JOHNSON CITY (March 1, 2013) – The ETSU men’s basketball team will honor senior Jarvis Jones (Memphis) prior to Friday night’s matchup with USC Upstate, and the Buccaneers’ goal will be to send Jones out a winner in his final game at the Dome.
Jones and his teammates will take on the Spartans in the regular season finale for both squads at 7 p.m. inside the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center, and the game will air live on regional cable television courtesy of CSS. The contest will also be broadcast on ESPN3 – unless blacked out in the CSS coverage area – as well as on ASun.TV.
With a win Friday night, the Bucs (10-20 overall, 8-9 A-Sun) still have a chance to significantly improve their seeding for next week’s A-Sun Tournament in Macon, Ga. However, the Spartans (14-16, 8-9) are in the same position and looking to improve their standing as well.
For more on Friday’s game, read the game notes below or click on the game notebook link to the right. For more on ETSU men’s basketball throughout the remainder of 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
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (Feb. 23, 2013) – Junior forward Hunter Harris (Nashville) scored a game-high 22 points and made the defensive play of the contest in the closing seconds, lifting the ETSU men’s basketball team to a 61-58 win over Atlantic Sun Conference foe Jacksonville Saturday afternoon inside the Veterans Memorial Arena. ... Following a pair of free throws from both Harris and sophomore forward John Walton (Memphis), the Buccaneers were left protecting a 59-56 lead with 39 seconds left. ... On JU’s next possession, Harris blocked a 3-point attempt by Jacksonville’s All A-Sun guard Keith McDougald, grabbed the loose ball and was fouled. He hit one of two free throws at that point to ice the game for the Bucs. ... Harris was joined in double figures by guard Jarvis Jones (Memphis) and Rashawn Rembert (Tampa, Fla.) as the two combined for 11 and 10 points, respectively. For Jacksonville, Kordario Fleming led the way with 18 points, while both McDougald and Haywood netted 11 points each. ... After the intermission, the Buccaneers’ season struggles on the offensive end resurfaced as ETSU scored just four points over the first seven minutes of the second half. JU took advantage during that span, and put together a 15-4 run to build a 40-32 edge at the 12:58 mark. ... At that point, ETSU rallied with a 12-3 run of its own to regain the lead at 44-43 with less than 10 minutes left, and both teams traded the lead multiple times from there before finding the game tied at 53-53 with 3:58 left on the clock. ... The lead went back and forth but ETSU grabbed the lead at 57-55 on a pair for free throw makes from Harris with 1:04 left in the game. The Bucs finished the game by hitting 6-of-8 at the line in the final minute.
The series versus USC Upstate
ETSU holds an 8-3 all-time record against the Spartans ... Upstate won the last meeting between the two schools back on Jan. 28, 2013.
Last time out against USC Upstate
SPARTANBURG, S.C. (Jan. 28, 2013) – In a reverse of the ETSU men’s basketball team’s normal trend this season, the Buccaneers played a strong first half only to see things unravel after the intermission Monday evening against USC Upstate. ... Despite leading 34-33 at the break, ETSU looked on as the Spartans put together a 13-2 run to open the second half and ultimately scored 55 points after the break to pull away with an 88-71 victory in Atlantic Sun Conference play at the Hodge Center. ... For the game, the Spartans shot 53 percent – which included a 62 percent clip in the second half. USC Upstate’s junior forward Torrey Craig led the Spartans’ offensive attack with a game-high 23 points, while three other Spartans’ reached double figures. ... Meanwhile, the Bucs committed 17 turnovers in the game and was outscored 30-18 in the paint. ... After struggling in the first half during recent games, the Bucs actually got off to a much better start against the Spartans. ETSU led by as many as six in the first half and ultimately held a 34-33 edge at the break. ... Unfortunately for the Bucs, the second half was a different story. Upstate came out with a better offensive attack and quickly used a 13-2 run powered by seven points from junior forward Jodd Maxey to build a 10-point lead at 46-36. The lead swelled to 12 before ETSU’s comeback tendencies returned. ... The Bucs answered with a 9-2 run to make it 61-56, but that would be as close as ETSU could get the rest of the way.
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.
Bucs earning reputation as “Comeback Kids”
With their comeback from 20 points down to beat Stetson on Feb. 9, the Buccaneers just continue to build a reputation as a team that won’t go away no matter the score ... The Bucs have now won five of their 10 victories being down significantly ... In wins over Charleston Southern (Nov. 20), FGCU (Jan. 12) and Stetson (Feb. 9), the Bucs were down by as many as 19 points and still won ... ETSU also came back from second-half deficits to drop UNF (Jan. 26) and Lipscomb (Feb. 2).
Walton breaks out in win over Kennesaw State
Sophomore post John Walton (Memphis) has shown signs of his potential on-and-off throughout his first two seasons in Johnson City ... Against Kennesaw State on Valentine’s Day, Walton finally put together a complete game ... Setting career highs for points (23), blocks (3) and minutes played (39), Walton powered the Bucs to a 79-70 victory ... He went 8-of-9 from the field and 7-of-7 from the foul line, while also grabbing five rebounds and collecting a pair of steals in the game. ... He followed that with a 12-point, six-rebound effort against Mercer (2/16).
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. … Recently, Jones almost single-handedly won the game for the Bucs against Lipscomb (Feb. 2), scoring a career high 36 points and hitting three straight 3-pointers in overtime -- including the game winner ... Since returning to the team in the middle of December, Jones has averaged a team-best 16.4 points per game, and currently ranks third in the A-Sun in scoring ... He also ranks second in steals per game (1.9), 7th in free throw percentage (75%) and first in minutes played (37.1).
Rembert heating up from outside, nearing national mark
Sophomore guard Rashawn Rembert (Tampa) has made the most of his increased playing time this season, having made a 3-pointer in 27 straight games and currently ranks second in the A-Sun in 3-point field goal percentage at 42 percent on the season ... Against Jacksonville last month, 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 six games since that time, Rembert has made 50 3-pointers on the year.
Shuffling starters the “new normal” for Bucs
ETSU head coach Murry Bartow has used 17 different starting lineups in the team’s 30 games this season ... Injuries and dismissals have left the ETSU’s coaches searching for the right combination, as the team currently stands at 10-20.
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 793 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.
ETSU picked among nation’s best “Prestige” programs
In 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 Bucs -- who have enjoyed nine NCAA 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 team, as well as former SoCon rivals Appalachian State, Western Carolina, Georgia Southern and UNC Greensboro. In addition, at that time 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 Notre Dame, DePaul, Bradley, Clemson and Fla. State.