Bucs set to face Campbell with share of first place on the line
Tuesday, January 26, 2010

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Jan. 27, 2010) -- The ETSU men's basketball team will face its biggest game so far this season when the Buccaneers host first place Campbell with a share of the top spot in the Atlantic Sun Conference on the line. Tip is set for 7 p.m. Wednesday night inside the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center.

The Bucs, 10-10 overall, 6-3 A-Sun, survived the Nashville swing with a split and now come home for three crucial games inside the Mini-Dome. After Campbell, Lipscomb will visit on Saturday at 4 p.m., followed by Belmont on Monday at 7 p.m.

Campbell is 12-6 overall, 7-2 in league place this year, but the Bucs have enjoyed good success at home this season with a 6-2 mark. For more on the game, click on the game notes link above or read the game notes below.

Buc bits

Hoping to make a move in the Atlantic Sun Conference race with a strong three-game homestand, the ETSU men's basketball team begins that mission tonight against first-place Campbell ... The Bucs, 10-10 overall, 6-3 in league play, can pull into a first place tie with the Camels (12-6, 7-2) if they can win ... ETSU has never lost at home to the Camels, and holds a 10-1 advantage in the all-time series ... ETSU is currently 6-2 inside the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center this season, but is just 4-8 on the road this year ... Preseason All Atlantic Sun Conference pick Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.) remains doubtful  for the  Campbell game after having missed the Bucs last 10 contests, and is likely headed toward a medical redshirt season ... In Smith's absence, junior forward Tommy Hubbard (Boston), along with junior guards Justin Tubbs (Trussville, Ala.) and Micah Williams (Manchester) have stepped up their games In fact, Hubbard has posted double-doubles in eight games this season ... When he was picked A-Sun Player of the Week on Nov. ,30, he posted a career best 32-point effort against the Razorbacks and a game-high 25-point effort in the victory over UNF ... Meanwhile, Tubbs posted a career best 29 points against CofC and 21 against Arkansas, to go with nine rebounds ... Currently, Hubbard and Tubbs lead the team in scoring, with Hubbard averaging 14.4 points per game, and Tubbs pitching in 13.3 a contest ... Williams is the only other ETSU player averaging double figures with 11.6 a contest.


The series against Campbell

ETSU is 10-1 all-time against Campbell, having suffered its first loss in the series in the last meeting between the two schools ... That loss came on Feb. 23, 2009, in a 68-62 game at the Gore Arena.


Last time against Campbell

BUIES CREEK, N.C. (Feb. 23, 2009) - With the door open and another shot to get back into the Atlantic Sun Conference race, the ETSU men's basketball team once again let the opportunity slip away ... Leading 56-46 with 8:15 left in the game, the Buccaneers imploded on both ends of the floor and looked on as Campbell outscored them 22-6 the rest of the way and picked up a 68-62 win over ETSU Tuesday night inside the new Gore Arena. The win snapped the Bucs 10-game winning streak all-time against the Camels, as the all-time series now stands to 10-1 in favor of ETSU ... The Bucs dropped to 18-10 on the year, 12-6 in A-Sun play, while Campbell improves to 13-15, 10-9 in league action. ETSU remains one game back of Belmont for second place in the league and are two games back of Jacksonville with two games left to play in the regular season ... For the second game in the row, the Bucs started the contest without senior guard Courtney Pigram (Memphis) in the lineup, and freshman point guard Adam Sollazzo (Tampa, Fla.) took that opportunity to distribute the ball to several Buccaneers. Sollazzo had 10 first half assists and scored six points, while Smith collected 12 points and five rebounds to stake ETSU to a 38-30 halftime advantage. ... The lead could have been greater as ETSU had built a 38-24 edge with just over one minute left in the first half, but the Camels responded with a 6-0 spurt to close the half. The Bucs shot 46 percent from the floor, 40 percent from beyond the arc and a perfect 6-of-6 from the foul line in the first half ... In the second half, the Bucs again held sizeable leads but looked on as the Camels went on a 24-6 run to close out the game over the final seven minutes ... ETSU junior guard Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.) finished with a career high 25 points and posted a double-double with 12 rebounds, while Sollazzo posted a career high 12 assists. Senior forward Kevin Tiggs (Flint, Mich.) was the only other ETSU player in double figures scoring with 12 points ... For Campbell, Jonathan Rodriguez finished with a double-double on 11 points and 14 rebounds, while Lorne Merthie had a team high 20 points.


