JOHNSON CITY (Feb. 25, 2012) – With hopes of finishing the regular season on a three-game winning streak, the ETSU men’s basketball team will take on Florida Gulf Coast Saturday afternoon at 4 p.m. inside the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center.
The game will air live on ESPN3.
The Buccaneers will honor seniors Isiah Brown (Miami, Fla.), Tommy Hubbard (Boston) and Adam Sollazzo (Tampa) prior to the tip off, a trio that will be playing their final home game in an ETSU uniform. The Bucs currently stand at 15-13 overall, 9-8 in A-Sun action.
For more on Saturday’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.
Last time out
JOHNSON CITY (Feb. 23, 2012) – Placing three players in double figures and holding Stetson’s high-powered offense to just 56 points, the ETSU men’s basketball team picked up its second straight win and cruised to a 72-56 victory over the Hatters Thursday evening in Atlantic Sun Conference play at the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center. ... Senior forward Isiah Brown (Miami, Fla.) scored a game-high 22 points to lead the Buccaneers’ offensive attack, while senior guard Adam Sollazzo (Tampa, Fla.) and junior guard Marcus Dubose (Hartsville, S.C.) pitched in 19 and 15 points, respectively. Meanwhile, the Bucs’ defense held Stetson to 39 percent shooting and forced 13 Hatter turnovers. ... The distractions were obvious, and the absence of those players did not go unnoticed. The Buccaneers, who improved to 15-13 overall, 9-8 in A-Sun action, were without the services of senior guard Tommy Hubbard (Boston) and junior guard Sheldon Cooley (Tampa). ... Hubbard sat out for precautionary reasons after hitting his head during a fall in the win over Lipscomb Monday night, while Cooley is now suspended indefinitely from the team following his arrest Thursday for filing a false police report. Cooley, who was not at the scene of an especially aggravated burglary that occurred inside his residence at BucRidge on Tuesday, Feb. 21, reported to police that $1,300 in cash belonging to him was taken by the intruders. ... Even without those two key contributors, the Bucs rolled throughout the game, trailing only momentarily in the opening minutes and ultimately leading by as many as 14 points in the first half. By the break, the Bucs owned a 29-19 advantage. ... After the intermission, ETSU opened with an 11-2 run to make it 40-21. From there, Stetson managed to make it a 10-point contest at 49-39 with 10:35 left in the game, but the Bucs regrouped to put together a 12-3 run, laying to rest any chance of a Hatter rally. ... For the game, ETSU shot 45 percent from the floor and 68 percent from the free throw line. The Bucs out-rebounded the Hatters 39-36 and committed just seven turnovers on the night. ... Along with the efforts of Brown, Sollazzo and Dubose, junior forward Lukas Poderis (Port Richey, Fla.) posted a career high 11 rebounds on the night, while pitching in six points. ... Stetson shot just 39 percent from the field and 21 percent from 3-point range, committing 13 turnovers and giving up six steals to the Bucs. For the Hatters, Adam Pegg was the lone bright spot with a 13-point effort.
The series versus Florida Gulf Coast
In a series that began in 2008, the Bucs own a 6-2 advantage in the all-time record books against FGCU ... ETSU’s last meeting with the Eagles came on Dec. 3, 2011, a 72-63 road loss.
Last time out against Florida Gulf Coast
FT. MYERS, Fla. (Dec. 3, 2011) – A change in defensive strategy gave the ETSU men’s basketball team a chance – but it was not enough. ... After watching Florida Gulf Coast exploit their zone defense time after time Saturday afternoon and build a 12-point, second-half lead, the Buccaneers’ made a change to man-to-man and rallied to make it a two-point game. However, the Eagles managed to make critical plays down the stretch to hold off the Bucs’ rally and capture a 72-63 Atlantic Sun Conference victory inside Alico Arena. ... The first half opened with FGCU using an ETSU-style fullcourt press to disrupt the Bucs’ offensive efforts. That approach worked well for the Eagles, who forced four early turnovers and jumped out to a 12-4 lead just three minutes into the game. ... FGCU did not stop there, as the Bucs’ zone defense was ineffective for the third straight game and allowed the Eagles to build a lead of as many as 14 points at 34-20 with 5:14 left. Fortunately for ETSU, the Bucs did manage to outscore FGCU 8-2 to close out the half and make it 36-28 at the break. ... In the second half, FGCU’s Christophe Varidel hit a pair of 3-pointers in the early going and helped the Eagles back out to a 51-39 lead with 13:12 left in the game. However, at that point the Bucs made their defensive adjustment. ... Changing from a zone to a man-to-man defense, the Bucs finally made some much-needed defensive stops and re-energized their offensive attack. Most importantly, ETSU went on to outscore FGCU 18-8 over the next eight minutes to make it 59-57 with five minutes left. ... While it was still 61-59 with just over four minutes left, ETSU was unable to get any closer and the Eagles outscored the Bucs 11-4 the rest of the way. ... The Bucs were led offensively by guard Adam Sollazzo (Tampa), who scored a team-high 17 points, while senior forward Tommy Hubbard (Boston) had a double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds. FGCU was led by Sherwood Brown’s 20 points. ... While the Bucs out-rebounded the Eagles 40-28 and shot a much-improved 70 percent from foul line, it was other areas that cost the Bucs on this night. FGCU shot a strong 54 percent from the field, while ETSU hit on just 35 percent of its field goal attempts. The Eagles also shot 40 percent from the 3-point stripe (8-of-20).
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, 1.6).
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.
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 -- twice
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 ... He rewrote the record books for his rebounding with a new personal best of 11 boards against Stetson (2/23) ... In the win over Kennesaw State, he posted another nine-rebound effort ... For the year, Poderis is averaging 4.1 points and 4.6 rebounds in 20.3 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 ................................................ 983 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.