Bucs to meet Northeastern on day two at Cancun event
Bucs to meet Northeastern on day two at Cancun event
Thursday, December 23, 2010

CANCUN, Mexico (Dec. 23, 2010)
-- With Christmas just two days away, the ETSU men's basketball team will be wishing for some early holiday cheer in the form of a win when the Buccaneers take on Northeastern in the losers' bracket semifinals of the Cancun Governor's Cup Thursday at noon inside the Poliforum Benito Juarez.

The Buccaneers, who have dropped four of their last five games, could make the Christmas season merry with a pair of wins in their final two games prior to the holiday break. At 4-6 on the season, that would get the Bucs to .500 on the year as they prepare to head back into Atlantic Sun Conference action on Dec. 30 against Campbell inside the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center.

For more on Thursday's game, click on the game notes link above, or read the game notes below. For more on ETSU men's basketball throughout the 2010-11 season, 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 Northeastern

This will be the first ever meeting between Northeastern and ETSU.


Last time out

CANCUN, Mexico (Dec. 22, 2010) - Faced with a matchup against one of the nation's best teams in numerous statistical categories, the ETSU men's basketball team's second half rally came up a little short as Conference USA member Southern Miss dropped the Buccaneers 64-60 in the first round of the Cancun Governor's Cup Wednesday afternoon inside the Poliforum Benito Juarez. ... The Bucs, who trailed by 14 at halftime but were able to get within two points late in the second half, fell to 4-6 on the year. Meanwhile, Southern Miss - a preseason favorite in Conference USA - improved to 8-1. ETSU will now play Northeastern at noon (EST) on Thursday in the second round of the Cancun event. ... The Bucs had some significant positives in the game, such as outrebounding the Golden Eagles 37-35, as Southern Miss came into the game leading the nation in total rebounding. In addition, the Bucs outscored the Golden Eagles 41-31 in the second half. ... Both teams struggled offensively over the first 13 minutes of the game, and ETSU ultimately trailed just 13-12 with 7:52 left before the break. However, at that point Southern Miss' LaShay Page scored eight straight points and helped the Golden Eagles outscore the Bucs 20-7 to build its 33-19 edge at the intermission. ... Justin Tubbs (Trussville, Ala.) was the story of the second half for the Bucs, scoring 14 straight points in one stretch, which took a 41-25 deficit and made it 46-39. The ETSU run was eventually 20-7 and made it a 48-43 game with just under 11 minutes left in the contest. ... Unfortunately for the Bucs, Southern Miss answered at that point with a 6-0 run of its own to make it 54-43 with seven minutes left. ETSU did not go away, however, keeping the pressure on and going on a 10-2 run to make it 56-53 at the 1:27 mark. ... Southern Miss got the advantage back out to 60-53 with just 44 seconds remaining, but the Bucs made one last run capped by a deep three from Micah Williams (Manchester) with six seconds left to make it 62-60. However, the Bucs fouled the Golden Eagles' Angelo Johnson at that point and he hit both foul shots with six seconds left, as the Bucs were unable to pull off the miracle. ... For ETSU, Williams led the way with 16 points, while Tubbs finished with 14 and senior guard Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.) had 13. Southern Miss got a game-high 19 points from Gary Flowers, while D.J. Newbill had 11 and Page had 10. Flowers also grabbed 10 rebounds to post a double-double. ... Buc Bits: The games for the Cancun Governor's Cup are being played on the home floor of Cancun's FIBA professional team - the Cancun Pioneros The Bucs were without the services of 6-foot-8 junior forward Curtis Wilkinson (Bude, Miss.), who has been back in the United States due to a family illness.


ETSU in "exempt" holiday events

The Bucs have played in four previous holiday tournaments over the last seven seasons, and have had mixed success ... ETSU is 4-8 in those events, but have enjoyed solid wins such as a victory over SEC foe Georgia in the 2007 Rainbow Classic ... Georgia went on to win the SEC Tournament that season.

2003 (Rainbow Classic) -- 1-2

2006 (South Padre Island Invitational) -- 1-2

2007 (Rainbow Classic) -- 1-2

2008 (Charleston Classic) -- 1-2


"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, five of the Bucs' six 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

Mississippi 18 2 9

Southern Miss 13 16 14


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.


Bucs help bolster A-Sun to strong RPI standings

With a pair of signature wins already this season, the ETSU men's basketball team - along with other members of the Atlantic Sun Conference - is doing its part to put the league in some impressive company on the national hoops stage. ... With wins over Atlantic 10 Conference stalwart Dayton and Southeastern Conference West Division favorite Mississippi State, the Buccaneers have helped the A-Sun generate plenty of waves across the board in the national RPI rankings. As a result, one month into the 2010-11 NCAA men's basketball season, the Atlantic Sun Conference is ranked ahead of other mid-major leagues including the Southern, Ohio Valley, Big South, West Coast, Mid-American, WAC and Sun Belt. ... The A-Sun remains among the top half of the conferences in the country. CollegeRPI.com ranks the A-Sun 14th, immediately behind the Horizon, Conference USA and Missouri Valley, and ahead of the conferences mentioned above. Against the Southern, Big South, Sun Belt and Ohio Valley conferences, the A-Sun owns a 15-8 mark. ... The conference has more than held its own against the BCS conferences. With ETSU's win at Mississippi State, the conference grabbed its fifth win against the "Power-6" leagues. No conference eligible for consideration for the CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top 25 poll owns as many BCS wins as the A-Sun. The five wins represent the most for the league since they also picked up five wins in 2007-08.


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.