MURRAY, Ky. (Nov. 15, 2010) -- Having already opened the season in Kentucky, the ETSU men's basketball team will return to the "Bluegrass State" Monday to take on former Ohio Valley Conference rival Murray State at 8:30 p.m. (EST).
The Buccaneers, who were upended by No. 10 Kentucky 88-65 on Friday evening, will be looking to make a notch in the win column against a talented and experienced Murray State squad that's enjoyed its share of success over the last several years. The Racers, who won a first round NCAA Tournament game a year ago, are hard to beat at home and have the confidence of knowing they upended the Bucs just one year ago inside the Dome.
For more on Monday's game, read the game notes below or click the game notes link above.
We are "ETSU"
The ETSU Department of Intercollegiate Athletics would like to ask both the print and broadcast media to honor our request to be called "ETSU" ... East Tennessee State in first reference is acceptable, but subsequent references should be ETSU ... On TV graphics please use ETSU ... Our nickname is the Buccaneers, but Bucs is also acceptable.
The ETSU men's basketball team only added to its rich history of success during the 2009-10 season, capturing its second straight Atlantic Sun Conference Championship and earning the program's ninth trip all-time to the NCAA Tournament ... Posting the program's fourth 20-win season in the past seven years, the Bucs overcame multiple challenges during the season before dropping Mercer in the A-Sun finals ... The Bucs were led by a team of "role" players that included forward Tommy Hubbard (Boston), guard Justin Tubbs (Trussville, Ala.), guard Micah Williams (Manchester), guard Adam Sollazzo (Tampa, Fla.), post Isiah Brown (Miami, Fla.), and post J.C. Ward (Marietta, Ga.) ... Hubbard finished the year as a second team All ASun player after leading the Bucs in both scoring (13.9 ppg) and rebounding (8.2 rpg), and was named to the league's All-Tournament squad ... Meanwhile, Williams finished the year on a tear, scoring in double figures in 11 straight games, including a 32-point effort against Campbell en route to being named the A-Sun Tournament MVP ... Only losing senior guard Jocolby Davis off the roster from 2009-10, the Bucs will add Smith back to the mix after receiving a medical redshirt a year ago, and a trio of incoming recruits will also add to the talent pool ... For those reasons, there is certainly reason to be excited and expectations will be high.
The series versus Murray State
ETSU has a long series with the Racers, dating back to the Buccaneers' days in the Ohio Valley Conference -- which Murray State still calls home ... The all-time series, whcih began in 1959, currently stands at 23-19 with Murray State holding the advantage ... The Racers hold a one-game winning streak, having dropped the Bucs a year ago inside the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center, 61-57.
Last time out against Murray State
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Dec. 12, 2009) - Despite overcoming an 18-point second half deficit and actually taking the lead late in the game, the ETSU men's basketball team could not get a basket when it counted in the final two minutes, dropping its first game at home this season in a 61-57 loss to Murray State Saturday afternoon at the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center ... The Buccaneers suffered through their worst offensive first half of the season and trailed 36-20 at the break. However, ETSU outscored Murray State - the preseason favorite in the Ohio Valley Conference - by a 37-25 clip in the second half and had a chance at the end.... Those players included Micah Williams (Manchester), who finished with a game-high 18 points, while freshman guard Bruce Grimm (Rochester, Ind.) came off the bench to score 11 points and dish out three assists in the second half. Meanwhile, Murry State got a double-double effort from Ivan Aska with 17 points and 14 rebounds, while Danero Thomas added 12 for the Racers as they improved to an impressive 8-1 on the season. ... In the first half, the Bucs struggled out of the gate and never led. In fact, after pulling to within eight points a 19-11 with just over 10 minutes to go before the intermission, the Bucs looked on as the Racers outscored them 17-9 the rest of the way. ... However, after Murray State scored the first basket of the second half on a layup by Aska, ETSU pulled to within 15 points at 42-27 over the next six minutes, and then went on a 18-11 run that made it 51-45 with five minutes left in the game ... After making a basket but then missing six straight foul shots, Murray State looked to be in trouble as the Bucs used a 9-0 spurt powered by a Jarvis Jones (Memphis) 3-pointer, as well as a steal and layup from sophomore guard Adam Sollazzo (Tampa), to make it 54-53 in favor of the Bucs with 2:06 left in the game. However, that would be ETSU's only lead of the contest, as Murray State answered by outscoring the Bucs 8-3 the rest of the way.
