Bucs look to stay hot in the Dome; face Mercer Monday evening
Bucs look to stay hot in the Dome; face Mercer Monday evening
Sunday, January 30, 2011

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Jan. 31, 2011) -- Coming off one of its best offensive performances of the season, the ETSU men's basketball team will try to keep rolling Monday evening as the Buccaneers wrap up their current five-game home stand by hosting Atlantic Sun Conference for Mercer inside the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center. Tip is set for 7 p.m.

Winners of 11 of their last 12 games, the Bucs current stand at 15-8 overall, 10-2 in A-Sun play, just one game back of league leading Belmont in the loss column. Meanwhile, Mercer is currently 8-14, 5-6.

For more on Monday's game, click on the game notes link above or read the game notes located below. 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 series versus Mercer

The Bucs and Bears have met 12 times with ETSU holding a 10-2 edge ... ETSU was 8-0 in the series before losing back-to-back games to Mercer during the 2010 regular season ... The Bucs did avenge those two losses though, dropping the Bears on their home floor in the finals of the 2010 A-Sun Tournament. ... Earlier this season, the Bucs dropped Mercer 62-61 on a last second shot by junior guard Adam Sollazzo (Tampa).


Last time against Mercer

MACON, Ga. (Jan. 3, 2011) - ETSU junior guard Adam Sollazzo (Tampa) became the hero, but not until a desperation, half-court shot by the Mercer Bears inexplicably rolled off the back of the rim, giving the Buccaneers a 62-61 win in Atlantic Sun Conference play inside the University Center. ... The final seconds played out like a movie scene, as a drawn charge by sophomore post Lukas Poderis (Tampa) gave the Bucs the ball with just 11.3 seconds left and ETSU trailing 61-60. Sollazzo then took over, driving the length of the court, going down the baseline, and making an awkward, hooked bank shot to make it 62-61 with 3.7 seconds left. ... Mercer then inbounded the ball and their freshman guard Langston Hall heaved a half-court shot at the buzzer. The ball hit the front of the rim, bounced high in the air, came down to bounce twice on the back bracket and somehow managed to not fall in, rolling off to the left as the buzzer sounded. ... Making the win even more remarkable, the Bucs were playing the final two and a half minutes without junior forward Isiah Brown (Miami, Fla.), sophomore forward J.C. Ward (Marietta, Ga.), and senior guard Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.). All three had fouled out of the game, marking the first time since Nov. 28, 2007 against Chattanooga that the Bucs had that many players out of the contest. ... Sollazzo finished with 15 points, while Smith posted a game-high 19 and fellow senior guard Micah Williams (Manchester) finished with 16. For Mercer (3-10 overall, 1-2 A-Sun), forward Brian Mills had a team-high 18, Hall pitched in 13, and Brandon Moore had 12. ... The Bucs continued to struggle offensively in the early going, as they fell behind by a score of 14-4 with just under 12 minutes left before the intermission. Despite those struggles, ETSU used a 6-0 run midway through the half and a basket by Sollazzo in the final five seconds to cut the deficit to 27-25 at the break. ... In the second half, the Bucs tied the game twice in the opening two minutes, but later fell behind by seven at 40-33 following a Bears' streak of four straight 3-pointers. ETSU finally came to life in a big way at that point, putting together a 13-1 run that was capped by the first two baskets of the night for senior guard Justin Tubbs (Trussville, Ala.), making it 46-41 with just over eight minutes left in the game. ... Unfortunately for the Bucs, the Bears answered with a 15-5 offensive burst thanks to 12 points from senior forward Brian Mills, and led 56-51 with less than three minutes to go in the game. Without Brown, Ward and Smith, the Bucs still managed to scrape back into it in the final minutes to set up Sollazzo's heroics.


Last time out

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Jan. 29, 2011) - Senior guard Micah Williams (Manchester) eclipsed the 1,000-point mark for his career and the ETSU men's basketball team scored 55 first-half points, as the Buccaneers raced out of the gates and then cruised to a 93-62 win over Kennesaw State in Atlantic Sun Conference basketball action Saturday afternoon at the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center. ... Williams' milestone basket came with 17:55 left on the clock in the second half, as he sank a long-range 3-pointer from the left wing. He finished with 22 points, while fellow senior guard Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.) picked up a career high 27 points to lead all ETSU scorers. With the win, the Buccaneers improved to 15-8 overall, 10-2 in A-Sun play, winning for the 11th time in 12 games. Meanwhile, the Owls dropped to 5-16, 3-8. ... Along with Williams and Smith, junior forward Isiah Brown (Miami, Fla.) had a double-double with 17 points and 12 rebounds, while junior guard Adam Sollazzo (Tampa) enjoyed a strong effort by posting 15 points and dishing out five assists. ... In the first half, the Bucs took a 4-4 game and proceeded to go on a 20-8 run to make it 24-12 with 12:48 left on the clock. ETSU never let up from there, going on to outscore the Owls 31-17 the rest of the way and build a 55-29 lead at the break. ... The Bucs shot a blistering 65 percent from the field in the first half, including a 43 percent clip from beyond the 3-point arc. ETSU also outrebounded KSU 23-14 and forced eight turnovers by the Owls. Smith finished with 19 points before the break, while Williams pitched 13 before the break. ... After the break, the Bucs only continued to build their advantage and ultimately held its largest lead of the game at 93-51 with 3:23 left in the contest. ... For the game, ETSU shot an impressive 62 percent from the floor and out-rebounded the Owls 39-28. The Bucs forced 14 turnovers and snatched seven steals on the night. ETSU's defensive effort was strong as well, as the Bucs held KSU to 24 percent shooting from beyond the 3-point arc.


Williams eclipses 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 joined his roommate on the list against Kennesaw State (1/29) ... With a 3-pointer from the left wing at the 17:55 mark of the second half, Williams went over 1,000 for his career, becoming the 33rd ETSU player all-time to reach that number ... Meanwhile, Smith joined another select group by eclipsing 1,500 points for his career in the win over USC Upstate (1/25) ... Below is where both players stand in the all-time scoring list:

Name Place Points

Mike Smith No. 8 1,540

Micah Williams No. 33 1,008


Sollazzo rolling in last 13 games for ETSU

Junior guard Adam Sollazzo (Tampa) has really found his rhythm in the last 13 games, leading the team with 4.4 assists per game, and ranking third on the team with 12.8 points per game ... He has netted double figures in 10 of those 13 games ... In those contests, Sollazzo is shooting an impressive 59-of-91 from the field for a 65 percent clip ... he is also averaging 2.5 rpg in this stretch ... The Bucs are 11-2 during these past 13 games.


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.


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.


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 147-46 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 7-1at home.