DELAND, Fla. (Feb. 6, 2010) -- In need of maintaining some momentum with another victory, the ETSU men's basketball team will return to action Saturday evening at 7 p.m., as the Buccaneers invade the Edmunds Center to take on the Stetson Hatters in Atlantic Sun Conference action.
The Bucs, 12-12 overall, 8-5 A-Sun, still find themselves in the thick of the league race and hope to pick up one more victory on the road before heading home for a pair of games next weekend. However, the Bucs must first dispatch a Hatters' squad that has already beaten them once this year, handing the Bucs a 54-52 setback last month.
For more on the game, click on the game notes link above, or read the game notes below.
Relying on a strong defensive effort and finding its offensive rythm in the second half, the ETSU men's basketball team snapped a two-game losing streak with a win over Florida Gulf Coast on Thursday night, and the Buccaneers hope to build on that win Saturday night on the road at Stetson ... The Bucs improved to 12-12 overall, 8-5 in league play, and remain two games back of Jacksonville for first place in the league regular season race ... Preseason All Atlantic Sun Conference pick Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.) remains doubtful for the Stetson game after having missed the Bucs last 14 contests, and is likely headed toward a medical redshirt season. 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 11 times this season. ... Currently, Hubbard and Tubbs lead the team in scoring, with Hubbard averaging 14.6 points per game, and Tubbs pitching in 12.8 a contest. Williams is the only other ETSU player averaging double figures with 11.0 a contest.
The series against Stetson
The Hatters are one of the teams to have given the Bucs trouble since ETSU joined the Atlantic Sun Conference in 2005-06 ... All-time the Bucs lead the series 8-5, but Stetson has defeated the Bucs three times in five games inside the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center, including a loss in the last game between the two, a 54-52 victory for the Hatters back on Jan. 14 ... The Bucs have won all four meetings in DeLand since joining the A-Sun in 2005-06.
Last time against Stetson
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Jan. 14, 2010) - For the third time in five seasons, the ETSU men's basketball team looked on as the Stetson Hatters came into the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center and left with an Atlantic Sun Conference victory ... The Buccaneers relinquished an 11-point second half lead in front of 4,003 fans at the Mini-Dome, as Stetson went 10-of-25 from 3-point range to manage the 54-52 victory. ETSU had a shot at the end to tie the game as Stetson's A.J. Smith missed the front end of a one-and-one, but junior forward Tommy Hubbard (Boston) went coast-to-coast only to have his layup attempt fall short at the buzzer. ... ETSU led by eight 27-19 at the break, and though the game was not the up-and-down type that the Bucs would enjoy, they still held a somewhat comfortable lead. ... However, after a Justin Tubbs (Trussville, Ala.) 3-pointer found the bottom of the net to open the second half and make it 30-19 in favor of ETSU, Stetson went on a 19-5 run over the next nine minutes to take a 38-35 lead. The Bucs responded to regain the edge at 43-40, but back-to-back 3-pointers by Mark Lohuis and Brandon Williams made it 46-43 with just over six minutes left on the clock. ... ETSU tied the game at 46, but from there was never able to take the lead again. Even so, the Bucs did have a pair of opportunities to tie the game, as freshman guard Sheldon Cooley (Tampa) went to the line for a one-and-one with 21 seconds left and the game at 52-50 in favor of the Hatters. He missed the front end, however, and after a pair of makes by Smith that put the score at 54-50, the Bucs final score of the game came on a layup by junior forward Micah Williams (Manchester) with seven seconds left. ... Stetson was led by 12 points apiece from Lohuis and Williams, while Smith and Ridge Graham finished with 10 apiece. Meanwhile, the Bucs got a game high 13 from Micah Williams, while Tubbs finished with 12.
Last time out
FORT MYERS, Fla. (Feb. 4, 2010) - Overcoming a 10-minute offensive drought to start the game, the ETSU men's basketball team employed its pressure defense to wake up from the lull and snap a two-game losing streak with a 56-47 win over Florida Gulf Coast in Atlantic Sun Conference play Thursday night at Alico Arena. ... The Bucs (12-12 overall, 8-5 A-Sun) fell behind 10-1 and did not score its first field goal until the 10:16 mark of the first half. However, the team turned it around in time, getting strong offensive nights from a pair of Florida natives, as sophomore forward Isiah Brown (Miami) posted a game high 17 points and seven rebounds, and sophomore guard Adam Sollazzo (Tampa) added seven points, three assists and four steals in 26 minutes of play. ... The first half began with the ETSU offense in a deep freeze despite the 80 degree temperatures of South Florida. In fact, the Buccaneers fell behind 10-1 and did not score a field goal until Sollazzo picked off a pass and dunked it home with 10:16 left in the first half. ... ETSU finally got its offense going thanks to its defense, as the Bucs utilized their aggressive, trapping halfcourt defense to force FGCU (7-16, 4-10) into 15 turnovers in the first half. Slowly, ETSU chipped away at the deficit and ultimately took the halftime lead at 26-24 on a pair from free throws from junior guard De'Shaud Johnson (Riverdale, Ga.) with 4.8 seconds left in the half. ... The Bucs were outrebounded 17-11 in the first half, but outscored FGCU 15-8 off turnovers. ETSU also held the Eagles to 20 percent shooting from beyond the 3-point arc, and the Bucs ultimately shot 40.9 percent from the field in the first half despite the slow start offensively ... In the second half the Bucs built their largest lead of the game so far at 31-28, but the Eagles came right back to retake the advantage 32-31 on a pair from free throws from Eddie Murray with 15:01 left in the game. From there, however, the Bucs once again went to the pressure defense and took a four-point lead at 36-32 on a dunk by Justin Tubbs (Trussville, Ala.) with 13:53 left. ... FGCU responded to tie it at 36-36 on a pair of baskets by Hunter Miller, but from there Brown scored nine of the Bucs next 20 points as ETSU outscored the Eagles 20-11 the rest of the way for the win. ... The Bucs only had two players in double figures, with Brown being joined by junior forward Tommy Hubbard (Boston) with 10 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 68.2 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 mainly to back-to-back strong efforts on the offensive end ... Against North Georgia, Williams posted a career high 22 points in leading the Bucs to the win, and he followed that effort with an 18-point night against Murray State ... He has scored in double figures in 10 of his last 15 games ... Currently, Williams is one of three Bucs averaging double figures scoring this year with 11.0 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 14.6 points per game and 8.6 rebounds a contest ... while he has posted double-doubles in 10 of his last 21 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.
Home Sweet Dome
Since the 1996-97 season, the Buccaneers are an amazing 136-44 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 in the Dome, going 6-4 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.