Bucs face tough matchup with Lipscomb Saturday
Bucs face tough matchup with Lipscomb Saturday
Saturday, February 19, 2011

NASHVILLE (Feb. 19, 2011) -- Faced with the challenge of overcoming an emotionally-draining loss to Belmont Thursday evening, the ETSU men's basketball team faces the equally daunting task of taking on Atlantic Sun Conference rival Lipscomb Saturday afternoon inside Allen Arena. Tip is set for 7:30 p.m. (EST).

A game that is always a battle, the Bisons will also be honoring their talented senior class prior to this game, a group that includes All A-Sun performers Josh Slater and Adnon Hodzic. The Buccaneers (19-10 overall, 14-4 A-Sun) have a great deal to play for in this game, as they look to wrap up the No. 2 seed in next month's A-Sun Tournament, while reaching 20 wins in a season for the sixth time in the last nine seasons.

For more on Saturday's game, click on the game notes link 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.


The series versus Lipscomb

The Bucs are 28-10 all-time against the Bisons, in a series that dates back to 1951 when both teams played at the NAIA level ... ETSU won the last meeting between the two teams back on Jan. 21 in Johnson City, holding on for a 68-67 victory.


Last time against Lipscomb

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. ... Despite a 10-point edge at the break, 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.


Last time out

NASHVILLE (Feb. 17, 2011) - In a game that mirrored the matchup earlier this season, the ETSU men's basketball team found itself in a tie contest with just over six minutes left, but ultimately fell 68-58 to the Belmont Bruins in Atlantic Sun Conference basketball action Thursday evening inside the Curb Event Center. ... Back on Jan. 23, the Bucs were also tied with five minutes left but lost at home to the Bruins, 72-62. With the loss, ETSU dropped to 19-10 overall, 14-4 in A-Sun play. Meanwhile, Belmont improved to 24-4 overall, 16-1 in league play, and the Bruins wrapped up the A-Sun regular season title as well as the No. 1 seed in the league tournament. ... In a game that featured the conference's top two defensive teams, the Bucs shot just 37 percent from the floor while Belmont also struggled to a 35.7 percent clip. However, the key to the game was ultimately at the foul line and on the boards, where the Bruins were 26-of-30 (87 percent) and the Bucs were just 19-of-29. In the paint, Belmont held a 44-28 edge. ... Despite the loss, the game did not begin this way. ... ETSU enjoyed a strong start to the game, pulling ahead by as many as nine points at 23-14 with 8:22 left before the break. Belmont battled back to cut the lead to four at one point, but after holding it for an apparent last shot before the break, the Bruins turned the ball over and senior guard Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.) was fouled on the other end with .9 seconds left. ... Smith was shooting a 3-pointer on the play and went on to hit two of three at the charity stripe, making it 31-24 at the break. It was only the third time this season that the Bruins have trailed at halftime, and it was nearly their lowest point total of a first half this season (23 against Tennessee on Dec. 23). ... After the break, Belmont used a methodical 13-2 run to take the lead 40-38. During that stretch, the Bucs went five minutes without a score. ETSU finally answered to tie the game at 40 on a pair of free throws from senior guard Justin Tubbs (Trussville, Ala.). ... From there, it didn't get any better for the Bucs, as Belmont continued to ramp up the defensive pressure and ultimately built a lead of 61-51 with three minutes left in the game. ETSU cut back into the edge to make it 62-56 with 2:08 remaining, but from there the Bruins were a perfect 6-of-6 from the line to seal the win. In the second half, Belmont outscored the Bucs 44-27. ... For the game, ETSU got a 14 points apiece from Smith, Tubbs and junior forward Isiah Brown (Miami), while Belmont was led by Ian Clark's game-high 18 points and an additional 10 points from Scott Saunders.


Brown matches school block record

With his six-block performance against Belmont, ETSU junior forward Isiah Brown (Miami, Fla.) matched the program's single-game record ... Brown joins six other ETSU players who have had six-block games, including former standouts Brad Nuckles, Eryk Thomas, Jerald Fields, Zakee Wadood, Greg Dennis and Greg Hamlin.


Smith wins record fourth A-Sun POTW honor

ETSU senior guard Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.) capped his career at the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center with a career-best scoring performance to earn his fourth Atlantic Sun Player of the Week honor, as announced Tuesday by the conference office. ... Smith is the only A-Sun player on record to have won four POTW awards in the same season. ... The 6-foot-6 guard scored 29 points in the win over North Florida on Feb. 13, and for the week he helped the Buccaneers to a 2-0 record. He averaged 25 points, 8.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists in those two games, while also collecting a double-double against the Ospreys thanks to his 11-rebound effort. ... Smith did much of his damage in the first half of those games, scoring 18 points against UNF and 17 points against Jacksonville prior to the intermission. For the week, he shot 49 percent from the floor, 38 percent from 3-point range, and 81 percent at the foul line.


Buccaneers place two plays on ESPN Sportscenter

The ETSU men's basketball team is making a habit of garnering airtime on ESPN Sportscenter's Top Plays. ... Just three weeks ago, ETSU senior Justin Tubbs (Trussville, Ala.) was selected as the No. 1 play of the day with his 360 degree slam dunk against Lipscomb on Jan. 21 in the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center. Well, the Buccaneers took it a step further on Friday night inside the Dome against Jacksonville, placing two plays in the Top 10 and once again taking the top slot. ... Senior guard Micah Williams (Manchester) threw down a one-handed, alley-oop slam on a pass from his roommate and fellow senior Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.). That play was picked fourth in the countdown. ... Meanwhile, Tubbs again took the show after receiving a pass from junior guard Adam Sollazzo (Tampa). Going toward the opposite end of the floor from where he dunked against Lipscomb, Tubbs executed the same 360-degree slam with even more flair. The Sportscenter hosts described it as a Winter X Games style dunk.

Williams eclipses 1,000; Smith moving up 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 1,662

Micah Williams No. 33 1,105


Sollazzo rolling in last 19 games for ETSU

Junior guard Adam Sollazzo (Tampa) has really found his rhythm in the last 19 games, leading the team with 4.3 assists per game, and ranking third on the team with 11.5 points per game ... He has netted double figures in 11 of those 19 games ... In those contests, Sollazzo is shooting an impressive 74-of-138 from the field for a 54 percent clip ... he is also averaging 3.4 rpg in this stretch ... The Bucs are 15-4 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.


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.


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.