BOONE, N.C. (Dec. 9, 2011) – With hopes of snapping its current four-game losing streak, the ETSU men’s basketball team will travel into the nearby North Carolina mountains Saturday afternoon to take on former Southern Conference rival Appalachian State. Tip time at the Holmes Center is set for 2 p.m.
The Buccaneers (3-5) defeated the Mountaineers earlier this season as part of a 3-1 start to the season. However, since then the results have turned bleak with four-straight losses – including a 0-2 start to Atlantic Sun Conference play.
For more on Saturday’s game, click on the game notebook link to the right, or check out 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 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.
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 Appalachian State
The Bucs and Mountaineers have a long history of battles on the hardwood, with ETSU holding a 78-46 edge in the all-time series dating back to 1928 ... ETSU won the last meeting earlier this season, an 81-68 victory on Nov. 15 inside the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center.
Last time out against Appalchian State
JOHNSON CITY (Nov. 15, 2011) – Forcing 29 turnovers and swiping 18 steals, the ETSU men’s basketball team imposed its defensive will on former Southern Conference rival Appalachian State, dropping the Mountaineers 81-68 in the Buccaneers’ regular season home opener at the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center. ... The Bucs had four players reach double-figure scoring on the night, led by senior guard Tommy Hubbard (Boston) with a game-high 23 points. In addition, senior guard Adam Sollazzo (Tampa) netted 16 points, senior forward Isiah Brown (Miami, Fla.) added 12 points, and junior guard Sheldon Cooley (Tampa) pitched in 11 in the winning effort. ... A crowd of 3,789 looked on as ETSU improved to 1-1 on the year, while the Mountaineers dropped to 1-1. ... The game got off to an inauspicious start for the Mountaineers, who were assessed a technical foul for dunking during pregame warm-ups. The result was a pair of made free throws from Dubose and a 2-0 lead for the Bucs before the game even tipped off. ... From there, it only got worse for ASU. The Bucs’ defensive pressure in the first half was impressive, forcing Appalachian State into multiple turnovers from the outset and by the end of the half ETSU had collected 13 steals and forced 20 turnovers by the Mountaineers. ... That defensive pressure led to a lead of as many as 19 points for the Bucs, who held a 39-23 advantage at the intermission. In all, the Bucs outscored Appy State 26-8 in the paint and 21-4 off turnovers in the first half, with Hubbard leading all scorers with 13 points. ... In the second half, ETSU maintained its double-digit lead for most of the way, but with six minutes left, App State produced a 7-0 run over the next minute of play to make it 67-60. However, from there the Bucs answered with their own 7-0 spurt to end the threat and put the game away. ... Appalachian State got a team-high 18 points from guard Jamaal Trice, while Isaac Butts posted a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds. ... For the contest, the Bucs held a 32-18 edge in points off turnovers, and a 48-34 advantage on points in the paint. Meanwhile, Appalachian State dominated the boards 46-33 and grabbed 23 offensive rebounds. ... The Bucs shot 47 percent from the floor, while holding Appy State to 39 percent from the floor.
Last time out
COOKEVILLE (Dec. 7, 2011) – Outscoring the ETSU men’s basketball team 24-4 in the opening minutes of the second half, Tennessee Tech built a lead of as many as 28 points and ultimately cruised to a 83-74 win over the Buccaneers Wednesday night in non-conference basketball action at the Eblen Center. ... The loss extended the Buccaneers current losing streak to four games, as ETSU dropped to 3-5 on the season. Meanwhile, Tech – who had lost six straight to ETSU before this contest – improved to 4-4. ... In the first half, the Bucs and Golden Eagles traded baskets for 12 minutes of game play and were tied at 17-17 with 8:23 left before the intermission. However, at that point, an eight-point run by Tech led to a lead of as many as nine points at 33-24 with just under four minutes left on the clock. ... A 3-pointer by ETSU’s Jarvis Jones (Memphis) and a layup by teammate Sheldon Cooley (Tampa) then made it a four-point game at 33-29 with 1:20 left, but Tech outscored the Bucs 4-0 in the final minute to make it 37-29 at the break. ... Another nightmarish start to the second half put the Bucs in major trouble, as Tennessee Tech came out on fire from beyond the 3-point line and went on a 14-2 run. The Golden Eagles didn’t stop there, as they went on another 10-2 over the next two minutes to make it 61-33 with 12:57 remaining. ... ETSU tried to rally at that point, cutting the lead to 13 points at 72-59 thanks to a traditional three-point play by freshman guard Rashawn Rembert (Tampa) with 5:50 left in the game. The Bucs kept clawing away and ultimately got to within nine to close out the game, but never truly threatened the Golden Eagles throughout the second half. ... The final stat sheet told the story of the game, as Tennessee Tech shot an impressive 55 percent from the field, and an even more impressive 50 percent from 3-point range. The Golden Eagles also controlled the paint, out-rebounding the Bucs 36-27. ... While ETSU did force 21 Tech turnovers and improved at the foul line – shooting 74 percent from the charity stripe (20-for-27) – the Bucs only hit on 41 percent from the field and 29 percent from the foul line. Cooley and senior forward Isiah Brown (Miami) led the Bucs with 12 points apiece.
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 62 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) 11.3 points, 5.6 rebounds, 4.8 assists
Sheldon Cooley (Tampa) 8.9 points, 2.3 rebounds, 1.9 assists
Isiah Brown (Miami, Fla.) 12.0 points, 6.9 rebounds, 0.9 assists
Lukas Poderis (Port Richey, Fla.) 5.0 points, 4.1 rebounds, 0.3 assists
In all, ETSU’s Florida players are averaging a combined 37.2 points,
18.9 rebounds, 7.9 assists and 5.0 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........................................................................ 882 points
Tommy Hubbard ........................................................... 639 points
Adam Sollazzo ................................................................ 642 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.