a season ago.


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.


Sollazzo to honor Coy with number change

When ETSU's rising sophomore forward Seth Coy (Montgomery, Ind.) was tragically killed in a car accident this summer, it left the entire Buccaneer community with a deep sense of loss ... As is often the case, those that are left to mourn have looked for ways to remember the Bucs' 6-foot-11 "Gentle Giant." ... For sophomore guard Adam Sollazzo (Tampa), who was Coy's roommate, the answer was simple ... Changing his jersey number from No. 20 to Coy's No. 43, Sollazzo will play the 2009-10 season to honor his friend and have that memory with him each night.