Bucs, Hokies set to open season Saturday; game will air on ESPN3
The ETSU men's basketball team will be aiming for their fourth 20-win season in the last five years.
Bucs, Hokies set to open season Saturday; game will air on ESPN3
Friday, November 11, 2011

BLACKSBURG, Va. (Nov. 11, 2011) – The ETSU men’s basketball team will open its 2011-12 regular season Saturday at 2 p.m., as the Buccaneers take to the road to face Atlantic Coast Conference foe Virginia Tech inside the Cassell Coliseum.

The game will air live on radio thanks to the Buccaneer Sports Network, and fans will also be able to watch the game via live video stream courtesy of ESPN3.

The Bucs, who have enjoyed two lop-sided exhibition wins so far this season, will hope to have the services of key contributors such as senior guard Adam Sollazzo (Tampa), junior guard Marcus Dubose (Hartsville, S.C.) and junior forward Lukas Poderis (Port Richey, Fla.). That trio missed the Bucs last exhibition game against Carson-Newman, and has been limited in practice this week.

ETSU, coming off a 24-win season in 2010-11, will return to Johnson City and open the home portion of their schedule on Tuesday, Nov. 15, when they host traditional rival Appalachian State. Game time is set for 7 p.m.

For more on Saturday’s game with the Hokies, click on the game notes link to the right 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.


Bucs bits

While posting its highest RPI since the 2003-04 season, head coach Murry Bartow led the  ETSU men’s basketball team to another successful season in 2010-11, a campaign that included 24 wins and ultimately ended with a run to the semifinals of the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament … Led by seniors such as Atlantic Sun Conference Player of the Year Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.) and all-conference performer Micah Williams (Manchester), the Bucs enjoyed impressive road wins at Atlantic 10 Conference member Dayton and Southeastern Conference foe Mississippi State, while also finishing second in the A-Sun Conference standings … Along with Smith and Williams, fellow senior Justin Tubbs (Trussville, Ala.) continued to impress fans with his high-flying dunks, which twice landed him as the No. 1 play of the day on ESPN’s SportsCenter and earned him a spot in the national slam dunk championships … Unfortunately for the Bucs, Smith, Williams and Tubbs have departed, leaving the team with the unenviable task of having to replace over 42 points of offensive production from a year ago – equal to 60 percent of the team’s scoring in 2010-11 … The Bucs will begin looking for those offensive numbers from returning starters such as senior guard Adam Sollazzo (Tampa) and senior forward Isiah Brown (Miami, Fla.), while senior forward Tommy Hubbard (Boston) – a 2010 A-Sun all-conference and all-tournament performer – will return to the floor after taking a medical redshirt season a year ago … Other returning players looking to improve their production will include junior guards Sheldon Cooley (Tampa) and Jarvis Jones (Memphis), junior forwards J.C. Ward (Marietta) and Lukas Poderis (Tampa), and redshirt freshman point guard Ryan Woumn (Lynn, Mass.) … The Bucs have also added a talented recruiting class that includes three true freshman and one junior college transfer … As opposed to last season – when the team returned a bevy of talented and experienced players – the younger and more inexperienced Buccaneers will face more questions than usual this season when they take the floor to open the 2011-12 campaign at Virginia Tech on Nov. 12.


The series versus Virginia Tech

The Bucs are 3-13 all-time against the Hokies, having lost in the last meeting between the two schools back in 2001 ... That last meeting was an 81-75 Virginia Tech victory, but the Bucs had won the previous two meetings in 1998 and 1999.


Last time out against Virginia Tech

BLACKSBURG, Va. (Dec, 18, 2000) -- Virginia Tech defeated East Tennessee State, 81-75, in overtime in men’s basketball action at Cassell Coliseum. ... Tech, on the strength of 6-of-9 shooting from the line in the extra period, outscored the Bucs, 14-8 in overtime. ETSU opened the game on a 10-0 run, before Tech ended the first half with a 34-14 run to take a 38-33 lead into the intermission. ... ETSU scored the first seven points of the second half, before Tech took a 67-62 lead with 1:05 remaining in regulation. ETSU scored the final five points to tie the score at 67-67 on a lay-up by Adrian Meeks with :30 remaining. The Hokies were unable to score in the final half minute of regulation to send the game to overtime.... In the extra period, ETSU jumped out to a two-point lead, but Tech took the lead on a three-pointer by Brian Chase. The Bucs were able to tie the game twice in overtime, but Tech took the lead for good, 75-72, on Chase’s second three-pointer in overtime. Tech made four-of-its-last-five free throw attempts in overtime to secure the win. ... Carlton Carter and Carlos Dixon, each with 14 points and eight rebounds, led the Hokies. It was Carter’s first game for Virginia Tech, after transferring from the University of Colorado. Meeks and D.J. McDuffie each had 16 points to lead the Bucs.


