Bucs to face SEC foe in Mississippi State Saturday
Bucs to face SEC foe in Mississippi State Saturday
Friday, December 10, 2010

STARKVILLE, Miss. (Dec. 10, 2010)
-- In need of some renewed confidence and swagger, the ETSU men's basketball team will continue with the fourth of eight-straight games away from the MSHA Athletic Center, as the Buccaneers take on Southeastern Conference foe Mississippi State Saturday evening at 8 p.m. inside the Humphrey Coliseum.

The Bucs, who are 3-4 overall this season, have suffered back-to-back losses after having won at Dayton back on Dec. 1. Following the win over the Flyers -- the first non-conference home loss for Dayton in over five years -- the Bucs were enjoying their time on the road. However, at this point, the team is looking to refocus and get back to the championship form that has helped them to back-to-back NCAA Tournaments in 2009 and 2010.

For more on Saturday's game, click on the game notes link above or read the game notes below. For more on ETSU men's basketball, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the  men's basketball 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.


The series versus Mississippi State

This will be the third meeting all-time between the Buccaneers and Bulldogs, with the series knotted at 1-1 ... ETSU won the last meeting between the two schools, a 91-82 win in Johnson City back in December of 1988 ... The Bulldogs won the first matchup 86-59 in Starkville the previous season in December of 1987.


Last time out

CHARLESTON, S.C. (Dec. 7, 2010) - The hangover from ETSU's loss to USC Upstate lingered into a non-conference matchup with former Southern Conference rival College of Charleston, as the Buccaneers struggled throughout on the offensive end and eventually lost 79-59 at the Carolina First Arena. ... With the loss, the Bucs drop to 3-4 overall on the year and still have five more games remaining on their current month-long, eight-game road trip. Meanwhile, the Cougars - a preseason favorite in the SoCon - improved to 7-3 overall. ... Charleston lived up to its offensive reputation in the early going, hitting four 3-pointers in the first 10 minutes and building an 18-10 lead with 10:27 left before halftime. The Cougars eventually led by as many as 13 three times in the half, with ETSU ultimately trailing 36-24 at the break. ... In the first half, it was the Cougars' edge on the boards that made the difference as they out-rebounded the Bucs 27-20 with 13 offensive boards. Outscoring the Bucs 11-4 on second chance points, Charleston also had five made 3-pointers in the half while ETSU shot 0-of-9 from outside the arc. ... The second half started in nightmare fashion for the Bucs, as Charleston hit three more long-range bombs and went on an 11-2 run to take a 21-point lead at 47-26 with 17:02 left. That CofC edge grew to as many as 22 points with 14:41 left, and the Bucs never got closer than 15 the rest of the way. ... For the game, the Bucs got a team high 16 points from senior guard Micah Williams (Manchester), while sophomore guard Sheldon Cooley (Tampa) netted 13. Meanwhile, Charleston had four players in double figures, led by preseason SoCon pick Andrew Goudelock with 22, while Donavan Monroe added 16, Jeremy Simmons scored 12, and Trent Wiedeman collected 11. ... For the game, the Bucs shot 42 percent from the field, but were just 3-of-17 from 3-point range. Meanwhile, Charleston finished with a 46 to 36 edge rebounding, and went 17-of-25 from the foul line while the Bucs were just 4-of-7 from the charity stripe. ... The Bucs will try to regroup their next time out, but they will face another stiff test on the road as they take on Southeastern Conference foe Mississippi State Saturday evening at 8 p.m. in Starkville, Miss.


"Big 3" guards not hitting on all cylinders

Coming into this season, the Bucs were counting on quality offensive production from their "Big 3" senior guards in Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.), Justin Tubbs (Trussville, Ala.) and Micah Williams (Manchester) ... All three have had double-figure scoring seasons in the past, and expectations were for much of the same in 2010-11 ... However, so far this season, the Bucs' four losses have coincided with poor output from the trio ... In fact, when all three score in double figures, the Bucs have won each of those games (Tennessee Tech, Milligan and Dayton) ... But when one or two is having an off night, the Bucs have lost each of those games. Here is a breakdown:


Game Smith Williams Tubbs

Kentucky 15 7 2

Murray State 10 8 2

Tennessee Tech 26 10 13

Milligan 13 17 11

Dayton 17 16 26

USC Upstate 15 11 3

Charleston 9 16 2


Plans, trains and automobiles await Bucs

The Bucs find themselves in the midst of a month-long road trip that will see the team play 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.


Bartow among best in the country over last five years

When looking at coaches across the country, ETSU head coach Murry Bartow stands among a select group ... Of those coaches that have been at their current school for at least five years, only 24 have averaged better than 20 wins a season ... That list includes coaches such as Dayton's Brian Gregory, Syracuse's Jim Boeheim, UConn's Jim Calhoun, Florida's Billy Donovan, Michigan State's Tom Izzo, Duke's Mike Kryzewski, Louisville's Rick Pitino, Kansas' Bill Self, Maryland's Gary Williams and North Carolina's Roy Williams ... The list also includes Bartow, who is average 20.2 wins a year since 2005-06.


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 65.7 points per game in seven 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.


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 1,262 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 against Tennessee Tech.


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 573

Micah Williams 770

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.


ETSU "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 nine NCAA Tournament trips, one NIT berth, 10 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. 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.