Last time out

NASHVILLE (Jan. 23, 2010) - One year ago, the ETSU men's basketball team managed to solve the riddle of Belmont with two wins in three meetings. In the first matchup of the 2009-10 season between the two perennial Atlantic Sun Conference contenders, the confusion returned for the Buccaneers ... Belmont sank 14 3-pointers, shot a blistering 51.9 percent from 3-point range, and connected on an equally impressive 55.1 percent from the field as the Bruins dropped the Bucs 100-89 Saturday afternoon inside the Curb Event Center ... Coupled with Campbell's win over Lipscomb earlier in the day, the Bucs (10-10 overall, 6-3 A-Sun) fall one game back in the A-Sun standings and are tied with Jacksonville for second place with three losses each. Meanwhile, Belmont improved to 11-9 overall, 6-4 in league play ... The game could have been ugly as Belmont led by as many as 32 points with 11:44 left in the second half, but the Bucs did battle to the end and used a commendable effort in the final four minutes to make it a respectable 11-point loss ... Belmont's 100 points was the most scored by an ETSU opponent all season. The previous high was 85 points against Arkansas and UAB ... While ETSU scored a season high 67 second half points, the first half was another Belmont nightmare for the Bucs, whose trapping zone defense was shredded for eight 3-pointers by the Bruins in the first 20 minutes of play. In all, Belmont shot 53.3 percent from beyond the arc, 52.4 percent from the field, and built a lead of as many as 23 points before going to the halftime break up 44-22 ... ETSU's offense was as atrocious as the defense in the first half, as the Bucs shot just 26.9 percent from the field and a dismal 42.9 percent from the foul line. On the boards it wasn't much better for ETSU, as Belmont outboarded the Bucs 22-13 ... For the game, Belmont held a 42-28 edge on the boards but committed 18 turnovers. The Bruins also set school records for free throws attempted (50) and free throw makes (32) ... ETSU shot 46 percent for the game and 41 percent from 3-point range, and only turned the ball over nine times ... The Bucs were led offensively by junior guard Micah Williams (Manchester) with 21 points, while junior guard Justin Tubbs (Trussville, Ala.) added 18, freshman guard Sheldon Cooley (Tampa) netted 17 and junior forward Tommy Hubbard (Boston) pitched in 13 ... Belmont's freshman guard Ian Clark led the way with a game-high 24 points, while Mick Hedgepeth had a double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds. Jordan Campbell netted 14 and Drew Hanlen scored 13.


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 68.8 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 polayed 23 minutes in the game and was 3-of-4 from 3-point rnage.


New-look zone defense powers win streak

Since developing a new, attacking-style zone defense, the Buccaneers have won four of their last six games ... The stats back up the zone's effectiveness, especially while winning three straight games from Dec. 21 to Jan. 9, as ETSU has held opponents to 35 percent shooting from the floor and just 59.3 points per game ... In addition, the Bucs were also outrebounding opponents by more than seven boards a game.

Smith status

still in doubt

Though he has played in four games this season and most recently scored a season high 14 points against UAB (12/4), senior guard Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.) continues to battle nagging injuries ... This has left his status for the year in doubt, and he is likely headed toward a medical redshirt.


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 eight of his last 11 games ... Currently, Williams is one of three Bucs averaging double figures scoring this year with 11.6 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 14.4 points per game and 8.4 rebounds a contest ... while he has posted double-doubles in eight of the last 19 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.


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.


Home Sweet Dome

Since the 1996-97 season, the Buccaneers are an amazing 134-41 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 is 5-2 in the Dome and 1-0 in Brooks Gym.


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.