Last time out

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Nov. 5, 2011) – A relentless full-court defense and solid shooting from beyond the 3-point line helped power the ETSU men’s basketball team to a decisive 87-59 win over Carson-Newman in exhibition basketball action Saturday afternoon inside the ETSU-MSHA Athletic Center. ... The Buccaneers were forced to play their final preseason game shorthanded, as senior guard Adam Sollazzo (Tampa), junior guard Marcus Dubose (Hartsville, S.C.) and junior forward Lukas Poderis (Port Richey, Fla.) all sat out with injuries. However, ETSU made up for those absences by forcing 24 turnovers and getting double-figure scoring from four other players. ... Senior post Isiah Brown (Miami, Fla.) finished with a double-double thanks to his 19-point, 12-rebound effort, while junior guard Jarvis Jones (Memphis) also posted a 19-point game. In addition, junior guard Sheldon Cooley (Tampa) netted 17 points and dished out seven assists, while freshman guard Rashawn Rembert (Tampa) scored 14 points in his ETSU debut. ... For the game, the Bucs out-rebounded the Eagles 44-27 and enjoyed a 20-7 advantage on points off turnovers. In addition, ETSU shot 41 percent from 3-point range, while holding C-N to just 38 percent from the floor and 25 percent from beyond the arc. ... In the first half, the Bucs poured on the defensive pressure while also hitting from beyond the 3-point arc, roaring out to a quick 19-3 advantage in the opening minutes and ultimately building a sizeable 49-21 lead at the break. ... ETSU forced 14 turnovers and grabbed six steals in the first 20 minutes, while also shooting 43 percent (9-of-21) from 3-point range and 83 percent (10-of-12) from the charity stripe. ... Jones and Cooley both netted 13 points apiece before the break, hitting on a strong 6-of-11 shots from 3-point range. ... After the break, the Bucs kept up the pressure on and never let the Eagles cut into their halftime advantage.

Carson-Newman was led by Antoine Davis with a game-high 20 points, while Jared Johnson and Kennedy Eubanks scored 12 and 11 points, respectively. ... The Bucs will return to action next Saturday at 2 p.m., when they open their 2011-12 regular season slate with a trip to Blacksburg, Va., to take on Atlantic Coast Conference foe Virginia Tech.


On their way to 1,000 points

As they begin their seniors seasons, ETSU’s trio of Isiah Brown, Adam Sollazzo and Tommy Hubbard are all eying the 1,000 point mark for their careers. When the season begins on Nov. 12 against Virginia Tech, this is where each stands:


Isiah Brown........................................................................ 798 points

Tommy Hubbard ........................................................... 573 points

Adam Sollazzo ................................................................ 568 points


To reach 1,000, the three would have to average the following during the regular season:


Isiah Brown..................................................... 7.0 points per game

Tommy Hubbard....................................... 14.7 points per game

Adam Sollazzo............................................ 14.8 points per game


Block party for Brown

With a block in last season’s finale against Iona, senior forward Isiah Brown (Miami, Fla.) set a new school record for blocks in a single season, swatting away a total of 71 shots on the year ... For his career, he now stands fifth on the all-time list at 141, but just 43 blocks behind the program’s all-time leader Zakee Wadood ... In addition to those marks, Brown’s six-block performance against Belmont last year also matched the program’s single-game record ... At the time, Brown joined 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.


Getting to the free throw line a key for the Bucs

In recent years, the Bucs have focused on playing stingy defense, but also driving to the basket on offense and trying to get “tough” points thanks to fouls ... One way for the ETSU coaching staff to determine how successful the Bucs have been is charting free throw attempts and makes ... Well if this statistic is a true indicator, then the Bucs are doing just as the coaches would like ... Last season, ETSU set a school record for free throw attempts, putting up a total of 856 free tosses ... The Bucs also made their share of those attempts, ranking second on the all-time list with 580 makes ... The 2010-11 edition of the Bucs came up just nine makes short of the all-time record, held by the 1991-92 Bucs at 589.


Bucs add to postseason resume

The ETSU men’s basketball team has enjoyed its share of postseason success and ranks as one of the nation’s most prestigious basketball programs ... The Buccaneers have earned berths to the NCAA Tournament nine times (1969, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 2003, 2004, 2009, 2010) and NIT twice (1983, 2007) ... In 2011, the Bucs made their first ever appearance in the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament, winning twice and advancing to the semifinals of that event ... it was the program’s 12th postseason tournament appearance all-time.


Home Sweet Dome ... against non-conference teams

Since the 1996-97 season, the Buccaneers are an amazing 143-45 overall inside Memorial Center, good for a winning percentage of 77 percent ... But when looking at the past 10 years, the Bucs are an even more impressive 42-4 against non-conference opponents ... Last year, the Bucs went 13-2 at the Dome.


ETSU “only” A-Sun team picked among

nation’s best “Prestige” programs

Since the beginning of the modern era for NCAA Division I-A basketball – marked by the expansion of the NCAA Tournament field to 64 teams in 1984-85 – the ETSU men’s basketball program ranks in the Top 30 percent of the 300 programs that were eligible for the postseason at that time, this according to ESPN.com’s “Prestige” ranking released back in 2008 ... Since that time, the Bucs have only added to their list of prestigious honors … The Buccaneers, who have enjoyed nine NCAA Tournament trips, one NIT berth, 11 20-win seasons, and a slew of conference regular season and tournament championships since 1984-85, ranked tied for 82nd out of 300 teams, meaning they were in the Top 27 percent of schools making the list. ETSU was ranked ahead of every current Atlantic Sun Conference team, as well as former Southern Conference rivals Appalachian State, Western Carolina, Georgia Southern and UNC Greensboro. In addition, the Bucs ranked ahead of SEC schools such as Tennessee, Vanderbilt, South Carolina, Mississippi State, Georgia, Mississippi and Auburn, as well as other major programs such as Virginia Tech, Notre Dame, DePaul, Bradley, Clemson, California and Florida State.


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.