Bucs begin final regular season stretch Thursday against Ospreys
Tuesday, February 23, 2010

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (Feb. 25, 2010) -- With the Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament just over a week away, the ETSU men's basketball team will continue to battle for seeding and momentum as the Buccaneers take a two-game road swing through Florida to wrap up the regular season.

That road trip begins Thursday night at North Florida, with tip time against the Ospreys set for 7:45 p.m. inside UNF Arena.

The Buccaneers, 15-14 overall, 11-7 A-Sun, can assure themselves a .500 record on the year with a win over the Ospreys -- but as the defending A-Sun champions -- the Bucs have their eyes on a bigger prize next week in Macon, Ga., as Mercer University hosts the league championships.  

ETSU snapped a two-game losing streak and picked up its first come-from-behind win of the season in a 63-56 win over USC Upstate last Sunday, and the Bucs hope that positive outcome helps build confidence heading to Florida. After UNF, the Bucs will take on league-leading Jacksonville at 2 p.m. at Veterans Memorial Arena Saturday.

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

Buc bits

Snapping a two-game losing streak with its first come-from-behind win of the season last Sunday, the ETSU men's basketball team heads to Jacksonville, Fla., for a two-game road swing to end the regular season ... Coming back from an 18-point first half deficit to beat USC Upstate 63-56, the Buccaneers improved to 15-14 overall, 11-7 in Atlantic Sun Conference play ... The Bucs now hope to continue to build momentum as they prepare for next week's Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament, but to build that momentum the Bucs must find a way to defeat both North Florida (Feb. 25) and Jacksonville (Feb. 27) this weekend ... Preseason All Atlantic Sun Conference pick Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.) has been out for much of the season and will applie for a medical redshirt to hopefully rejoin the Bucs in 2010-11 ... In Smith's absence, Tommy Hubbard (Boston), along with Justin Tubbs (Trussville, Ala.) and Micah Williams (Manchester) have stepped up their games. In fact, Hubbard has posted double-doubles 13 times this season. ... Currently, Hubbard and Tubbs lead the team in scoring, with Hubbard averaging 14.2 points per game, and Tubbs pitching in 12.6 a contest ... Williams is the only other ETSU player averaging double figures with 11.5 a contest.


The series against North Florida

The Bucs are 8-0 all-time against the Ospreys ... The two teams first started playing in 2005-06 when ETSU and UNF first joined the Atlantic Sun Conference ... In their last meeting, the Bucs enjoyed an 82-56 victory at the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center back on Nov. 29, 2009. 


Last time against North Florida

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Nov. 29, 2009) - Senior guard Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.) returned to the lineup and junior forward Tommy Hubbard (Boston) continued his dominating play with his fifth double-double of the season, as the ETSU men's basketball team opened Atlantic Sun Conference play with a convincing 82-56 victory over North Florida inside Memorial Center ... ETSU, now 4-3 overall, 1-0 in A-Sun play, got a game-high 25 points and 13 rebounds from Hubbard, while Smith pitched in 14 points and fellow junior guard Micah Williams (Manchester) added 12. The Buccaneers dominated in most every statistical category, out-rebounding the Ospreys 38-28, forcing UNF into 25 turnovers and finishing with a 26-point cushion. ... The Bucs blitzed out to a 9-2 lead early in the game, but UNF responded with its own 8-0 run to take its only lead of the contest at 10-9. However, that edge did not last long, as ETSU put together a 10-2 run to go up 19-12 and never looked back. ... Smith's return was highlighted by his first field goal of the season, which came after he stole a UNF inbounds pass and raced to the other end of the floor for a slam dunk. Smith's score was only part of a strong first half by the Bucs, which ultimately resulted in a 44-31 lead at the break. ... In the second half, things only got worse for the Ospreys, as the ETSU fullcourt pressure kept resulting in turnovers and scores for the Bucs. The Ospreys did manage to get to within seven at 50-43 on a 3-pointer by Jerron Granberry, but ETSU responded by outscoring UNF 11-2 over the next three minutes to build their lead to 61-45. A 3-pointer by sophomore Adam Sollazzo (Tampa) and another by Williams then powered another 10-3 run to make it 71-48 and UNF would not recover. ... ETSU ultimately ended the game with a 34-11 edge in points off turnovers and a 20-6 advantage in second chance points. ... UNF got a team high 14 points from Andy Diaz and Granberry netted 10 in the losing effort.


