Bucs, Belmont set to renew rivalry in A-Sun action
Friday, January 22, 2010

NASHVILLE (Jan. 23, 2010) - Flying high after a last-second win over Lipscomb on Thursday night, the ETSU men's basketball team will look to keep the momentum rolling when the Buccaneers complete a two-game road swing through the Music City Saturday against Belmont. Tip is set for 5:15 p.m. inside the Curb Event Center.

The Bucs, who now stands 10-9 overall, 6-2 in Atlantic Sun play, are currently tied with Campbell for first place in the league standings. A year ago, ETSU took two of three games with the Bruins, even ending Belmont's season with a victory in the semifinals of the A-Sun Tournament.

Even with the wins last year, the Bruins still hold an 8-3 record over the Bucs since ETSU joined the A-Sun in 2005-06. The rivalry has only grown as both teams have consistently battled at the top of the league standings.

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


Buc bits

With a dramatic last second victory in its last game, the ETSU men's basketball team once again finds itself tied atop the league standings ... The Buccaneers hope to defend their first place position when they complete their Nashville road swing today against Belmont ... The Bucs, 10-9 overall, 6-2 in league play, have only one once inside the Curb Event Center in the last four years ... ETSU is currently 6-2 inside the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center this season, but is just 4-7 on the road this year ... Preseason All Atlantic Sun Conference pick Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.) remains doubtful  for the  Belmont 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 13.0 a contest ... Williams is the only other ETSU player averaging double figures with 11.1 a contest.


The series against Belmont

The Bucs and Bruins have met 16 times in their histories, with the series tied 8-8 ... The Bucs were a perfect 5-0 against Belmont prior to 2005, when ETSU joined the Atlantic Sun Conference ... Since that time, ETSU is 3-8 against Belmont ... In fact, three of those games have gone to overtime, with ETSU going 1-2 in those contests, ... The last meeting between the two was an 88-74 ETSU win in the semifinals of the Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament.


Last time against Belmont

NASHVILLE (March 6, 2009) - Led by a game-high 30 points from senior guard Courtney Pigram (Memphis), the ETSU men's basketball team finally ended Belmont's three-year run of Atlantic Sun Conference championships with an 88-74 victory over the Bruins in the semifinals of the General Shale Brick A-Sun Championships at Allen Arena ... On his way to his 30 points, Pigram eclipsed the 2,000-point mark for his career, moved past Keith "Mister" Jennings to stand third on the ETSU all-time scoring list, and became just the second player in A-Sun history to record 2,000 points for his career. Pigram was joined in double figures scoring by senior forward Kevin Tiggs (Flint, Mich.) with 21 points, junior guard Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.) with 19, and sophomore forward Tommy Hubbard (Boston) with 11 ... Despite possessing the top two scoring offenses on the A-Sun, both the Bucs and Bruins got off to slow shooting starts to begin the game and the score stood at just 10-9 with 11:58 left before the intermission. From there, the lead changed six times until the Bucs took a 16-14 edge and extended their advantage to 10 points at 34-24 on a Pigram 3-pointer with 1:56 left in the half ... Belmont was able to regroup from there and collect the final five points of the half to make the score 34-29 at the break. ... The second half opened with an 8-0 ETSU run that made the score 42-29 with 17:43 left, but Belmont immediately answered with its own 13-2 burst to get the game back to two points at 44-42 with just over 14 minutes left in the game. ... Despite a pair of mini runs for the Bucs midway through the half that pushed the lead out to as many as 10 points, the ETSU advantage remained just two points at 72-70 with 3:16 left in regulation. However, from there the Bucs made five straight defensive stops. 

