KENNESAW, Ga. (Jan. 19, 2013) – In need of a win, the ETSU men’s basketball team ventures to a place Saturday where the Buccaneers have enjoyed their share of success in recent years.
Having won 13 straight games over Kennesaw State dating back to the 2005-06 season, the ETSU men will invade the KSU Convocation Center on Saturday to take on the Owls in an afternoon matinee game at 2:30 p.m.
The Bucs (4-14 overall, 2-3 A-Sun) are coming off a loss on Thursday night at Mercer, and will be hoping to get back to .500 in conference play with a victory.
For more on Saturday’s game, read the game notes below or click on the game notebook 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
MACON, Ga. (Jan. 17, 2013) – While the ETSU men’s basketball team overcame a 19-point second half deficit to win in its last outing, the Buccaneers could not work that same magic Thursday night against the Mercer Bears. ... Falling behind by 18 points in the second half, the Bucs could get no closer than 11 points and ultimately dropped a 78-59 decision to Mercer in Atlantic Sun Conference play at Hawkins Arena. With the loss, ETSU drops to 4-14 overall, 2-3 in A-Sun play. Meanwhile, Mercer improves to 11-8, 4-2. ... While Mercer was a sterling 19-of-23 from the foul line and hit nine shots from 3-point range, ETSU missed 11 of its last 12 free throws of the contest and finished 5-of-15 from the line for the game. ... For the Bears, four players scored in double figures with Travis Smith netting a game-high 18 points to lead the way. ETSU got a team-high 12 points from senior guard Jarvis Jones (Memphis), and he was the only Buccaneers’ player in double figures. ... In the first half, the Bucs and Bears traded offensive runs early on and the game was tied at 22-22 on a jumper by Kinard Gadsden-Gilliard (Georgetown, S.C.) with just over 6:20 left before the break. However, from that point forward Mercer put together a 17-6 run to build a 39-28 advantage at the break. ... ETSU shot a strong 50 percent from the floor and outrebounded the Bears 14-10 in the first half, but Mercer enjoyed a perfect 10-of-10 clip at the foul line and hit seven 3-pointers over the Bucs’ zone defense to build their lead. ... After the break, the Bucs allowed the Bears to open on an 11-4 run and take a 50-32 advantage with 15:19 left in the game. The Bucs responded with 12-5 spurt to make it 58-47, but that would be as close as the Bucs would get the rest of the game.
The series versus Kennesaw State
The Bucs are 13-1 all-time against KSU, including a 64-59 win in their last game back on Feb. 4, 2012 ... ETSU has won 13 straight.
Last time out versus Kennesaw State
KENNESAW, Ga. (Feb. 4, 2012) – Senior guard Adam Sollazzo (Tampa) scored a game-high 19 points, freshman guard Rashawn Rembert (Tampa) came off the bench to net a crucial 11, and senior Tommy Hubbard (Boston) made clutch plays down the stretch, leading the ETSU men’s basketball team to a 64-59 win over Kennesaw State Saturday afternoon inside the KSU Convocation Center. ... With the Bucs trailing 57-54 and 2:37 left on the clock, Hubbard – who played in the game despite suffering from a turf-toe injury – began his game-saving play. He first scored on a traditional 3-point play to make it 57-57, and then after a free throw miss by junior guard Jarvis Jones (Memphis), Hubbard grabbed an offensive rebound to keep the ball on ETSU’s end of the court. He later picked up three offensive rebounds in a row on the same possession, before ultimately tapping in a miss to give the Bucs a 60-57 edge with only 20 seconds left in the game. ... The first half closely resembled the last meeting between the Bucs and Owls earlier this season, as Kennesaw State connected on seven 3-pointers in the first 20 minutes and led by as many as 11 at 24-13. The Bucs, whose offensive issues have become a theme this year, again struggled to score in the early going, but managed to cut the deficit to six at 30-24 at halftime thanks to a Rembert 3-pointer to close out the half. ... Guard Delbert Love was the story of the first half, going 5-of-5 from 3-point range and scoring 15 points for the Owls. ... In the second half, Rembert’s play continued to impress as he opened the half with five straight points, and capped a 13-2 run with a 3-pointer that made it 44-42 in favor of ETSU with 10:07 left in the game. The ETSU advantage grew to six at 48-42 on a Poderis’ layup, but the Owls battled back to regain the lead at 57-54 with 2:57 remaining on the clock. ... At that point, Hubbard took over. However, after his fourth and fifth point made it 60-57, it wasn’t until Sollazzo and Jones combined to hit four-straight free throws that the Bucs could relax and picked up the win.
Young Bucs 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.
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 14 different starting lineups in the team’s 18 games this season ... Injuries and dismissals have left the ETSU’s coaches searching for the right combination, as the team currently stands at 4-14.
Freshmen trio shine in win over FGCU
When Florida Gulf Coast built a 19-point lead over the Bucs back on Jan. 12, few would have thought a youthful ETSU team could pull off the victory ... However, a freshman trio that included redshirt freshman Lester Wilson (Knoxville), and true freshmen Petey McClain (Mobile, Ala.) and Mario Stramaglia (Birmingham, Ala.) had a different plan ... Helping power an ETSU comeback, the young Bucs ultimately came back and won 85-75 ... Wilson finished the game with a game-high 21 points, while McClain pitched in 10 points and eight assists at the point position, and Stramaglia came off the bench to score 14 points and grab five rebounds ... The question for ETSU fans is whether these youngters can continue to grow and become more consistent.
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 14.3 points per game in his eight outings since returning from academic probation against Ole Miss back on Dec. 14. ... Jones is currently second on the team in scoring with 14.4 points a contest.
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 15.8 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 six 20-plus point games so far this season.
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 782 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.