Bucs hit the road for Florida swing, beginning at FGCU
Bucs hit the road for Florida swing, beginning at FGCU
Thursday, February 3, 2011

FORT MYERS, Fla. (Feb. 4, 2011)
-- After enjoying a successful five-game homestand, the ETSU men's basketball will head back on the road this weekend for a pair of Atlantic Sun Conference games, beginning Friday evening against Florida Gulf Coast inside the Alico Arena. Game time is set for 7 p.m.

The Buccaneers, 16-8 overall, 11-2 in A-Sun play, remain just one game back of Belmont for the league lead. Meanwhile, FGCU is 5-15 overall, 2-9 in league play.

For more on Friday's game, click on the game notes link located above or read the game notes 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.


Weekly Buccnaeer update

The Buccaneers went 2-0 in action last week, picking up a pair of home wins over Kennesaw State (1/29) and Mercer (1/31) With those victories, the Bucs completed their five-game home stand with a 4-1 record Currently standing at 16-8 overall, 11-2 in league play, ETSU is just one game back of Belmont for first place in the Atlantic Sun Conference standings Senior guard Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.) continues to lead the team, having picked up his third A-Sun Player of the Week honor earlier this week Last week, Smith averaged 25.7 points a game, eclipsed 1,500 points for his career, and averaged 58 percent shooting from beyond the 3-point arc In addition, Smith's roommate and fellow senior guard Micah Williams (Manchester) also averaged over 20 points a game last week, and reached the 1,000-point milestone for his career This week, the Bucs will head back on the road for contests at Florida Gulf Coast (2/4) and Stetson (2/6) For more on ETSU men's basketball, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the men's hoops link.


The series versus FGCU

The Bucs are 6-1 all-time against Florida Gulf Coast, having just started playing the Eagles since the 2007-08 season ... ETSU has won the last four meetings between the two teams ... The Bucs are 2-1 all-time against the Eagles in Alico Arena. ... ETSU won the last meeting between the two teams back on Jan. 8, 2011.


Last time against Mercer

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Jan. 8, 2011) - Senior guard Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.) produced an historic 20-point, 20-rebound effort and junior guard Adam Sollazzo (Tampa) set a new career high with 20 points as the ETSU men's basketball team dropped Atlantic Sun Conference foe Florida Gulf Coast 84-65 inside the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center. ... According to the records available to the ETSU media relations office, Smith's effort was the first time an ETSU player has eclipsed 20 points and 20 rebounds since Feb. 14, 1959, when former Buccaneer great Tom Chilton posted 35 points and 25 rebounds against Wofford. Along with Sollazzo, the Bucs got 16 points from both senior guard Justin Tubbs (Trussville, Ala.) and junior forward Isiah Brown (Miami, Fla.) to pick up the win. ... Smith's 20 rebounds was a career high for the senior. ... The first half was highlighted by Smith's performance and a 13-0 run that put the Bucs up 15 points at 30-15 with five minutes left before the half. Smith finished the first 20 minutes with a double-double already in his pocket, scoring 10 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. Meanwhile, Tubbs finished with a game-high 11 points in the first half thanks to a 3-of-7 effort from 3-point range. ... In the second half, FGCU got no closer than 13 points at 67-54 with just under six minutes left. From there, the Bucs pulled back ahead to enjoy their largest lead of the game at 82-60 with 2:29 remaining in the contest.

Last time out

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Jan. 31, 2011) - In a heated battle that included three technical fouls between the two squads, the ETSU men's basketball team overcame Mercer's hot 3-point shooting to take an 82-75 victory in Atlantic Sun Conference play Monday evening at the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center. ... The Buccaneers, who improved to 16-8 overall, 11-2 in A-Sun action, got a career high 28 points and eight rebounds from senior guard Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.), while Smith's roommate and fellow senior guard Micah Williams (Manchester) netted 23 points. Meanwhile, the Bears - who were playing without two of their top scorers due to knee injuries - shot 12-of-21 (57 percent) from 3-point range to stay in it most of the way. Despite that effort, Mercer fell to 8-15, 5-7 with the loss. ... Along with Smith and Williams, senior guard Justin Tubbs (Trussville, Ala.) returned from an injury sustained three games ago to score 13 points and collect eight boards. Mercer was led by a career high 23 points from Justin Cecil, while Mark Hall and Brian Mills contributed 12 and 10 points, respectively. ... What has become a heated series in the past continued that way at the outset on Monday, as Mercer's bench received a technical foul midway through the half and ETSU's coaching staff was warned as well. Both teams committed some physical fouls and it resulted in a back-and-forth battle. ... ETSU finally pulled back ahead and got five straight points from Smith to close out the half and lead 38-34 at the break. ... In the second half, Mercer clawed its way back into the game by yet again hitting from outside. After ETSU overcame a technical foul on junior forward Isiah Brown (Miami) and ultimately built a 55-47 lead with 12:23 left, but Mercer rallied to hit four straight 3-pointers to tie the game at 59-59. ... However, with the score 63-59 in favor of ETSU, Mercer head coach Bob Hoffman was hit with the game's third technical foul. Smith hit both free throws and ETSU connected on another shot from the charity stripe on the ensuing possession to go ahead by seven at 66-59. From there, Williams scored nine of the Bucs' next 10 points to increase the advantage to 77-65 and ETSU never looked back.


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 (Manchester) 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 1,568

Micah Williams No. 33 1,031


Smith wins his third A-Sun POTW honor this season

For the third time this season, ETSU senior guard Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.) has been named the Atlantic Sun Conference Player of the Week, the league office announced Tuesday. ... Smith became the first A-Sun player to win the weekly honor three times in a season since Mercer's James Florence accomplished that feat during the 2008-09 campaign. Last week, Smith powered the Buccaneers to a perfect 3-0 record, eclipsing 20 points in each of those victories. ... Along the way, Smith twice set new career highs for scoring in a game, netting 27 points in the win over Kennesaw State (1/29) and then posting 28 points in the win over Mercer (1/31). In addition, Smith surpassed the 1,500-point mark in the Bucs' win over USC Upstate (1/25), as the 6-foot-6 guard scored 22 points. ... In all, Smith averaged 25.7 points, 7.0 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game last week. He shot an impressive 58 percent from 3-point range, 56 percent from the field, and 91 percent at the foul line in those three wins.


Sollazzo rolling in last 14 games for ETSU

Junior guard Adam Sollazzo (Tampa) has really found his rhythm in the last 14 games, leading the team with 4.4 assists per game, and ranking third on the team with 12.6 points per game ... He has netted double figures in 10 of those 14 games ... In those contests, Sollazzo is shooting an impressive 62-of-99 from the field for a 63 percent clip ... he is also averaging 2.7 rpg in this stretch ... The Bucs are 12-2 in this span.


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.