JOHNSON CITY (Dec. 19, 2011) – After a week off to focus on study and completing finals, the ETSU men’s basketball team will be back on the floor Monday evening, taking on nearby Milligan College in non-conference hoops action at 7 p.m. inside the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center.
The Bucs (4-5 overall) are coming off a victory over Appalachian State back on Dec. 10. That win snapped a four-game losing streak, and ETSU hopes to maintain that momentum as it prepares for a Friday trip to Knoxville to take on Southeastern Conference foe Tennessee.
For more on Monday’s game, click on the game notebook 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 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 Milligan
In a series that dates back to 1921, ETSU leads Milligan 35-24 all-time ... The Bucs have won the last three against the Buffaloes, including a 103-55 victory back in 2010.
Last time out against Milligan
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Nov. 27, 2010) - Scoring 61 first-half points, the ETSU men’s basketball team’s early offensive barrage was simply too much for NAIA Division II opponent Milligan College, as the Buccaneers rolled to a 103-55 trouncing of the Buffaloes inside the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center. ... The Bucs got a double-double effort from junior Curtis Wilkinson (Bude, Miss.), as the 6-foot-8 forward finished with 15 points and 10 rebounds. Meanwhile, senior guard Micah Williams (Manchester) had a team-high 17 points to go along with four steals, while junior forward Isiah Brown (Miami, Fla.) netted 16, senior guard Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.) pitched in 13, and senior guard Justin Tubbs (Trussville, Ala.) added 11. ... Junior Adam Sollazzo (Tampa, Fla.) also had a strong night at the point, dishing out 10 assists. As a team, the Bucs enjoyed some efficiency on the offensive end that resulted in 25 assists on 38 made baskets. ... In the first half, the Bucs never let the Buffs even think about an upset. Hitting on 69 percent of their shots from the floor, 50 percent from 3-point range, and 79 percent from the foul line, ETSU built an early 10-2 lead and never looked back. ... In all, the first half ended with Milligan giving up eight turnovers on five ETSU steals, and the Buffs shot just 23 percent from the floor - 18 percent from 3-point range. ... The second half was a little better for the Buffs, as they were only outscored 42-38. However, at that point the Bucs were simply on cruise control. ... Milligan got a game-high 18 points from Hudson Fricke.
Last time out
BOONE, N.C. (December 10, 2011) – Adam Sollazzo (Tampa, Fla.) scored a game-high and career-high 23 points and Isiah Brown (Miami, Fla.) added 16 to lead ETSU past Appalachian State, 65-48, Saturday afternoon inside the Holmes Center. ... ETSU led from the very start and never trailed at any point in the contest. The Bucs improve to 4-5 on the season, while snapping a four-game losing streak. The Bucs also swept the season series from the Mountaineers after an 81-68 victory in Johnson City back on November 15. In addition, the Bucs have now won six straight against the Mountaineers dating back to 2004-05. Meanwhile, Appalachian State falls to 4-5 on the season. ... Sollazzo surpassed his previous career-high of 22 points against Campbell in last season’s regular season finale. He scored his 23 points on 8-for-15 shooting, while also adding nine rebounds, five assists and two steals. ... ETSU recorded a season-low seven turnovers on the day, while forcing Appalachian State into 18 miscues, including 11 steals. The Bucs scored 21 points off the 18 ASU turnovers. ETSU also dominated the paint by owning a 38-12 advantage scoring advantage down low. ... The Bucs got up by as much as 21 early in the second half, but Appalachian State managed to chip away at the lead. The Mountaineers cut the lead to 11 on two different occasions, but they could not get any closer. After ASU cut the lead to 51-40 with just over eight minutes to play, Sollazzo’s layup extended the lead back out and ended a 6-0 Appalachian State run. ... ETSU took the lead right away as Tommy Hubbard (Boston, Mass.) scored an uncontested layup after the Bucs controlled the opening tip – starting a 9-2 ETSU run to start the game. After Appalachian State cut the lead to four, ETSU responded by putting together a 12-2 run to extend its lead to 21-7 after a Sollazzo jumper. ETSU increased its lead to 19 with less than a minute to play after a Lukas Poderis (Port Richey, Fla.) tip-in, but the Mountaineers got a quick three-point basket from Mike Neal to cut the lead to 16. It looked as if the Bucs were going to take a 16 point lead to halftime until Sollazzo found a wide open Jarvis Jones (Memphis, Tenn.), who buried a three-pointer at the buzzer from the right wing, to take a 43-24 lead at the half.
Bucs showing “flex”-ability with offense
In ETSU’s last game, the Bucs debuted a new offensive wrinkle, utilizing one of basketball’s most traditional offenses ... The “flex” is an offense that utilizes multiple screens and a great deal of slashing throughout the paint ... The results were good for the Bucs, who enjoyed several layups and dunks against the Appalachian State Mountaineers, as they won 65-48 to snap a four-game losing streak.
Cooley among nation’s best in steals
Junior Sheldon Cooley (Tampa) has been on a torrid pace this season, averaging 2.6 steals per game ... Through games as of Dec. 11, he ranked 20th 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 153, but is just 29 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 60 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 Monday’s game, these have been the contributions of ETSU’s current Floridians:
Adam Sollazzo (Tampa) 12.6 points, 6.0 rebounds, 4.8 assists
Sheldon Cooley (Tampa) 8.1 points, 2.2 rebounds, 1.8 assists
Isiah Brown (Miami, Fla.) 12.4 points, 7.0 rebounds, 0.9 assists
Lukas Poderis (Port Richey, Fla.) 5.3 points, 4.1 rebounds, 0.2 assists
In all, ETSU’s Florida players are averaging a combined 38.4 points,
19.3 rebounds, 7.7 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........................................................................ 898 points
Tommy Hubbard ........................................................... 642 points
Adam Sollazzo ................................................................ 665 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.