JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Jan. 12, 2013) – With a chance to get back in the race for at Atlantic Sun Conference regular season title, the ETSU men’s basketball team will welcome league-leading Florida Gulf Coast to the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center at 4 p.m. on Saturday.
The Buccaneers (3-13 overall, 1-2 A-Sun) are coming off a tough 72-70 loss to Stetson on Thursday night. Meanwhile, FGCU (12-6, 4-1) enjoyed an overtime win over USC Upstate that same evening.
For more on Saturday’s game, read the game notes located below or click on the game notes link above. For more on ETSU men’s basketball throughout the 2012-13 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.
After several years of quality returning players and at least some level of certainty regarding what to expect heading into the winter months, the 2012-13 ETSU men’s basketball team will enter the new campaign with several questions and concerns. ... The loss of standout seniors such as Adam Sollazzo (Tampa), Isiah Brown (Miami, Fla.) and Tommy Hubbard (Boston) will be hard to overcome, considering that group combined for a total of 3,091 points in their careers ... A year ago, the Bucs enjoyed quality wins such as a road victory over Atlantic 10 Conference foe Charlotte, and finished with a respectable 17 victories on the season ... The team finished fourth in the Atlantic Sun Conference standings at 10-8, reaching the league tournament semifinals. ... This season, the Bucs’ top two returning starters were guards Sheldon Cooley (Tampa) and Marcus Dubose (Hartsville, S.C.), who both combined to score 19.7 points per game a year ago. ... However, both Cooley and Dubose have been dismissed from the team for violation of team rules and policies ... Along with those two, fellow guard Jarvis Jones (Memphis) and forward Lukas Poderis (Port Richey, Fla.) are the only other ETSU seniors to be returning after playing significant minutes last year, but Poderis is now lost for the season with a left foot injury and will be forced to redshirt, while Jones missed the first seven games of the year for academic reasons ... Jones returned against Ole Miss on Dec. 14 ... With so few returning, experienced players, ETSU will be looking to some unproven returning players, as well as a recruiting class that includes three incoming freshmen and a pair of junior college transfers, to come in and make an immediate impact. Sophomores Rashawn Rembert (Tampa) and John Walton (Memphis), along with redshirt freshman Lester Wilson (Knoxville) are expected to increase their production this year, while true freshmen guards Petey McClain (Mobile, Ala.), Mario Stramaglia (Birmingham, Ala.), and Yunio Barrueta (Miami, Fla.) will look to blossom into early contributors. ... On the interior, Walton will need help from junior college transfers Kinard Gadsden-Gilliard (Georgetown, S.C.) and Hunter Harris (Nashville).
Last time out
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Jan. 10, 2013) – Despite placing three players in double figures and producing one of its best offensive games of the year, the ETSU men’s basketball team was unable to put out a red-hot Stetson squad as the Hatters upended the Buccaneers 72-70 in Atlantic Sun Conference action Thursday evening inside the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center. ... With the loss, the Bucs dropped to 3-13 on the year, 1-2 in A-Sun action, while Stetson improved to 6-10, 3-2 on the season. ... Indeed, the Bucs were much better offensively than they have been much of the season, shooting 52 percent from the floor and 38 percent from 3-point range. However, Stetson was equally impressive with a 50 percent clip from both the floor and beyond the arc. But it was their 11 3-pointers and a 13-of-18 showing at the foul line that was the difference.
ETSU got a game-high 21 points from freshman forward Lester Wilson (Knoxville), while senior guard Jarvis Jones (Memphis) pitched in 19 points and junior forward Hunter Harris (Nashville) netted a career high 16. ... For Stetson, Adam Pegg and Chris Perez both scored a team-high 17 points, while teammate Aaron Graham dropped in 13 for the Hatters. ... In the first half, the Hatters got off to a quick 6-0 start on back-to-back 3-pointers, and with the score later tied at 8-8, Stetson went on a 14-2 run to enjoy its biggest lead of the half at 22-10. ETSU responded at that point with a 10-3 run of its own to make it 25-20 with just over five minutes left before the break. ... Back-to-back 3-pointers from Stetson’s Tanner Plemmons and Adam Pegg stopped the ETSU momentum to make it 31-20, but the Bucs again battled to get to within 37-32 with just seconds left in the half thanks to a 3-pointer by Jones. Unfortunately for the Bucs, the Hatters’ Chris Perez ended the half with his own 3-pointer to make it 40-32 at the break. ... Stetson was electric on offense in the first half, hitting on 56 percent of its shots and connecting on a 62-percent clip from 3-point range – which included eight made baskets from outside. ... In the second half, ETSU got to within five points on multiple occasions, but found itself trailing 67-54 with just over seven minutes left. The Bucs went to a full-court and man-to-man defense at that point, and it resulted in a 16-5 run to finish out the contest. However, the change was too little too late, as the Hatters hit just enough foul shots to keep the Bucs at bay.
The series versus FGCU
In a series that began in 2008, the Bucs own a 8-2 advantage in the all-time record books against FGCU ... ETSU’s last meeting with the Eagles came on Feb. 25, 2012, an 84-71 home loss.
