JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Feb. 2, 2013) – After another heartbreaking defeat at home Thursday night against Northern Kentucky, the ETSU men’s basketball team once again will try to rebound with a victory when the Buccaneers host Lipscomb Saturday afternoon.
Tip for this Atlantic Sun Conference matchup is set for 4 p.m. inside the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center.
The Bucs (6-17 overall, 4-6 A-Sun) are in danger of falling too far back in the conference regular season race at this point, as they take on a Lipscomb team that defeated them by just four points earlier this season.
For more Saturday’s game, read the game notes located below or click on the game notebook link. 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 entered this 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 has looked 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) have increased their production this year, while true freshmen guards Petey McClain (Mobile, Ala.), Mario Stramaglia (Birmingham, Ala.), and Yunio Barrueta (Miami, Fla.) are blossoming into early contributors. ... On the interior, Walton has been getting help from junior college transfers Kinard Gadsden-Gilliard (Georgetown, S.C.) and Hunter Harris (Nashville).
Last time out
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Jan. 31, 2013) – ETSU senior guard Jarvis Jones (Memphis) had a chance to force overtime, but his layup attempt at the buzzer rimmed out as Northern Kentucky escaped the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center Thursday night with a 70-68 victory over the Buccaneers in Atlantic Sun Conference play. ... Jones’ miss came on a night when he was otherwise brilliant on the offensive end, scoring a career high 23 points while finding himself in a showdown with NKU’s own Jones – senior forward Eshaunte Jones – who posted a game-high with 25 points. ... It was Eshaunte Jones who banked in a 3-pointer and was subsequently fouled to complete a rare 4-point play with 26.7 seconds left, giving the Norse a 70-65 lead. The Bucs answered with a 3-pointer of their own from sophomore guard Rashawn Rembert (Tampa), and Eshaunte Jones was later called for an offensive foul with 10 seconds left to set up Jarvis Jones’ game-tying attempt. ... The Bucs rallied from a 10-point deficit (55-45) with 10 minutes left in the contest, and actually took the lead when a 3-pointer from Rembert capped an 18-6 run with three minutes left in the game. However, at that point NKU’s Chad Jackson scored five straight points to make it 66-63 with 1:49 left and set up the late game heroics for both teams. ... For the game, ETSU also got 16 points from freshman forward Lester Wilson (Knoxville), while Rembert finished with 10 points. NKU also got double-figure scoring from Ernest Watson with 16 points, while Jackson netted 12 and Joack Flournoy added 11.
The series versus Lipscomb
The Bucs are 30-12 all-time against the Bisons, in a series that dates back to 1951 when both teams played at the NAIA level ... ETSU has won 11 of the last 17 meetings since joining the A-Sun, with four of those games going to overtime -- the Bucs are 3-1 in those overtime games ... ETSU lost the last meeting 60-56 back on Jan. 5, 2013.
Last time out against Lipscomb
NASHVILLE (Jan. 5, 2013) – Despite showing signs of offensive life in the second half and actually leading at one point, the ETSU men’s basketball team was unable to hold off home-standing Lipscomb, falling 60-56 to the Bison inside Allen Arena. ... Indeed, the Bucs shot just 6-of-15 from the charity stripe and were out-rebounded 39-28 in the game. Lipscomb’s center Stephen Hurt led the way for the Bison with a 17-point, 13-rebound effort, while teammate Deonte Alexander posted a game-high 19 points. ... For ETSU, freshman forward Lester Wilson (Knoxville) had a team-high 16 points, while junior forward Kinard Gadsden-Gilliard (Georgetown, S.C.) and senior guard Jarvis Jones (Memphis) scored 13 and 11 points, respectively. ... After the break ETSU was trailing 32-21 before going on an 18-5 offensive run to take the advantage at 39-37. During that burst, Wilson hit three 3-pointers and scored 11 of the Bucs 18 points. However, at that point Lipscomb answered with its own 13-2 spurt to build an advantage of 50-41 with 3:52 remaining. .. ETSU didn’t go away, getting to within one possession on a couple of occasions and actually making it 57-56 with 26 seconds left on another 3-pointer by Wilson. Later on, Lipscomb’s Martin Smith hit a pair of free throws to make it 59-56, and a game-tying 3-point attempt by Wilson missed the mark.
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.
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 15.3 points per game since returning from academic probation against Ole Miss back on Dec. 14. ... Jones is currently second on the team in scoring.
Rembert heating up from outside
Sophomore guard Rashawn Rembert (Tampa) has made the most of his increased playing time this season, having made a 3-pointer in 19 straight games and currently ranking second in the A-Sun in 3-point field goal percentage at 42 percent on the season ... Against Jacksonville he gave ETSU’s coaches even more reason to utilize him ... Hitting on 5-of-7 attempts from 3-point range against the Dolphins and counting the three games since that time, Rembert has made 37 3-pointers on the year ... He now ranks second in the A-Sun behind UNF’s Parker Smith for 3-point field goal percentage.
Shuffling starters the “new normal” for Bucs
ETSU head coach Murry Bartow has used 14 different starting lineups in the team’s 20 games this season ... Injuries and dismissals have left the ETSU’s coaches searching for the right combination, as the team currently stands at 5-17.
McClain a “key” to success for ETSU’s offense
When freshman point guard Petey McClain (Mobile, Ala.) missed several games early in the year with ankle injuries, ETSU’s coaching staff kept pointing out how much better the Bucs’ offense would be when he returned ... They were right ... As an example, McClain dished out eight assists and did not commit a turnover in the win over North Florida (1/26), and helped the Bucs to a season high 56 points in the second half against the Ospreys ... In that game, McClain also pitched in seven points.
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. ... KGG has followed that game up with better performances, including a pair of double-double efforts in recent games, posting career highs for points (16) and rebounds (11) against USC Upstate (1/28), as well as another double-double effort against Jacksonville (1/24).
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 15.3 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 787 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.