Bucs hope to rebound with win at FGCU
Wednesday, February 3, 2010

FORT MYERS, Fla. (Feb. 4, 2010) -- Hoping to rally and get back into the race for the Atlantic Sun Conference regular season title, the ETSU men's basketball team heads on the road to face Florida Gulf Coast in the first of two road games this weekend. Tipoff against the Eagles is set for 7:30 p.m. Thursday night.

The Bucs (11-12 overall, 7-5 A-Sun) will be looking to regroup after going 2-3 over a five-game stretch that included three home games and a two-game swing through Nashville.

With eight games remaining in the regular season, ETSU still has time to right the ship and prepare for the Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament to be held March 3-6 in Macon, Ga.

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


Buc bits

Having dropped two of their last three games and falling two games back of Jacksonville for first place in the Atlantic Sun Conference race, ETSU finds itself in need of a bounce back win as the Buccaneers take to the road to the face FGCU and Stetson this weekend ... The Bucs lost back-to-back close contests to Lipscomb (84-85) and Belmont (67-74) to fall to 11-12 overall, 7-5 in league play ... ETSU now heads on the road where they are just 4-8 on the season  ... Preseason All Atlantic Sun Conference pick Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.) remains doubtful for the FGCU game after having missed the Bucs last 13 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 14.8 points per game, and Tubbs pitching in 13.0 a contest. Williams is the only other ETSU player averaging double figures with 11.2 a contest.


The series against FGCU

The Bucs and Eagles have met just four times, with FGCU just joining the Atlantic Sun Conference in 2007-08 ... ETSU holds a 3-1 edge in the series, having won twice in Johnson City and once in Fort Myers, Fla. ... The two teams split their meetings a year ago, but the Bucs won the most recent battle earlier this season 73-51.


Last time against FGCU

 JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Jan. 16, 2010) - In need of a bounce back performance, the ETSU men's basketball team used a tenacious defensive effort to hold Florida Gulf Coast to just 10 points in the first half and ultimately cruised to a decisive 73-51 victory in Atlantic Sun Conference play Saturday afternoon at the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center ... The Buccaneers (9-9 overall, 5-2 A-Sun) ultimately forced the Eagles (5-12 overall, 2-6 A-Sun) into 26 turnovers and grabbed 11 steals, and held FGCU to 35 percent shooting from the floor and 23 percent from beyond the 3-point arc. Meanwhile, the Bucs got a game-high 21 points from junior forward Tommy Hubbard (Boston), and junior guard Justin Tubbs (Trussville, Ala.) pitched in 15 in the winning effort.  ... In the first half, ETSU fell behind 5-3 when a Reggie Chambers 3-pointer found the bottom of the net. However, from there the Bucs turned up the defensive pressure and used its trapping zone defense to stymie the Eagles. ETSU ultimately used a 17-0 run to power a strong first half and outscored FGCU 31-5 the rest of the half to lead 34-10 at the break. ...    It was the lowest first-half point total for an ETSU opponent this season. ... The second half was no different, as the Bucs' advantage grew to as many as 33 points at 65-32 with 7:30 left in the contest. The Eagles battled back to cut the final deficit down to 22, but could not manage a significant comeback. ... FGCU held a 46-38 edge on the glass, but most all the other statistical numbers favored the Bucs. ETSU shot 39 percent from the floor and 32 percent from 3-point range, hitting on a solid 68 percent from the free throw line. The Bucs went 23 of 34 shots from the line, while FGCU was just 11-of-25 at the charity stripe. ... The Eagles were led by Anthony Banks' 15 points. No other FGCU player reached double figures.


Last time out

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Feb. 1, 2010) - Despite a 16-2 run that pulled the ETSU men's basketball team to within two points in the final two minutes, freshman guard Sheldon Cooley (Tampa) missed a dunk that would have tied the game and the Belmont Bruins used the momentum shift of that moment to pull away for a 74-67 win in Atlantic Sun Conference action Monday evening inside the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center ... A crowd of 4,137 fans looked on as the Bruins surged ahead to a 63-47 advantage with 6:23 left in the game. However, the Bucs used a frantic pace and fullcourt defense to force the issue in the final minutes, going on an offensive run that ultimately led to Cooley with the ball in his hands going to the basket. On the play, though, senior guard Jocolby Davis (Meridian, Miss.) appeared to be shoved to the floor, distracting Cooley at the final moment before he dunked the ball ... Both teams battled back and forth in the first half, with the Bucs using an 8-0 run to build a seven point lead at 22-15 with 8:04 left before the intermission. However, the Bruins (13-10, 8-5) answered over the next seven minutes to take a 33-30 edge into the locker room. ... In the second half, the Bruins kept converting on the offensive end as the Bucs struggled to find their comfort zone in the halfcourt offense. The result was a Belmont lead that grew to as many as 17 points when an Ian Clark 3-pointer found the bottom of the net with 7:08 left in the game. ... However, the Bucs rallied thanks to a 3-pointer from Cooley, five straight points from sophomore forward Isiah Brown (Miami), four straight free throws from junior forward Tommy Hubbard (Boston), and four final points from Davis on a pair of free throws and a layup. Those scores came as Belmont could only get a pair of free throws from forward Jon House. ... For the game, ETSU got a team high 17 points from Brown, while Hubbard finished with his 11th double-double of the season with 16 points and 12 boards. Belmont got a game high 18 points from Keaton Belcher, while Mick Hedgepeth posted 16 and Drew Hanlen added 15. ... ETSU shot 45 percent from the floor, but just 13 percent from 3-point range. The Bucs held Belmont to 40 percent shooting and 22 percent from beyond the arc. Belmont won the battle of the boards 39-35, and both teams committed 16 turnovers each.


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 ... Just two days ago, 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 69.2 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 13 games ... Currently, Williams is one of three Bucs averaging double figures scoring this year with 11.2 points per game.


Hubbard steps up game, averaging near double-double

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 14.8 points per game and 8.8 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 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.