Last time out

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Feb. 21, 2010) - Trailing by as many as 18 points in the first half and allowing USC Upstate to shoot a blistering 63 percent from the floor before the intermission, the ETSU men's basketball team put the clamps on defensively in the second half and rallied for a 63-56 victory Sunday in Atlantic Sun Conference action at the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center. ... Behind 56-51 with 4:08 left in the game, ETSU outscored the Spartans 12-0 to close out the contest, as junior guard Justin Tubbs (Trussville, Ala.) hit a 3-pointer with 1:44 left to make it 59-56 in favor of the Bucs. The Spartans were held to just 30 percent shooting in the second half and ETSU outscored Upstate 34-19 in the final 20 minutes to get the win. ... The player of the game for ETSU was sophomore forward J.C. Ward (Marietta, Ga.), who despite not scoring a point in the contest still grabbed 12 rebounds, and managed to stop the Spartans' 7-foot center Nick Schneiders on the offensive end. Prior to Ward being inserted into the game, Shneiders had scored 16 first-half points, and was ultimately held to just 22 for the game. ... Early in the game, the Bucs had literally no answer for the Spartans' offense. Schneiders scored basically at will, and from the outside Upstate hit on 5-of-9 from 3-point range to build a lead of 37-19 with just over three minutes left in the half. However, the Bucs showed signs of life at that point, cutting the lead to 37-29 thanks to a 10-0 run to close out the half. ... In the second half, the Spartans again pulled out to a 13-point edge at 44-31 on a Schneiders' layup with 17:21 left in the game. ETSU rallied once more with a 15-4 run to pull within two at 48-46 with 9:36 remaining on the clock. ... Though Upstate scored the next four points to make it 52-46 with just over six minutes left, the Bucs turned it on and outscored the Spartans 17-4 the rest of the way to take the victory. ... ETSU put four players in double figures with freshman guard Sheldon Cooley (Tampa) and Tubbs leading the way with 13 points apiece. Meanwhile, junior guard Micah Williams (Manchester) added 12 points, and forward Tommy Hubbard (Boston) added 10. Upstate got a game-high 22 points from Schneiders. ... The Bucs forced 18 turnovers off 10 steals, and outrebounded the Spartans 33-32. USC Upstate shot 45 percent from the floor for the game, while the Bucs shot 36 percent in the contest. ETSU held a huge advantage at the charity stripe, shooting 20-of-25 from the line, and hitting 14 of their final 15 free throws.


Jan. 30 not a good day for Bucs

For the second year in a row, the Buccaneers dropped a critical overtime game on Jan. 30 ... One year ago, the Bucs fell 82-72 at Jacksonville, in a game that Dolphins' guard Ben Smith hit a long range 3-pointer to tie the game in regulation and force the extra period ... The Bucs again found themsevles in an overtime game on Jan. 30, losing a nine-point lead in regulation with six minutes left and ultimately giving up a five-point lead in OT to fall to Lipscomb, 85-84.


Century mark not usual for ETSU defense

Giving up 100 points in the loss to Belmont (1/23/10) was not usual for the Buccaneers ... Before that game, the Bucs had not given up 100 or more point in over two years ... The last time it happened was on Dec. 15, 2007, when the Bucs lost to Syracuse 125-75 ... This season, the most points the ETSU defense had allowed was 85, in games at Arkansas and UAB ... For the year, the ETSU defense is giving up an average of just 67.0 points per game.


Jones steps up at the point

Coming off the bench to play the point guard position in the Bucs' last game against Lipscomb, sophomore guard Jarvis Jones (Memphis) answered in a big way with a career high 17 points, including the game-winning 3-pointer with .4 seconds left in regulation ... Jones played 23 minutes in the game and was 3-of-4 from 3-point range.


Williams bringing more offense to  the table

Junior guard Micah Williams (Manchester) has worked his way into the starting lineup thanks to more consistent play on the offensive end ... He has scored in double figures in 15 of his last 20 games, and recently matched his season high with 22 points against Stetson (2/6) ... He most recently scored 12 in the win over USC Upstate (2/21) ... Currently, Williams is one of three Bucs averaging double figures scoring this year with 11.5 points per game.

Hubbard steps up game in 2009-10

Much has been written and reported about junior forward Tommy Hubbard (Boston) and his efforts to improve his offensive game, and those strides have led to some solid numbers ... He currently leads the Bucs with 14.2 points per game and 8.7 rebounds a contest ... while he has posted 13 double doubles on the year, 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.


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.


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.