Bucs, Dolphins to meet on CSS in critical A-Sun matchup Friday night
Bucs, Dolphins to meet on CSS in critical A-Sun matchup Friday night
Thursday, February 10, 2011

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Feb. 11, 2011)
-- The ETSU men's basketball team begins the all-important stretch run to the season this weekend, as the Buccaneers will host Atlantic Sun Conference rival Jacksonville Friday evening inside the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center. The game will tip at 7 p.m. and air on regional cable courtesy of CSS.

The Bucs, who stand at 17-9 overall, 12-3 in Atlantic Sun play, are two games back of first-place Belmont, but just one game ahead of Jacksonville for second place. Meanwhile, the Dolphins are 16-7 overall, 10-4 in A-Sun action, and enjoyed a win over Florida earlier this year.

As the Bucs try to garner the best possible seed in the A-Sun Tournament later this year, Friday night's game against the Dolphins is critical.

For more on Friday's game, click on the game notes 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.


Bucs weekly update

The Buccaneers went 1-1 in league action last week, winning at Florida Gulf Coast (66-59) on Feb. 4, and falling to Stetson (55-54) on Feb. 6 ETSU remains two games back of Belmont for the Atlantic Sun Conference lead, while holding a one-game edge over Jacksonville for second place in the standings This week, the Bucs and Dolphins will square off head-to-head in the CSS A-Sun Game of the Week, with tip off set for 7 p.m. inside the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center. The Bucs continue to be led by senior guard Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.), who has won three A-Sun Player of the Week honors this season He is averaging a team-best 17 points and 7.0 rebounds a game.


The series versus Jacksonville

The Bucs are 9-4 all-time against the Dolphins, including a pair of wins over JU a year ago ... ETSU has won four straight in the series, including a victory over JU in the championship game of the 2009 A-Sun Tournament. ... The Bucs won the last meeting 74-62 back on Jan. 15.


Last time against Jacksonville

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (Jan. 15, 2011) - Powered by 21 points from senior guard Micah Williams (Manchester) and 16 points from fellow senior guard Justin Tubbs (Trussville, Ala.), the ETSU men's basketball team won for the eighth straight time, dropping Atlantic Sun Conference rival Jacksonville 74-62 Saturday afternoon inside the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena. ... With the win, the Buccaneers improve to 12-7 overall, 7-1 in A-Sun play, and set up a critical two-game weekend this Friday and Sunday when they will host league rivals Lipscomb (Friday) and Belmont (Sunday). Meanwhile, the Dolphins drop to 11-5, 5-2. ... Along with Williams and Tubbs, the Bucs also got 11 points from both junior forward Isiah Brown (Miami, Fla.) and junior guard Adam Sollazzo (Tampa). As a team, ETSU shot 54 percent from the field, 42 percent from beyond the 3-point arc, and 78 percent from the free throw line, while holding JU to just 33 percent from the field. ... The Bucs got off to a great start in the first half, as Tubbs and Williams both opened with a flurry of 3-pointers and ETSU used a 17-3 run over the first seven minutes to take a 20-6 lead at the 13:29 mark. Unfortunately, the 14-point edge would be the largest lead of the half for ETSU, as Jacksonville managed to slowly cut into the deficit and ultimately trailed 39-33 at the break. ... In the first half, Tubbs led the way with 14 points and a 4-of-5 clip from 3-point range. ETSU shot 56 percent from the floor and 42 percent from beyond the arc, outrebounding the Dolphins 17-15 and holding a 14-4 edge in points off the fast break ... After the intermission, Jacksonville quickly cut the Bucs lead to four at 41-37, but the Bucs put together a 6-0 spurt of their own to make it 47-37 with 16 minutes left in the game. The two teams basically traded baskets for the next six minutes, until Jacksonville got to within seven at 58-51 on a basket by Delwan Graham with 8:26 left. ... However, from there the Dolphins could not get any closer.


Last time out

DELAND, Fla. (Feb. 6, 2011) - The ETSU men's basketball team did not score for the final 5:38 of the game, giving up an 11-point lead over that time frame and watching as Stetson's Corey Walden sank a layup with 5.5 seconds left, handing the Hatters a 55-54 upset win over the Buccaneers in Atlantic Sun Conference play Sunday afternoon at the Edmunds Center. ... The Bucs had one last chance at the end, but sophomore Sheldon Cooley (Tampa) was called for an offensive foul as he ran down the lane for a potential game-winner of his own. With the loss, the Bucs - who have won 13 of their last 15 games - dropped to 17-9 overall, 12-3 in A-Sun play and fell two games back of Belmont for the league lead. Meanwhile, Stetson improves to 7-18, 5-9. ... As in past Stetson games, the Hatters attempted to slow down the pace and make it an ugly contest, utilizing an unorthodox 2-1-2 zone to stymie the Bucs. It worked early on, but a pair of 3-pointers from senior guard Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.) and a 12-3 run late in the second half helped ETSU to a 27-13 edge with 2:38 left before the intermission. ... The Bucs' advantage at the break was ultimately 27-17, and the real story for the first 20 minutes was ETSU's defensive effort, which held Stetson to just 17 points. It matched the lowest point total for an ETSU opponent this season, and was the same as when the Bucs met the Hatters back on Jan. 10. ... After the break, it was a different story. ... Stetson put together an 11-2 run in the early going to cut the Bucs' lead to just 34-30 with 14:50 left. However, from there ETSU responded thanks to a quick five points from senior guard Micah Williams (Manchester) and a 9-0 run ensued to make it 43-30 with 12:08 remaining. ... Stetson did not go away, though, and was able to make another significant run at the Bucs, methodically cutting the ETSU lead down to just one at 54-53 on a free throw by Graeme Radford with 36.5 seconds left on the clock. ... Smith was fouled after Radford missed his second of two attempts at the line, but missed the front end of the one-and-one, giving Walden his chance to become the hero. ... For the game, ETSU was led by Williams' 15 second-half points, while Smith finished with 14. Junior Isiah Brown (Miami) and sophomore Sheldon Cooley (Tampa) added 10 apiece in the loss.


Williams eclipses 1,000; Smith moving up scoring list

While senior Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.) was 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 1,598

Micah Williams No. 33 1,061


Sollazzo rolling in last 16 games for ETSU

Junior guard Adam Sollazzo (Tampa) has really found his rhythm in the last 16 games, leading the team with 4.3 assists per game, and ranking third on the team with 11.8 points per game ... He has netted double figures in 10 of those 16 games ... In those contests, Sollazzo is shooting an impressive 64-of-108 from the field for a 59 percent clip ... he is also averaging 3.1 rpg in this stretch ... The Bucs are 13-3 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.


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 9-1at home.