JOHNSON CITY (Feb. 13, 2012) – The ETSU men’s basketball team will be looking to go a perfect 4-0 against the Atlantic Sun Conference’s Jacksonville, Fla., representatives, as the Buccaneers take on Jacksonville University Monday evening at 7 p.m. inside the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center.
The game will air on both ASun.TV as well as ESPN3.
The Bucs (13-11 overall, 7-6 A-Sun) swept both North Florida and Jacksonville on their trip to Jax earlier this season, and after a 65-50 win over UNF on Saturday, the Bucs are hoping to make it a perfect sweep over this Florida contingent with a win Monday.
With seeding to the A-Sun Tournament on the line and teams entering the final two weeks of regular season play, the time is now to build momentum heading into the championships slated for the first weekend in March at the University Center in Macon, Ga.
For more on Monday’s game, click on the game notes link to the right or read the game notes located 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
JOHNSON CITY (Feb. 11, 2012) – Senior forward Isiah Brown (Miami, Fla.) scored a career high 27 points and the ETSU men’s basketball team used a 19-0 offensive run in the second half to capture a 65-50 win over North Florida in Atlantic Sun Conference play at the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center. ... With the win, the Buccaneers improved to 13-11 overall, 7-6 in A-Sun action, while the Ospreys dropped to 13-14, 7-7. ... Brown – whose previous career high was 25 points against Kentucky back in 2010 – was joined in double figures by senior guard Adam Sollazzo (Tampa) with 16 points, while junior guard Sheldon Cooley pitched in 11. ... The Bucs shot 50 percent from the field and out-rebounded the Ospreys 31-23. ETSU also enjoyed a huge advantage in the paint, outscoring UNF 34-18 from close range. ... It was a back-and-forth contest until early in the second half. Leading 35-33, the Ospreys looked on as the Bucs put together a 19-0 run to take their largest lead of the contest at 52-35. From there, UNF could not get any closer than 11. ... In first half, ETSU roared out to an early 17-9 lead after an 8-0 run. However, from there UNF hit four 3-pointers in their next seven made field goals to pull back to within one point at the halftime break, 31-30. The Bucs thought they had made it a three-point game as junior guard Jarvis Jones (Memphis) dropped in a layup at the intermission buzzer, but the play was wiped off for a charge.... Brown was the story of the first half, metting 13 points and helping the Bucs out-rebound the Ospreys 17-13. ... For the game, North Florida shot 42 percent from the floor and 35 percent from 3-point range. Meanwhile, the Bucs hit on a 43 percent clip from beyond the arc and 75 percent at the free throw line. ... North Florida was led by 17 points from guard Parker Smith.
The series versus Jacksonville
The Bucs are 11-4 all-time against the Dolphins, including a pair of wins over JU a year ago, and another earlier this season, 72-58, back on Jan. 14 ... ETSU has won six straight in the series.
Last time out against Jacksonville
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (Jan. 14, 2012) – Using a first half scoring surge, the ETSU men’s basketball team built a 19-point halftime lead and went on to take a 72-58 win over Jacksonville in Atlantic Sun Conference men’s basketball play Saturday afternoon at the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena. ... The Bucs got a game-high 18 points from senior guard Adam Sollazzo (Tampa), while fellow senior guard Tommy Hubbard (Boston) provided a 16-point, nine-rebound effort. Along with that duo, senior forward Isiah Brown (Miami, Fla.) had 13 points, and junior guard Sheldon Cooley (Tampa) netted 11. ... In the first half, ETSU led just 15-14 with 12 minutes left before the break, but closed out the first 20 minutes on a 23-5 run to take a 38-19 lead into the locker room. ... The Bucs shot a blistering 55.2 percent from the floor in the first half, while holding the Dolphins to just 36.4 percent shooting and forcing 10 turnovers by JU. ETSU got a team-high 12 points from Hubbard in the first half, as the Bucs held a 26-12 advantage on points in the paint and a 12-2 edge on points off turnovers. ... In the second half, ETSU led by as many as 21 points at 60-39 with 8:38 left. However, Jacksonville managed to cut into that deficit and made it an 11-point game at 63-52 with 4:04 remaining. ... ETSU answered at that point with a 6-0 run to make it 69-52 and ended any JU chance for a rally. ... For the game, ETSU shot 55 percent from the floor and forced Jacksonville into 19 turnovers on 10 steals. The Bucs outscored JU 44-28 in the paint, and 23-17 off turnovers. The Dolphins shot 43 percent from the floor for the game. ... For JU, three players led the way with 10 points apiece, they were Aloys Cabell, Keith McDougald, and Evin Graham.
Home Sweet Dome
Despite losing its last two games inside the Dome, since the 1996-97 season the Buccaneers are an amazing 151-47 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 46-4 against non-conference opponents ... Last year, the Bucs went 13-2 at the Dome ... This year the Bucs are 8-2 in Johnson City.
Bucs lead nation in steals, Cooley ranked 11th on list
Key to the Bucs’ wins this year has been the ability to swipe the ball from opponents ... Through games of Feb. 9, ETSU ranks No. 1 in the country in steals per game, averaging 10.5 steals a contest ... In fact, in the Bucs’ last game, the team swiped 18 steals against James Madison (1/30) ... 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 2.4 steals per game ... He currently ranks 11th nationally in steals per game. ... The Bucs have four players ranked in the Top 10 among A-Sun Conference players in steals: Cooley (1st, 2.4), Tommy Hubbard (2nd, 2.0), Adam Sollazzo (5th, 1.8), and Isiah Brown (10th, 1.4).
Rembert breaks out
Freshman guard Rashawn Rembert (Tampa), who was recruited for his ability to score the basketball, came off the bench to provide valuable minutes in the Bucs’ win over Kennesaw State (2/4) ... Going a perfect 4-for-4 from the field and 3-for-3 from 3-point range, Rembert netted 11 points for ETSU during a critical stretch midway through the game ... Afterwards, head coach Murry Bartow commented how Rembert was probably the player of the 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 is now second on the all-time list with 176 blocks, but is just six 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.
Brown sets new career mark
With his 27-point effort in the win over North Florida, senior forward Isiah Brown (Miami, Fla.) set a new career high for single-game scoring ... Brown, who was honored prior to the UNF game for recently eclipsing 1,000 points for his career, put on an offensive show against the Ospreys ... For the 6-foot-8 senior, it was his best game since netting 25 points against Kentucky in the 2010-11 season opener.
Sollazzo stepping up his offensive game
Senior point guard Adam Sollazzo (Tampa) has found a strong offensive rhythm in recent games ... In his last 20 games, Sollazzo has scored in double figures 18 times, eclipsing 20 points in five of those games ... Over that time frame, he has averaged 17.0 points, 4.3 assists, and 5.4 rebounds, and is shooting 46 percent from the floor. ... Sollazzo currently ranks first on the team in points (15.7 ppg) and assists (4.5 apg), and third in rebounds. (5.5 rpg).
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, he posted another nine-rebound effort ... For the year, Poderis is averaging 4.4 points and 4.5 rebounds in 20.8 minutes a game.
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 began their seniors seasons, ETSU’s trio of Isiah Brown, Adam Sollazzo and Tommy Hubbard were all eying the 1,000 point mark for their careers. While Brown has now reached the mark, Hubbard and Sollazzo are still in the hunt. After the Bucs’ last game, here is where each stands:
Adam Sollazzo ................................................................ 945 points
Tommy Hubbard ........................................................... 811 points
To reach 1,000, the three would have to average for the season:
Adam Sollazzo............................................ 14.8 points per game
Tommy Hubbard....................................... 14.7 points per game
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 as a team.
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.