NASHVILLE (Feb. 18, 2012) – At a time when the ETSU men’s basketball team is working to turn its season around, the Buccaneers will face a major obstacle Saturday afternoon when they take on longtime Atlantic Sun Conference rival Belmont.
Tip is set for 8:15 p.m. (EST) inside the Curb Event Center.
The Bucs, who have won just once in their previous six trips to the Curb, are currently 13-12 overall, 7-7 in A-Sun play. Meanwhile, the first-place Bruins are 20-7 overall, 12-2 in league play.
For more on Saturday’s game, click on the game notes link located 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. 13, 2012) – Shooting just 50 percent from the foul line and looking on as Jacksonville’s Aloys Cabell scored a game-high 26 points, the ETSU men’s basketball team fell to the Dolphins 61-55 in Atlantic Sun Conference play Monday evening at the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center. ... ETSU led for most of the game and actually held a 45-44 edge with just over eight minutes left in the game after a 3-pointer from junior guard Jarvis Jones (Memphis). However, from there the Dolphins put together a 9-0 run to build a 53-45 advantage and never relinquished the lead. ... While Cabell’s 26 points was the story of the game for Jacksonville, it was ETSU’s lack of offensive firepower and poor free throw shooting that doomed any chance of a Buccaneer victory. For the game, ETSU hit on just 36 percent of its shots from the floor, while going just 11-of-22 from the free throw line. ... The Bucs were even worse from long range, going just 4-of-19 (21 percent) from beyond the arc. ETSU did pick up 12 steals and forced 14 Jacksonville turnovers, but most of that damage came in the first half. Even so, the Buccaneers were unable to pull away to a significant lead before the intermission. ... As for the Dolphins, they shot a strong 52 percent from the floor and were 5-of-13 from 3-point range – going 4-of-8 from long range in the second half. Along with Cabell’s strong effort, JU also got 13 points from Tevin Galvin, which included a basket as the shot clock expired to make it 59-55 in favor of the Dolphins with just over 20 seconds left in the game. ... Junior guard Marcus Dubose (Hartsville, S.C.) scored a team-high 20 points from the Bucs, while senior guard Tommy Hubbard (Boston) posted his fifth double-double of the season with an 18-point, 13-rebound effort. ... While those two players made up most of the Bucs’ offense, the rest of the team combined to go 6-for-24 (25 percent) – which included a combined 3-for-13 effort from seniors Isiah Brown (Miami) and Adam Sollazzo (Tampa, Fla.).
The series versus Belmont
The Bucs and Bruins have met 21 times in their histories, with the Bucs trailing the series, 8-13 ... The Bucs were a perfect 5-0 against Belmont prior to 2005, when ETSU joined the Atlantic Sun Conference ... Since that time, ETSU is 3-13 against Belmont ... Three of those games have gone to overtime, with ETSU going 1-2 in those contests, ... The last meeting between the two was a 82-70 Belmont win back on Jan. 23, 2012 in Nashville.
Last time out against Belmont
JOHNSON CITY (Jan. 23, 2012) – The ETSU men’s basketball team scored an impressive 58 points in the second half of its game with the Belmont Bruins Monday night inside the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center. ... The problem for the Buccaneers was they scored just 12 in the first half. ... Falling behind 27-12 by halftime, the Bucs were unable to mount a serious comeback threat and dropped a critical 82-70 contest to their preeminent Atlantic Sun Conference rivals. ... The first half was an offensive nightmare for the Bucs, who shot a paltry 16 percent from the field and just 1-of-6 from 3-point range. It was so bad that even though Belmont – a perennially strong 3-point shooting team – had only one made 3-pointer in the first half, the Bruins were still able to build a 15-point lead by the intermission at 27-12. ... In fact, both teams struggled so much offensively that the Bruins led just 13-9 with eight minutes left in the first half. However, they went on to outscore the Bucs 14-3 the rest of the half to build a substantial lead. ... After the break, the Bruins pounded the ball inside and ultimately outscored the Bucs 48-16 in the paint in hopes of icing the game away. However, the Bucs battled throughout the final 20 minutes, scoring 58 points themselves and pulling to within nine points at 79-70 with 35 seconds left in the contest. ... For the game, ETSU shot just 37 percent from the floor while the Bruins connected on 53 percent of its attempts. The Bucs did hold the Bruins to just 26 percent from 3-point range, while ETSU was a solid 40 percent (8-of-20) from outside the arc. ... The Bucs did force 19 turnovers on 14 steals, but the poor shooting in the first half was too much to overcome. ... ETSU guards Sheldon Cooley (Tampa) and Marcus Dubose (Hartsville, S.C.) each scored a game-high 18 points, while senior guard Adam Sollazzo (Tampa) pitched in 16. For Belmont, five players reached double figures led by senior forward Mick Hedgepeth with 17 points.
Bucs lead nation in steals, Cooley ranked 12th on list
Key to the Bucs’ wins this year has been the ability to swipe the ball from opponents ... Through games of Feb. 12, 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 12th 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 (4th, 1.8), and Isiah Brown (9th, 1.5).
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 178 blocks, but is just four 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.
Sollazzo stepping up his offensive game
Senior point guard Adam Sollazzo (Tampa) has found a strong offensive rhythm in recent games ... In his last 21 games, Sollazzo has scored in double figures 18 times, eclipsing 20 points in five of those games ... Over that time frame, he has averaged 16.3 points, 4.3 assists, and 5.4 rebounds, and is shooting 45 percent from the floor. ... Sollazzo currently ranks first on the team in points (15.2 ppg) and assists (4.5 apg), and third in rebounds. (5.5 rpg).
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.
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 ................................................................... 948 points
Tommy Hubbard ................................................................ 829 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.