Bucs invade Oxford for Saturday matchup with Rebels
Bucs invade Oxford for Saturday matchup with Rebels
Friday, December 17, 2010

OXFORD, Miss. (Dec. 18, 2010)
-- At the midway point of a month-long, eight-game stretch away from the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center, the ETSU men's basketball team will hope to continue its development on Saturday as the Buccaneers take on Southeastern Conference foe Mississippi at 4 p.m. (EST) inside Smith Coliseum.

The Bucs (4-4 overall) are currently 2-2 on the road trip, with a pair of signature wins over Dayton back on Dec. 1 and Mississippi State just one week ago. Ole Miss and the Bucs have one common opponent on the season, as Dayton defeated the Rebels in Oxford earlier this year.

Following the game with Ole Miss, the Bucs will return home and then fly to Cancun, Mexico on Monday for the Cancun Governor's Cup. The Bucs could possibly face the Rebels again at that event.

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

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 Ole Miss

The Bucs have played the Rebels 12 times, with the teams playing all those games between the years of 1953 and 1995 ... Mississippi holds a 7-5 edge in the tightly contested series, with the the Bucs falling in the last matchup 65-50 back in 1995 at the Super Chevy Shootout hosted by the University of Iowa.


Last time out

STARKVILLE, Miss. (Dec. 11, 2010) - In a game dominated by the ETSU men's basketball team on the boards, it was the Buccaneers' final offensive rebound that truly made the difference in a 63-62 win over Southeastern Conference foe Mississippi State inside the Humphrey Coliseum. ... After senior guard Justin Tubbs (Trussville, Ala.) missed a potential game-tying free throw with 27 seconds left and the Bucs trailing 62-61, junior forward Curtis Wilkinson (Bude, Miss.) tapped the ball out to senior guard Micah Williams (Manchester), giving the Bucs another chance to take the lead. After a timeout by ETSU head coach Murry Bartow, Williams made good on the opportunity, driving the lane for a banked shot that found the bottom of the net and gave ETSU the one-point edge. ... The Bulldogs, who fell to 4-2 on the year, missed on their final scoring opportunity as Kodi Augustus' baseline attempt missed the mark and Tubbs secured the rebound. ... While Williams had the game-winner and finished with 18 points, fellow senior guard Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.) posted a team-high 20 points to go along with a game-high nine boards in the victory. Meanwhile, Wilkinson - who was playing in front of his family and friends from Bude, Miss. - started the game and finished with seven points and five rebounds. ... ETSU shot 50 percent from both the field and the 3-point line, and enjoyed a 35-22 edge on the boards for the game. More impressive, the Bucs held a 15-9 edge on the offensive glass. ... The Bucs' effort in the first half was much improved compared to its last two outings. ETSU basically traded baskets with the Bulldogs throughout the first 20 minutes, trailing by no more than six points at any time in the first half and leading on two different occasions. ... Mississippi State had led much of the first half until the Bucs took the lead at 19-18 on a Smith 3-pointer with 9:31 remaining on the clock. After the Bucs took their second lead of the game at 30-29, the Bulldogs would answer once more and regain a six-point edge at 38-32 with 44 seconds left, thanks mainly to MSU guard Ravern Johnson, who scored seven straight points to power the 9-2 offensive spurt. ... After the break, both teams battled through a second half that included eight ties and seven lead changes. No team led by more than four points in the half, and game stayed within a two-point range for the final seven minutes on the clock.


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.


"Big 3" hitting on all cylinders key to Bucs' success

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

Mississippi State 20 18 8


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 65.2 points per game in eight contests, which includes allowing just 60 points against Tennessee Tech and 62 at Mississippi State.


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 1,282 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 788

With those point totals, Williams would need to average 10 points a game to reach the mark ... Meanwhile, Hubbard is perhaps looking at a redshirt season after having missed most of the season so far.


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.