JOHNSON CITY (Jan. 21, 2012) – Having put itself back in the race for an Atlantic Sun Conference regular season championship, the ETSU men’s basketball team will put its five-game winning streak on the line Saturday afternoon when the Buccaneers take on conference foe Lipscomb.
Tip is set for 4 p.m. inside the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center.
The Bucs (10-7 overall, 5-2 A-Sun) find themselves just one game back of league-leading Belmont as they enter the two-game weekend stretch which begins with Lipscomb, and will include a visit from the Bruins on Monday evening at 7 p.m.
For more on Saturday’s game, click on the game notebook 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.
Last time out
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (Jan. 16, 2012) – ETSU senior guard Adam Sollazzo (Tampa) scored 19 second-half points, including a go-ahead free throw with 2.4 seconds left to lift the ETSU men’s basketball team to a 64-63 win over North Florida in Atlantic Sun Conference men’s basketball action Monday evening inside the UNF Arena. ... The Buccaneers, who trailed by 15 points in the first half and only shot 31 percent from the field before halftime, connected on 68 percent of its shots in the second half and outscored the Ospreys 23-7 at one point to rally for the win. ... The victory also marked win No. 1,200 all-time for the ETSU’s men’s basketball program. ... The Bucs picked up the victory despite the fact UNF’s Matt Sauey tossed a perfect inbounds pass the length of the court with 1.7 seconds left and found forward Travis Wallace under the basket. Wallace’s shot with less than one second left missed the mark as he fired up a shot over Sollazzo. ... Along with Sollazzo, ETSU got a 15-point effort from Brown, 12 points from Dubose, and 11 points from junior guard Sheldon Cooley (Tampa).
The series versus Lipscomb
The Bucs are 29-10 all-time against the Bisons, in a series that dates back to 1951 when both teams played at the NAIA level ... ETSU has won 10 of the last 14 meetings since joining the A-Sun, with four of those games going to overtime -- the Bucs are 3-1 in those overtime games ... ETSU won the last meeting between the two back on Feb. 19, 2011, topping Lipscomb 102-95 in double overtime.
Last time out against Lipscomb
NASHVILLE (Feb. 19, 2011) - Entering Saturday’s game, the ETSU men’s basketball team had enjoyed its share of success against Lispcomb’s talented senior class, winning games in a multitude of unbelievable storylines and going 7-2 against the Bisons over the past four seasons. ... However, nothing before had ever matched what happened on this night. ... In a double overtime game that ultimately saw Lipscomb’s talented All-Atlantic Sun Conference seniors Adnan Hodzic and Josh Slater on the bench with five fouls, the Buccaneers overcame the loss of senior leader Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.) to an early ankle injury and got great contributions throughout its lineup to pick up a classic 102-95 victory over the Bisons, ruining Senior Night for Lipscomb Saturday evening inside the Allen Arena. ... Twice Lipscomb hit shots in the final seconds to force additional time, but at the end of the night the Bucs outlasted the Bisons thanks primarily to a game-high 27 points from senior guard Micah Williams (Manchester), a double-double effort with 22 points and 11 rebounds from junior forward Isiah Brown (Miami, Fla.), and 20 points from senior guard Justin Tubbs (Trussville, Ala.). Junior guard Adam Sollazzo (Tampa) also added 14 points in the winning effort. ... In the second half, Lipscomb led by 10 at 50-40 and later by a score of 58-51, but ETSU finally managed to respond with a 10-2 run to claim a 61-60 lead. The spurt was highlighted by back-to-back 3-pointers from Tubbs. ... The Bucs later led by six at 72-66, but Lipscomb came back to tie it with a 6-0 run that made it 72-72. ETSU regained the lead at 76-74 on a Sollazzo jumper with 3.7 seconds left, but Arnett tied it with a buzzer-beating jumper as time expired, forcing the first overtime. ... In the first overtime period, the game was like a boxing match with each team taking shots and connecting. Slater scored eight straight for the Bisons, but a pair of 3-pointers from Williams and another long-range bomb from Tubbs gave ETSU the edge at 87-84 with 1:09 left. ... After a Williams made free throw, Hodzic completed a 3-point play to make it 88-87 in favor of ETSU. Sophomore forward Lukas Poderis (Tampa) later followed with a rebound on a Williams miss, getting fouled on the play and making the second of two foul shots to make the score 88-86 with 10 seconds left. ... However, Slater would be fouled on the ensuing possession with 2.7 seconds on the clock, and hit both free throws to force a second overtime period. ... In the second overtime, the Bucs went up 96-93 when Lipscomb’s Slater left the game after committing an offensive foul on a drive to the basket. This left the Bisons without both Arnett and Slater and 3:11 left on the clock. ... Lipscomb later lost Brandon Barnes with five fouls after technicals were assessed to both Barnes and ETSU’s Brown. After making it 96-95, Lipscomb then said goodbye to Hodzic when he fouled Sollazzo on a drive to the basket with 57.3 seconds left. ... Sollazzo hit both foul shots to make it 98-95, and Lipscomb then missed a 3-pointer by junior Barndon Burgason. Poderis got the rebound and Williams was later fouled. The senior guard hit both shots, making it 100-95 with 26.4 seconds left and from there the Bucs put the game away.