Last time out versus FGCU
JOHNSON CITY (Feb. 25, 2012) – With its three seniors scoring in double figures and junior guard Marcus Dubose (Hartsville, S.C.) posting a game-high 23 points, the ETSU men’s basketball team made sure 2012 Senior Day was remembered fondly, leading from wire-to-wire and dropping Florida Gulf Coast 84-71 in Atlantic Sun Conference action at the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center. ... Along with Dubose, senior guard Adam Sollazzo (Tampa) scored 19 points on the night and eclipsed the 1,000-point mark for his career thanks to a free throw with 1:09 left in the game. Meanwhile, senior forward Isiah Brown (Miami, Fla.) netted 20 points and senior guard Tommy Hubbard (Boston) pitched in 15. ... For the game, ETSU shot 51 percent from the floor and 54 percent from 3-point range (7-of-13). The Bucs also forced FGCU into 20 turnovers and collected 16 steals on the evening. ... The Bucs threw the first punch, scoring the initial 12 points of the game and never relinquished the lead the rest of the way. FGCU would get as close as nine at 27-18, but ultimately trailed 40-26 at the break. ... After the intermission, ETSU pulled away to hold an advantage of as many as 22 points at 66-43. The Eagles never surrendered the game though, and battled back to make it 78-69 with a minute left in the contest. However, from there ETSU pulled away for the 13-point victory.
Bucs off to toughest start since 1975-76
ETSU has enjoyed its share of success over the last three-plus decades, but the 2012-13 season has been a tough one so far for the Bucs ... With a win Monday at Northern Kentucky, the Bucs snapped a nine-game losing streak and moved to 3-12 on the season ... Prior to that win, ETSU was off to the worst start for the program since the 1975-76 team began the year at 2-13 ... That 1975-76 team and the 1964-65 squad both hold the record for fewest wins by an ETSU team in the modern era, as both finished their seasons with just six wins.
Home Sweet Dome
Since the 1996-97 season, the Buccaneers are an amazing 154-53 overall inside the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center, good for a winning percentage of 76 percent ... But when looking at the past 11 years, the Bucs are an even more impressive 47-8 against non-conference opponents ... Last year, the Bucs went 10-3 overall at the Dome and a perfect 4-0 against non-conference opponents.
New lighting system for the Mini-Dome
The game with VCU marked a new look for the Buccaneers home court inside the ETSU/MSHA Atheltic Center ... Over the holiday break, a new lighting system and championship banners were installed inside the Dome, creating a more “basketball friendly” environment ... Along with the new LED digital boards along the floor, a renovated “Courtside Club” for donors, and the team’s new practice facility which was completed earlier this year, there have been over $1 million in basketball improvements made to the Dome this year alone.
Shuffling starters the “new normal” for Bucs
ETSU head coach Murry Bartow has used 13 different starting lineups in the team’s 16 games this season ... Injuries and dismissals have left the ETSU coaching staff searching for the right combination to start games, as the team currently stands 3-13 on the year.
Gadsden-Gilliard shows signs of production
Early in the season, ETSU coaches spoke openly about the potential junior transfer Kinard Gadsden-Gilliard (Georgetown, S.C.) to produce quality numbers ... Thirteen games into the season KGG had struggled to meet those predictions, but that changed against Lipscomb (1/5) ... Setting or matching personal bests for points (13), rebounds (7), assists (3) and free throws (3) in 30 minutes of action, KGG played arguably his best game of the season so far.
Jones meeting expectations for Bucs
ETSU head coach Murry Bartow expected the return of senior guard Jarvis Jones (Memphis) would improve his team’s efforts on the offensive end of the floor … He was right. … After posting a career-high 21 points against No. 4 Arizona, followed by a team-high 14 against Hawaii and another team-best 17 against San Francisco, Jones is now averaging 13.3 points per game in his eight outings since returning from academic probation against Ole Miss back on Dec. 14.
ESPN names Wilson to nation’s Top 25 freshmen list
While circumstances have forced the ETSU men’s basketball team to struggle in the early going this season, talented redshirt freshman forward Lester Wilson (Knoxville) has still given the Buccaneers reason for hope. ... Wilson, who is averaging 15.5 points per game, was listed as one of the Top 25 freshmen in college basketball Thursday by ESPN hoops writer John Gasaway. The list – which included players such as UNLV’s Anthony Bennett, UCLA’s Jordan Adams, Michigan’s Nik Stauskas and Duke’s Rasheed Sulaimon – had Wilson ranked at No. 25. ... Wilson has posted five 20-plus point games so far this season.
Buccaneers still face obstacle with experience
At no time in the tenure of ETSU head coach Murry Bartow have the Buccaneers had less experience ... Currently, the team has 10 players who are eligible and healthy enough to play, and of that group there are only six total years of Division I experience ... On average, that’s less than a half year of experience per player ... With four freshmen and two junior college transfers that means 66 percent of the team is competing in their first season of Division I basketball.
Three-point streak for Bucs dates back nearly 20 years
Since Feb. 16, 1987 in a game against Davidson, the Bucs have made at least one 3-pointer in 780 consecutive games. ... ETSU was 0-for-8 in that 1987 game.
Bucs have tradition of postseason appearances, success
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.