Last time out

NASHVILLE (Jan. 21, 2010) - Sophomore guard Jarvis Jones (Memphis) hit a 3-pointer from the right corner with .4 seconds left to give the ETSU men's basketball team a thrilling 71-69 victory over Lipscomb in Atlantic Sun Conference action inside Allen Arena ... Jones came off the bench to play the point guard position and scored 17 points, but none were more important than the last three. Trailing 69-68 with 3.4 seconds left and the Bucs inbounding under their own basket, Jones dished the ball into fellow sophomore Isiah Brown (Miami), who tossed the ball back to Jones for the game winner. ... The Bucs' defensive efforts were impressive, especially holding the league's leading scorer Adnan Hodzic to two points in the first half and a total of 13 for the game. Hodzic entered the game averaging 21.5 points, while his Lipscomb team began the night averaging 80.6 points a contest ... While Jones scored 17, junior guard Micah Williams (Manchester) netted a game-high 18, junior guard Justin Tubbs (Trussville, Ala.) had 13, Brown scored 11, and junior forward Tommy Hubbard (Boston) added 10. Brown also picked up 10 rebounds to collect his first double-double of the year ... The first half got off to an inauspicious start for the Bucs, as the Bisons hit on five of their first nine shots from behind the arc to build a 19-8 lead with 11 minutes left before the intermission. However, the Bucs responded with an impressive offensive run of their own, as Jones came off the bench to hit a pair of 3-pointers and eventually score eight points to spark the ETSU offensive attack ...                 In all, the Bucs' defense would hold Lipscomb to just one made 3-pointer over the next seven minutes and went on a 20-3 run to lead 28-22 with 4:29 left in the half. ETSU would ultimately outscore Lipscomb 29-11 over the final 11 minutes of the half and held a 37-30 edge at the break ... After the break, Lipscomb used the first eight minutes to slowly whittle away at the Bucs lead and managed to tie it after back-to-back 3-pointers by Michael Teller made it 47-47 with 11:32 left. The game was still tied at 52-52 when the Bucs went on a quick 7-0 run to make it 59-52, but Lipscomb responded with an 8-3 run thanks to five more points from Teller to get within two at 62-60 with 3:49 left ... Lipscomb continued to pressure and eventually took the lead with a 7-4 spurt that was capped by a layup from Josh Slater to make it 67-66 with 1:47 left in the game. It was the first lead for the Bisons since the 5:24 mark of the first half, but the Bucs regained the lead on a layup by Hubbard with 50 seconds left, only to have Slater hit a pair of free throws with 20.9 second left to make it 69-68 ...             That set up the heroics by Jones.


Troubles "A Bruin"

A quick look at the last four year's results for ETSU and there's no doubt the Bucs have had trouble with Belmont ... The Bucs are 3-8 against their A-Sun in-state rivals since joining the league in 2005 ... Three of those games were won easily by Belmont, with the Bucs owning a 30-point blowout win over Belmont in Johnson City last year ... The other seven have been tight affairs, with three going to overtime and the Bruins hitting 3-pointers in the final seconds of two of those games to win ... Here is a breakdown of those meetings


Date                         Result                                   Site

Dec. 1, 2005            Belmont 88, ETSU 85 (OT)      Johnson City

Feb. 26, 2006          Belmont 99, ETSU 78              Nashville

Jan. 2, 2007             Belmont 75, ETSU 74 (OT)      Johnson City

Jan. 25, 2007           ETSU 80, Belmont 70 (OT)      Nashville

March 3, 2007         Belmont 94, ETSU 67 *            Johnson City

Jan. 17, 2008           Belmont 86, ETSU 83              Nashville

Feb. 14, 2008          Belmont 87, ETSU 75              Johnson City

March 7, 2008         Belmont 69, ETSU 65 *           Nashville

Jan. 19, 2009           ETSU 87, Belmont 57              Johnson City

Feb. 14, 2009          Belmont 76, ETSU 73              Nashville

March 6, 2009         ETSU 88, Belmont 74 *            Nashville

* -- Game played in A-Sun Tournament


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 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 are also outrebounding opponents by more than seven boards a game in that stretch.


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 rest of the year in doubt, and in fact, he is likely headed toward a medical redshirt season.


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 seven of his last nine games ... Currently, Williams is one of three Bucs averaging double figures scoring this year with 11.1 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 8.5 rebounds a contest ... while he has posted double-doubles in eight of the last 17 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 again 11-2 at home ... This season, ETSU is 4-2 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.


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.