COOKEVILLE (Dec. 7, 2011) – In need of a win to stop its current three-game losing streak, the ETSU men’s basketball team will attempt to regain some momentum Wednesday evening, as the Buccaneers hit the road to take on former Ohio Valley Conference foe Tennessee Tech inside the Eblen Center. Tip is set for 8:30 p.m. (EST).
After starting the season 3-1 and winning the first game of their current six-game road swing, the Bucs have come upon hard times in recent days. In fact, the team dropped its first two Atlantic Sun Conference games for the first time since the 2005-06 season. However, it’s still early in the season and ETSU head coach Murry Bartow has said the team is not going to panic.
The Bucs will play on the road at Tennessee Tech and Appalachian State this week, before returning home next week to take on nearby Milligan College.
For more on Wednesday game, click on the game notes link to the right or read the game notes below. For more on ETSU men’s basketball throughout the 2011-12 season, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the men’s basketball 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.
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.
The series versus Tennessee Tech
The Bucs and Golden Eagles have met 69 times since beginning their basketball series back in 1923 ... ETSU holds a 36-33 edge in the all-time series and the Bucs have won six in a row ... ETSU won the last meeting between the two 73-60 back on Nov. 20, 2010.
Last time out against Tennessee Tech
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Nov. 20, 2010) - Senior guard Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.) scored a career high 26 points to power the ETSU men’s basketball team to a 73-60 Homecoming win over in-state rival Tennessee Tech Saturday afternoon inside the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center. ... Smith was joined in double figures by senior guard Justin Tubbs (Trussville, Ala.) with 13, while junior forward Isiah Brown (Miami) and senior guard Micah Williams (Manchester) pitched in 10 apiece. Defensively, the Bucs held the Golden Eagles to just 37 percent shooting from the floor, forced 17 turnovers, and out-rebounded Tech 37-35. ... In the first half, the Bucs trailed 8-4 with just over 15 minutes left in the half, but used a 16-0 run to build a 12-point advantage over the next five minutes. Tech answered that barraged by cutting the lead to two at 25-23, but the Bucs were ultimately able to pull away to a 32-25 advantage at the break. ... After the intermission, ETSU once again grew its lead to 12 at 47-35 thanks to a 7-0 run. However, Tech clawed its way back into it and got to within four at 58-54 with six minutes remaining. At that point, the Bucs used a final 8-0 spurt to build a comfortable 66-54 edge and pull away for the win. ... The Bucs committed just 12 turnovers in the game and grabbed seven steals. They also outscored the Golden Eagle 21-13 in points off turnovers, and enjoyed a 32-24 advantage with points in the paint. ETSU’s defense also held Tech to just 24 percent shooting from 3-point range, but Tech did hit on 81 percent (17-of-21) from the charity stripe.
Last time out
FT. MYERS, Fla. (Dec. 3, 2011) – A change in defensive strategy gave the ETSU men’s basketball team a chance – but it was not enough. ... After watching Florida Gulf Coast exploit their zone defense time after time Saturday afternoon and build a 12-point, second-half lead, the Buccaneers’ made a change to man-to-man and rallied to make it a two-point game. However, the Eagles managed to make critical plays down the stretch to hold off the Bucs’ rally and capture a 72-63 Atlantic Sun Conference victory inside Alico Arena. ... With the loss, ETSU dropped to 3-4 overall, 0-2 in A-Sun play. The Bucs also lost for the third straight game, and this is the first time since 2005 ETSU has started the A-Sun slate at 0-2. ... Meanwhile, FGCU improved to 3-5, 1-0. ... The first half opened with FGCU using an ETSU-style fullcourt press to disrupt the Bucs’ offensive efforts. That approach worked well for the Eagles, who forced four early turnovers and jumped out to a 12-4 lead just three minutes into the game. ... FGCU did not stop there, as the Bucs’ zone defense was ineffective for the third straight game and allowed the Eagles to build a lead of as many as 14 points at 34-20 with 5:14 left. Fortunately for ETSU, the Bucs did manage to outscore FGCU 8-2 to close out the half and make it 36-28 at the break. ... In the second half, FGCU’s Christophe Varidel hit a pair of 3-pointers in the early going and helped the Eagles back out to a 51-39 lead with 13:12 left in the game. However, at that point the Bucs made their defensive adjustment. ... Changing from a zone to a man-to-man defense, the Bucs finally made some much-needed defensive stops and re-energized their offensive attack. Most importantly, ETSU went on to outscore FGCU 18-8 over the next eight minutes to make it 59-57 with five minutes left. ... While it was still 61-59 with just over four minutes left, ETSU was unable to get any closer and the Eagles outscored the Bucs 11-4 the rest of the way.
Cooley among nation’s best in steals
Junior Sheldon Cooley (Tampa) has been on a torrid pace this season, averaging 2.9 steals per game ... Through games as of Dec. 2, he ranked 10th nationally in steals 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 152, but is just 30 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 did 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. ... However, this season the team has continued to make it to the line, but is shooting just 59 percent from the stripe -- in other words not capitalizing.
Florida connection proving valuable to Bucs
For much of the past 10 seasons, the Buccaneers have enjoyed a pipeline of quality players coming from the “Sunshine” state ... A glance at this year’s current roster shows that trend continuing ... Entering Thursday’s game, these have been the contributions of ETSU’s current Floridians:
Adam Sollazzo (Tampa) 12.3 points, 5.7 rebounds, 5.1 assists
Sheldon Cooley (Tampa) 8.4 points, 2.6 rebounds, 2.0 assists
Isiah Brown (Miami, Fla.) 12.0 points, 6.9 rebounds, 1.0 assists
Lukas Poderis (Port Richey, Fla.) 4.6 points, 4.1 rebounds, 0.1 assists
In all, ETSU’s Florida players are averaging a combined 37.3 points,
19.3 rebounds, 8.2 assists and 5.9 steals per game so far this season.
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. After the season opener at Virginia Tech, here is where each stands:
Isiah Brown........................................................................ 870 points
Tommy Hubbard ........................................................... 629 points
Adam Sollazzo ................................................................ 638 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
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.
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.