Last time out
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 12, 2010) - ETSU junior forward Isiah Brown (Miami, Fla.) scored a career high 25 points and picked up a double-double thanks to 14 rebounds, but the Kentucky Wildcats hit 12 3-pointers on the night and out-rebounded the Buccaneers 51-33 en route to an 88-65 victory during the regular season opener for both teams Friday evening inside a sold out Rupp Arena ... The Buccaneers, who pulled to within 10 points early in the second half, were done in by Kentucky's response - a 15-0 run that featured 10 straight points from Kentucky forward Terrence Jones. The freshman from Portland, Ore., finished with a game-high 25 points and the Wildcats never looked back ... Kentucky finished the game shooting 48.5 percent from the field, but an even more impressive 50 percent from the 3-point line (13-of-26). Meanwhile, the Bucs had no answers in the paint as Kentucky had 19 offensive boards compared to just seven for ETSU. ... The Bucs also got double-figure scoring from senior Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.) with 15 points, while sophomore guard Sheldon Cooley (Tampa) had 13. ... Brown's efforts powered the Bucs throughout the first half, as he scored a team-high 17 that included a layup with 14:57 left on the clock that gave ETSU a brief 9-8 advantage. However, over the next five minutes the Wildcats hit five 3-pointers to outscore the Bucs 23-10 and lead 31-19 with nine minutes left. Both teams traded baskets the rest of the way and UK led 50-35 at the break. ... In the second half, the Bucs cut the lead to 10 thanks to another bucket by Brown and a 3-pointer from Smith, but yet again the 'Cats answered. Terrence Jones scored 10 straight and powered a 15-0 Kentucky run to make it 68-42 with just over 13 minutes left in the game. ... The Bucs never got closer than 18 points the rest of the way, when a Smith 3-pointer made it 78-60 with 4:36 left in the game.
The Bucs will be without freshman guard Ryan Woumn (Lynn, Mass.) for the second straight game, as he is recovering from a foot injury … Meanwhile, senior forward Tommy Hubbard (Boston) continues to recover from a pair of leg injuries and is questionable for the game Monday … Hubbard's streak of 35 consecutive starts came to an end in the season opener at Kentcuky ... Junior guard Jarvis Jones (Memphis) will also not be available, as plans are for him to redshirt this season.
Bucs counting on "experience edge" against Wildcats
If the Bucs will be looking for any edge this season, they will find it in the experience department ... All told, the Bucs have 33 years of previous college experience on its 15-man roster, a group that includes players with multiple years of experience, including three fifth-year seniors (Mike Smith, Micah Williams and Justin Tubbs), and a fourth-year junior (Isiah Brown).
Smith happy to be back on the floor with Bucs
One year ago, the Bucs were forced to play all put four games without the services of guard Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.) due to an injury … However, Smith is back and brings his 1,172 career points with him … Without Smith, the Bucs struggled to score points last season (69.3 points per game) and relied heavily on its defensive efforts to win games … This year, the Bucs hope to continue to hold team's down offensively, while returning to their normal "high scoring" ways … In 105 career games, Smith is averaging 11.2 points per game .. In his return game against Kentucky, Smith netted 15 points.
Sollazzo continues number change in honor of Coy
When ETSU's rising sophomore forward Seth Coy (Montgomery, Ind.) was tragically killed in a car accident during the summer of 2009, 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 junior 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 played the 2009-10 season in honor of his friend ... In addition, the Bucs were a special "43" batch on their uniforms this season in honor of their fallen friend and teammate … Sollazzo and the team have chosen to continue to honor Coy in this manner this season.
ETSU the "only" A-Sun team picked among nation's best "Prestige" programs
Since the beginning of the modern era for NCAA Division I-A basketball - marked by the expansion of the NCAA Tournament field to 64 teams in 1984-85 - the ETSU men's basketball program ranks in the Top 30 percent of the 300 programs that were eligible for the postseason at that time, this according to ESPN.com's "Prestige" ranking released back in 2008 ... Since that time, the Bucs have only added to their list of prestigious honors … The Buccaneers, who have enjoyed eight NCAA Tournament trips, one NIT berth, nine 20-win seasons, and a slew of conference regular season and tournament championships since 1984-85, ranked tied for 82nd out of 300 teams, meaning they were in the Top 27 percent of schools making the list. ETSU was ranked ahead of every current Atlantic Sun Conference team, as well as former Southern Conference rivals Appalachian State, Western Carolina, Georgia Southern and UNC Greensboro. The Bucs also were placed ahead of every current member of the Colonial Athletic Association with the exception of Old Dominion ... In addition, the Bucs ranked ahead of SEC schools such as Tennessee, Vanderbilt, South Carolina, Mississippi State, Georgia, Mississippi and Auburn, as well as other major programs such as Virginia Tech, Notre Dame, DePaul, Bradley, Clemson, California and Florida State.