Bucs, Buffs set to meet Saturday inside ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center
Bucs, Buffs set to meet Saturday inside ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center
Friday, November 26, 2010

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Nov. 26, 2010)
-- Before heading on the road for the entire month of December, the ETSU men's basketball team will play inside the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center Saturday afternoon against nearby Milligan College. Tip is set for 4 p.m.

The Buccaneers, who have scheduled just two home games prior to returning to Atlantic Sun Conference action against Campbell on Dec. 30, face a four-week stretch that includes road trips to Dayton, Charleston, USC Upstate, Mississippi, Mississippi State and the Cancun Governor's Cup in Mexico.

The Bucs, who snapped a season-opening, two-game losing streak with a win over Tennessee Tech last week, hope to stay hot against the Buffaloes, an NAIA opponent from nearby Elizabethton. For more on Saturday's game, read the game notes below or click the game note link above.

For more on ETSU men's basketball, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the men's hoops link.

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.


Buc bits

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 Milligan

Saturday's game will mark the first regular season meeting between the Bucs and nearby Milligan since 2006 ... That game, a 73-47 win for the Bucs, was the first regular season game between the two schools since 1961 ... Before going to NCAA Division I play, the Bucs and Buffaloes met regularly during the 1930s, 40s, and 50s, and ETSU holds a 34-24 advantage in the all-time series.


Last time out against Milligan

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Dec. 9, 2006) - Preparing for a 10-day break to take final exams, the ETSU men's basketball team took advantage of one last opportunity to play before hitting the books. The Buccaneers shot 42 percent from 3-point range and hit a season high 11 3-pointers, holding Milligan to just 15 points in the first half to cruise to a 73-47 victory over the Buffaloes Saturday in front of 4,032 fans inside Memorial Center. ... Sophomore guard Courtney Pigram (Memphis) led the way for ETSU, scoring a game-high 23 points, while freshman guard Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.) pitched in a career high 20-point effort. Senior forward Eryk Thomas (Fremont, Calif.) was the only other Buccaneer to reach double figures with 11 points, while sophomore guard Tayloe Taylor (Memphis) matched his career high for assists with nine. Thomas also set a career high and matched the program record for blocks in a game with six. ... The Bucs certainly closed out the first half in style, taking a 21-12 game at the 7:57 mark and making it 41-15 at the half. Key to the run was ETSU's defensive effort, which held Milligan to just 16 percent shooting in the first half and allowed the Buffaloes to score just three points over the final eight minutes of the half. ... Milligan made more happen offensively in the second half, matching ETSU 32-32 after the intermission. ... For the game, ETSU hit on 47 percent of its shots from the field and was 60 percent from the foul line. The Bucs out-rebounded Milligan 45-39, while collecting 10 blocks and 10 steals in the game.


Last time out

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Nov. 20, 2010) - Senior guard Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.) scored a career high 26 points to power the ETSU men's basketball team to a 73-60 Homecoming win over in-state rival Tennessee Tech Saturday afternoon inside the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center. ... Smith was joined in double figures by senior guard Justin Tubbs (Trussville, Ala.) with 13, while junior forward Isiah Brown (Miami) and senior guard Micah Williams (Manchester) pitched in 10 apiece. Defensively, the Bucs held the Golden Eagles to just 37 percent shooting from the floor, forced 17 turnovers, and out-rebounded Tech 37-35. ... In the first half, the Bucs trailed 8-4 with just over 15 minutes left in the half, but used a 16-0 run to build a 12-point advantage over the next five minutes. Tech answered that barraged by cutting the lead to two at 25-23, but the Bucs were ultimately able to pull away to a 32-25 advantage at the break. ... After the intermission, ETSU once again grew its lead to 12 at 47-35 thanks to a 7-0 run. However, Tech clawed its way back into it and got to within four at 58-54 with six minutes remaining. At that point, the Bucs used a final 8-0 spurt to build a comfortable 66-54 edge and pull away for the win. ... The Bucs committed just 12 turnovers in the game and grabbed seven steals. They also outscored the Golden Eagle 21-13 in points off turnovers, and enjoyed a 32-24 advantage with points in the paint. ETSU's defense also held Tech to just 24 percent shooting from 3-point range, but Tech did hit on 81 percent (17-of-21) from the charity stripe. ... Along with their solid point totals, Brown finished with a team-high nine rebounds, while Williams picked up eight boards.


Plans, trains and automobiles await Bucs

After Saturday's game with Milligan, the Bucs will head on the road for the next month, playing a total of eight games away from the ETSU/MSHA Atheltic Center ... Trips to Dayton, Ohio, Charleston, S.C., Starkville, Miss., Oxford, Miss., and Cancun, Mexico await ... In all, the Bucs will travlel 3,776 miles by bus and 1,906 miles by plane during this time ... In total, it will amount to 5,682 miles and 67 hours/33 minutes of travel time.


ETSU duo chasing 1,000-point mark

While senior Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.) is already a member of the 1,000-point club, two other seniors have outside shots at making it to the group:

Name Current Points

Tommy Hubbard 567

Micah Williams 710

With those point totals, Hubbard would have to average just over 14 points a game this season to reach 1,000, while Williams would need to average 10 points a game to reach the mark.


Defense shines despite offensive woes

While much has been made of the Bucs poor offensive effort against Murray State, the squad's defensive effort was superb and encouraging ... Utilizing a new 3-2 zone, the Bucs held Murray State to just 50 points, which is the second time this "calendar" year the Bucs have held a team to less than 50 -- the last time coming Feb. 25, 2010 at North Florida (61-46) ... The Bucs are currently allowing 66 points per game in three contests, which includes allowing just 60 points against Tennessee Tech ... Against the Racers, the Bucs also forced 16 turnovers, out-rebounded Murray State 39-30, and held them to 37.8 percent shooting.


Home Sweet Dome

Since the 1996-97 season, the Buccaneers are an amazing 140-45 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, and last year the team was 9-5 at the Dome.


Bucs counting on

"experience edge"

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 like 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 1,208 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 his return game against Kentucky, Smith netted 15 points, and he recently followed up that performance with a career high 26 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.