Bucs, Belmont set for pivotal rivalry game Sunday inside the Dome
Bucs, Belmont set for pivotal rivalry game Sunday inside the Dome
Saturday, January 22, 2011

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Jan. 23, 2011)
-- In one of its most anticipated home games in quite some time, the ETSU men's basketball team will host Atlantic Sun Conference rival Belmont in a battle for first place in the league Sunday inside the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center. Game time is set for 4 p.m.

The Bucs (13-7, 8-1) are winners of nine straight and enter the game undefeated inside the Dome this season. Meanwhile, Belmont (17-3, 9-0) has been rolling through the league this season and have enjoyed multiple wins by 20 or more points. Both teams have dominated the A-Sun in recent years, with Belmont winning the league tournament from 2006-08 and ETSU capturing the last two league events in 2009 and 2010.

This matchup will only add to the tradition of this heated rivalry.

For more on Sunday's matchup, click the game notes link above or read the game notes 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 ... 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 Belmont

The Bucs and Bruins have met 18 times in their histories, with the Bucs trailing the series, 8-10 ... The Bucs were a perfect 5-0 against Belmont prior to 2005, when ETSU joined the Atlantic Sun Conference ... Since that time, ETSU is 3-10 against Belmont ... In fact, three of those games have gone to overtime, with ETSU going 1-2 in those contests, ... The last meeting between the two was an 74-67 Belmont win back on Feb. 1 inside the Dome.


Last time against Belmont

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Feb. 1, 2010) - Despite a 16-2 run that pulled the ETSU men's basketball team to within two points in the final two minutes, freshman guard Sheldon Cooley (Tampa) missed a dunk that would have tied the game and the Belmont Bruins used the momentum shift of that moment to pull away for a 74-67 win in Atlantic Sun Conference action inside the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center. ... A crowd of 4,137 fans looked on as the Bruins surged ahead to a 63-47 advantage with 6:23 left in the game. However, the Bucs used a frantic pace and fullcourt defense to force the issue in the final minutes, going on an offensive run that ultimately led to Cooley with the ball in his hands going to the basket. On the play, though, senior guard Jocolby Davis (Meridian, Miss.) appeared to be shoved to the floor, distracting Cooley at the final moment before he dunked the ball. ... Both teams battled back and forth in the first half, with the Bucs using an 8-0 run to build a seven point lead at 22-15 with 8:04 left before the intermission. However, the Bruins (13-10, 8-5) answered over the next seven minutes to take a 33-30 edge into the locker room. ... In the second half, the Bruins kept converting on the offensive end as the Bucs struggled to find their comfort zone in the halfcourt offense. The result was a Belmont lead that grew to as many as 17 points when an Ian Clark 3-pointer found the bottom of the net with 7:08 left in the game. ... However, the Bucs rallied thanks to a 3-pointer from Cooley, five straight points from sophomore forward Isiah Brown (Miami), four straight free throws from junior forward Tommy Hubbard (Boston), and four final points from Davis on a pair of free throws and a layup. Those scores came as Belmont could only get a pair of free throws from forward Jon House. ... For the game, ETSU got a team high 17 points from Brown, while Hubbard finished with his 11th double-double.


Last time out

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Jan. 21, 2011) - Senior guard Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.) grabbed a critical offensive rebound with 18.9 seconds left and scored a team-high 20 points to lead the ETSU men's basketball team to a hard fought 68-67 win over Atlantic Sun Conference rival Lipscomb Friday evening inside the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center. ... After junior forward Isiah Brown (Miami, Fla.) hit the front end of a two-shot foul with 18.9 second left and made it 65-62, Smith battled through the lane and pulled away the rebound on Brown's second-shot miss. That resulted in another make at the line by fellow senior guard Micah Williams (Manchester) to give the Bucs a four point edge with 13.7 seconds left. The advantage proved to be enough even though another basket and a last second 3-pointer by Lipscomb's Josh Slater ultimately made the score 68-67. ... In the first half, Lipscomb took its one and only lead of the game at 3-2 after a free throw by guard Jordan Burgason. From there, the two teams traded baskets until five minutes left in the half with the score at 21-19. At that point, the Bucs proceeded to outscore the Bisons 17-9 to close out the half and take a 38-28 lead into the locker room. ... Despite the 10-point edge, ETSU could not hold Lipscomb down as the Bisons went on a 16-6 run to open the second half and tie the game at 44. Lipscomb later tied it at 48, but from there the Bucs pulled back ahead by six at 59-53 with just over five minutes left in the game. ... The Bisons would not get closer than two points until 1.1 second left in the game when Slater's fall-away 3-pointer found the mark to make it 68-67. ... Smith led the way with 20, while Brown and junior guard Adam Sollazzo (Tampa) each scored 10. Slater needed a game-high 27, while senior forward Adnan Hodzic posted a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds.


Bartow gets wins No. 250 overall and 150 at ETSU;

ranks among best coaches in last five years

With his team's win over Florida Gulf Coast on Jan. 8, ETSU head coach Murry Bartow picked up his 250th career victory ... He then collected his 150th win at ETSU when the Bucs downed Jacksonville on Jan. 15 ... 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.


Williams chasing 1,000; Smith moving up scoring list

While senior Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.) is already a member of the 1,000-point club, fellow senior Micah Williams has a shot at making it to the group., Meanwhile, Smith continues to climb the all-time scoring chart. Below are numbers for both players:

Name Current Points

Micah Williams 947

With those point totals, Williams would need to average just 5.0 points a game for the Bucs' final 11 regular season games to reach 1,000. Smith stands at 1,480 points, and just recently overtook former Buccaneer great Zakee Wadood (Lonoke, Ark.) for No. 8 on the ETSU all-time scoring list. Here are is the breakdown:

Name Place Points

Troy Lee Mikell No. 7 1,684

Mike Smith No. 8 1,480

Zakee Wadood No. 9 1,382

Harley Swift No. 10 1,367


Smith's 20/20 vision

leads Bucs over FGCU

With his 20-point and 20-rebound effort against Florida Gulf Coast on Jan. 8, 2011, senior guard Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.) made history ... According to the statistics available to the ETSU media relations office, Smith was the first Buccaneer since Feb. 14, 1959 to post a 20/20 effort ... The last was Buc great Tom Chilton, who scored 35 points and grabbed 25 rebounds in a win over Wofford during the 1959 season. ... In addition, Smith is only the third player nationally to achieve that mark this season.


Sollazzo rolling in last

10 games for ETSU

Junior guard Adam Sollazzo (Tampa) has really found his rhythm in the last 10 games, leading the team with 4.5 assists per game, and ranking third on the team with 12.8 points per game ... in those 10 games Sollazzo is shooting an impressive 45-of-74 from the field for a 61 percent clip ... he is also averaging 2.6 rpg in this stretch ... The Bucs are 9-1 during these past 10 games.


"Big 3" hitting 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 ... However, so far this season, six of the Bucs' seven losses have coincided with poor output from the trio .


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 2007-08.


Home Sweet Dome

Since the 1996-97 season, the Buccaneers are an amazing 145-45 inside Memorial Center, good for a winning percentage of 76 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 ... 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 dropped off to a 9-5 clip at the Dome ... This season, the Bucs are 6-0 at home.