JOHNSON CITY (Feb. 23, 2012) – Having picked up a win during its most recent road swing, the ETSU men’s basketball team will look to close out the regular season with two more home victories starting Thursday night against Atlantic Sun Conference foe Stetson.
Tip between the Buccaneers and Hatters is set for 7 p.m. inside the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center.
A loss to Stetson earlier this season tripped up the Bucs’ plans for a regular season league title, but ETSU hopes to reverse that trend with a victory Thursday. This game will also have postseason implications, as the Bucs are looking improve their seeding in the league tournament, while Stetson is still battling for a spot in the championships.
For more on Thursday’s game, click on the game notebook 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
NASHVILLE (Feb. 20, 2012) – Junior guard Marcus Dubose (Hartsville, S.C.) hit a decisive 3-pointer with 33 seconds left on the clock and the ETSU men’s basketball team scored the final seven points of the game to drop Lipscomb 66-57 in Atlantic Sun Conference men’s basketball action Monday night inside Allen Arena. ... The Bucs were led offensively by a trio of players. Senior forward Isiah Brown (Miami, Fla.) finished with a double-double thanks to his 19-point, 11-rebound effort. Meanwhile, junior guard Sheldon Cooley (Tampa) scored 17 points to go with four assists and three steals, and Dubose finished with 16 points thanks to a 4-of-7 shooting night from 3-point range. ... In the first half, ETSU opened the scoring with seven straight points, but watched as Lipscomb battled back to tie the game at 11-11. From there, ETSU used an 8-0 run to go up 19-11, and later used another 7-0 spurt to ultimately lead 26-17 at the break. ... Brown led the way for ETSU in the early going with 11 points, while the Bucs’ defense forced 10 Lipscomb turnovers and picked up six steals in the first 20 minutes. ... The Bucs lost senior guard Tommy Hubbard (Boston) early in the game, as he went up to steal a pass and collided with Lipscomb’s Deonte Alexander. On the play, Hubbard lost his balance and fell hard, hitting his head on the floor before landing on his back. ... Hubbard was conscious following the play and went to the training room for tests, but he missed the rest of the contest and will be evaluated further in the coming days. ... After the break, ETSU led by as many as 13 after scoring the first four points of the half. However, Lipscomb battled back over the next 16 minutes to make it 56-54 with 2:58 left on the clock. ... From there, Lipscomb stayed within two at 59-57, but at that point, Dubose sank his fourth 3-pointer of the game as the shot clock wound down to make it 62-57 with 33.3 seconds left in the contest. ... The Bucs got two big defensive stops from there, while free throws from Cooley and freshman forward John Walton (Memphis), as well as a dunk later from Cooley closed out the game’s scoring. ... Walton finished with three blocks, three rebounds, four steals and two points in 21 minutes of action, making the most of his playing time following Hubbard’s departure and after Lukas Poderis fouled out late in the second half.
The series versus Stetson
ETSU has faced the Hatters 16 times and the Bucs hold a 9-7 advantage in the series ... However, Stetson has won the last two meetings, including a 73-65 victory back on Dec. 1 of this season.
Last time out against Stetson
DELAND, Fla. (Dec. 1, 2011) – A nightmarish start to the second half doomed the ETSU men’s basketball team inside the Edmunds Center, as the Stetson Hatters used a 24-7 offensive run to build a 22-point lead and ultimately drop the Buccaneers 73-65 in the Atlantic Sun Conference opener for both teams. ... In the first half, ETSU struggled to find a rhythm offensively and Stetson used the Bucs’ slow start to build a lead of as many as nine points at 25-16, thanks primarily to a 7-0 offensive run late in the half. However, ETSU clawed its way back into the game by outscoring the Hatters 9-3 to make it 28-25 at the break. ... The second half started as a nightmare for the Bucs, as the Hatters went on a 10-0 run early on and ultimately used a 24-7 spurt to make it 58-36 with 9:12 left in the game. From there, Stetson maintained a 20-point plus edge until the 7:26 mark, but at that point ETSU did manage a rally thanks to a 17-2 run that made it 67-60 with 30 seconds left in the game. ... But from there, Stetson hit a basket and went 4-for-4 from the foul line to complete the eight-point victory. ... For the game, a key stat that hurt the Bucs’ effort was in the paint, as Stetson held an impressive 45-28 advantage on the boards. Meanwhile, Stetson shot a blistering 46 percent (11-of-24) from 3-point range, as ETSU struggled at the foul line with a 54.2 percent (13-of-24) clip. ... The Bucs also committed 16 turnovers, compared to Stetson’s 23. ... Individually, the Bucs got a team-high 20 points from senior forward Isiah Brown (Miami), while senior guard Adam Sollazzo (Tampa) pitched in 13 points, and junior guard Marcus Dubose (Hartsville, Ky.) added 11. ... Stetson got a team-high 20 points from Aaron Graham, who led four Hatters in double figures.
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 181 blocks, but is just one 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 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. 19, ETSU ranks No. 1 in the country in steals per game, averaging 10.5 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 2.5 steals per game ... He currently ranks 11th nationally in steals per game. ... The Bucs have three players ranked in the Top 10 among A-Sun Conference players in steals: Cooley (1st, 2.5), Tommy Hubbard (2nd, 2.0) and Adam Sollazzo (5th, 1.7).
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.
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 23 games, Sollazzo has scored in double figures 18 times, eclipsing 20 points in five of those games ... Over that time frame, he has averaged 15.6 points, 4.1 assists, and 5.3 rebounds, and is shooting 44 percent from the floor. ... Sollazzo currently ranks first on the team in points (14.7 ppg) and assists (4.3 apg), and third in rebounds (5.4 rpg).
Walton provides valuable minutes off the bench
Having waited patiently for an opportunity to contribute, freshman forward John Walton (Memphis) made the most of his opportunity in the Bucs’ win over Lipscomb (2/20) ... With senior guard Tommy Hubbard (Boston) out with an injury early in the game, Walton came on and set new career marks for minutes played (21), rebounds (3), blocks (3) and steals (4) ... He also pitched in a pair of free throws ... For the 6-foot-8 forward, it was a chance to show what he can bring to the Bucs’ lineup.
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 4.0 points and 4.3 rebounds in 19.7 minutes a game.
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 ................................................................ 964 points
Tommy Hubbard ........................................................... 836 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.