Sollazzo earns A-Sun player of the week honors
MACON, Ga. (Jan. 17, 2012) – Fresh off leading the ETSU men’s basketball team to a pair of wins over the weekend, ETSU senior guard Adam Sollazzo (Tampa) was selected as the Atlantic Sun Conference player of the week on Tuesday, the conference office announced. ... Sollazzo, whose weekend was highlighted by a game-winning free throw in Monday’s 64-63 win over North Florida, averaged 19.5 points, 6.0 assists, 5.5 rebounds and two steals per game this past week. He scored game-highs in both the North Florida (21 points) and Jacksonville (18 points) games, helping lead the Bucs past the Dolphins by 14 points on Saturday. ... It was the second career A-Sun POTW honor for Sollazzo, and the second time this season the Bucs have had an honoree – Marcus Dubose won the honor for the week of Nov. 29.
Bucs, Cooley among nation’s best in steals
Key to the Bucs’ wins this year has been the ability to swipe the ball from opponents ... Through games of Jan. 15, ETSU ranked second in the country in steals per game, averaging 10.2 steals a contest ... Meanwhile, junior Sheldon Cooley (Tampa) has been on a torrid pace this season and a big reason for the Bucs’ success in the steals category, averaging a conference best 2.3 steals per game ... Through games as of Jan. 15, he ranked 28th nationally in steals per game. ... The Bucs have three players ranked in the Top 10 among A-Sun Conference players in steals: Cooley (1st, 2.3), Tommy Hubbard (4th, 1.8), Adam Sollazzo (6th, 1.6).
Sollazzo stepping up his offensive game
Senior point guard Adam Sollazzo (Tampa) has found a strong offensive rhythm in recent games ... In his last 13 games, Sollazzo has scored in double figures 12 times, eclipsing 20 points in five of those games ... Over that time frame, he has averaged 18.5 points, 4.9 assists, and 5.2 rebounds, and is shooting 49 percent from the floor. ... Sollazzo currently ranks first on the team in points (16.3 ppg) and assists (5.1 apg), and third in rebs. (5.5 rpg).
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. ... This season, after starting out the year shooting poorly from the foul line, the Bucs are have improved those numbers and are now shooting 64 percent for the year.
Poderis reaches career mark for rebounds
In recent weeks, junior forward Lukas Poderis (Port Richey, Fla.) has become a truly valuable part of the Buccaneers attack ... In the win over Mercer, Poderis picked up a career high 10 rebounds, and that effort came two days after he matched his career high for points with 14 against USC Upstate ... In the win over Kennesaw State in the Bucs’ last game, he posted another nine-rebound effort ... For the year, Poderis is averaging 5.0 points and 5.0 rebounds in 19.8 minutes 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 tied for third on the all-time list at 167, but is just 15 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.
Bucs showing “flex”-ability with offense
In ETSU’s game against Appalachian State back on Dec. 10, 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 Mountaineers, as they won 65-48 to snap a four-game losing streak.
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 Bucs’ last game, here is where each stands:
Isiah Brown............................................................................... 971 points
Tommy Hubbard ...................................................................... 732 points
Adam Sollazzo ......................................................................... 829 points
To reach 1,000, the three would have to average for the 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 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 and one CIT berth, 14 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 programs such as Virginia Tech, Notre Dame, DePaul, Bradley, Clemson, California and Florida State.