Bucs riding tide of momentum into Sunday matchup with Mercer
Saturday, February 13, 2010

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Feb. 14, 2010) -- Finding themselves in the midst of the race for an Atlantic Sun Conference men's basketball regular season championship, the ETSU Buccaneers will put their current three-game winning streak on the line Sunday afternoon against league foe Mercer.

The Bucs and Bears will meet at 4 p.m. inside the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center.

ETSU, currently 14-12 overall, 10-5 in A-Sun action, will be looking to win and secure their longest winning streak of the season. Meanwhile, Mercer will be trying to replicate their effort from earlier in the year against ETSU, when the Bears enjoyed an 83-78 victory in Macon, Ga.

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

Buc bits

Matching their season best with a three-game winning streak, the ETSU Buccaneers hope to continue their stay at the top of the Atlantic Sun Conference standings when they host Mercer Sunday inside the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center ... The Bucs, currently 14-12 overall, 10-5 in A-Sun play, lost to the Bears in Macon, Ga. earlier this season ... 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 12 times this season. ... Currently, Hubbard and Tubbs lead the team in scoring, with Hubbard averaging 14.2 points per game, and Tubbs pitching in 12.8 a contest ... Williams is the only other ETSU player averaging double figures with 11.5 a contest.


The series against Mercer

Prior to their last meeting, the Buccaneers had enjoyed a nice stretch of perfection against the Bears ... The Bucs were 8-0 all-time against Mercer before falling to the Bears 83-78 back on Jan. 9.


Last time against Mercer

MACON, Ga. (Jan. 9, 2010) - All good things must come to an end, and Saturday afternoon against Mercer, the ETSU men's basketball team watched as its perfect 8-0 all-time record against the Bears finally suffered a blemish. ... Without the services of sophomore forward Isiah Brown (Miami), who missed the game with an ankle injury, the Buccaneers trailed 73-53 with 4:42 left in the game. However, ETSU made a spirited comeback over the final minutes only to fall short 83-78 during Atlantic Sun Conference action inside the University Center. ... The Bucs shot just 38 percent from the floor for the game, while allowing Mercer a 49 percent clip. Mercer also shot 43 percent from 3-point range, which was critical as the Bears built their lead throughout the second half. ... For ETSU, a major bright spot in the game was freshman guard Sheldon Cooley (Tampa, Fla.), who finished with a game-high 29 points and three steals. Meanwhile, junior guards Micah Williams (Manchester) and Justin Tubbs (Trussville, Ala.) finished with 18 and 12 points, respectively. ... For Mercer, preseason All A-Sun guard James Florence scored a game-high 22 points, while Jeff Smith added 17, E.J. Kusnyer pitched in 15 and Daniel Emerson had 13. ... The first half started poorly for the Bucs, who watched as Mercer pulled out to an 11-1 lead with 14:57 left before the intermission. However, ETSU finally found its offensive game and put together a 17-5 run over the next four minutes to take the lead 18-16 at the 9:10 mark. ... Mercer responded by going on a 12-6 run of its own to take a 28-22

advantage with 5:52 left, and  ultimately led 35-28 at the break. In the first half, the Bucs managed just one assist and shot 34 percent from the floor. ... The Bears opened the second half on a 12-4 run to make it 47-32 by the first media timeout with 15:50 remaining in the game. That lead grew to as many as 20 with 4:42 left, but at that point the Bucs used a pair of offensive runs to get within four points on a couple of occasions. However, they were never able to get within one possession.


Last time out

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Feb. 12, 2010) - Sophomore forward Isiah Brown (Miami, Fla.) collected a career high 15 rebounds and scored 14 points on way to his fourth double-double performance of the season, as the ETSU men's basketball team won its third straight game by defeating Kennesaw State 66-45 in Atlantic Sun Conference action at the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center ... In front of a crowd 3,471 fans and a regional television audience on CSS, Brown also dished out four assists, grabbed four steals and blocked three shots in what was arguably the best performance of his collegiate career. Meanwhile, junior guard Justin Tubbs (Trussville, Ala.) posted a game-high 23 points, while fellow junior guard Micah Williams (Manchester) added 13 points in the winning effort ... After falling behind 2-0 early on, the Bucs went on an early 17-3 run thanks to a 3-point barrage from Tubbs and Williams. From there, the Bucs kept the pressure on as Tubbs hit each of his career high five 3-pointers in the first half, and ETSU led by as many as 20 at 31-11 with just over four minutes left in the half. Kennesaw tried to cut into that lead in the final minutes before the intermission, but ultimately trailed 37-20 at the break. ... In the second half, the Owls did rally and cut the lead to 12 at 41-29, but a quick 8-0 spurt by the Bucs made it 49-29 and from there ETSU never looked back. ... For the game, the Bucs committed just seven turnovers compared to 20 for Kennesaw, and the ETSU defense held the Owls to only 32 percent shooting from the floor. The Bucs were outrebounded 42-39, and only shot 39 percent from the floor despite winning by 21 ... Along with Brown, Tubbs and Williams, the Bucs also got an eight rebound and six-point effort from junior forward Tommy Hubbard (Boston), while sophomore guard Adam Sollazzo (Tampa) came off the bench to score eight points and grab three steals in 20 minutes of floor time.


Brown's play coincides with ETSU move in standings

Sophomore Isiah Brown (Miami) has made major strides in his production over the last several games for the Buccaneers ... In fact, over the Bucs last six games Brown has scored in double figures, and is actually averaging 15.0 points and 9.0 rebounds a contest ... During this time, the Bucs have gone 4-2 and won their last three games, moving back into a tie for first place in the Atlantic Sun Conference race ... In fact, Brown's play went to an even higher level in his last game against Kennesaw State, as he set personal bests for rebounds (15), assists (4) and steals (4), while posting his fourth career double-double with 14 points.


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 12 of his last 17 games, and most recently matched his season high with 22 points against Stetson (2/6) ... He most recently scored 13 in the win over Kennesaw State (2/12) ... 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 ... 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 14.2 points per game and 8.6 rebounds a contest ... while he has posted 12 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.


Home Sweet Dome

Since the 1996-97 season, the Buccaneers are an amazing 137-44 inside Memorial Center, good for a winning percentage of 77 percent ... The Bucs had won five straight at Memorial Center during the 2006-07 season before a loss to Belmont (1/2) ... The Bucs then rattled off 10 straight at home to stand at 15-1 on the Memorial Center floor that season, but fell to Belmont in the championship of the A-Sun Tourney... In 2007-08, the Bucs were 11-2 at Memorial Center ... In 2008-09, the Bucs were 11-2 at home ... This season, ETSU has actually struggled at home, going 7-4 in the Dome and 1-0 in Brooks Gym.


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.


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 had 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 ... So far this season, those concerns have been warranted, as the team is averaging just 69.9 points per contest, 8.2 points off their average of a year ago.