ATLANTA – Having won four of its last five games, the ETSU men’s basketball team will have a major test Saturday afternoon, taking on Atlantic Coast Conference member Georgia Tech.
Tip is set for 2 p.m. inside McCamish Pavilion, and the game will be broadcast via live video streaming at ESPN3, while also airing on the Buccaneer Sports Network’s radio and web outlets.
The Buccaneers (4-5) are coming off a hard-fought 80-74 road win over Austin Peay on Wednesday night – their first win away from Johnson City this season. Meanwhile, the Yellow Jackets enter the game at 6-3 on the season.
This will be the first meeting between ETSU and Georgia Tech since 1990, when the teams played in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
For more on Saturday’s game, read the game notes below or click on the game notebook link located on the right. For more on ETSU men’s basketball throughout the 2013-14 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.
The ETSU men’s basketball program was glad to see the 2012-13 campaign come to an end, following a season which saw the team face multiple obstacles and challenges -- such as a brutal schedule that featured the likes of North Carolina, Arizona,
Virginia Tech, Georgia and Hawaii ... Other issues for the team included senior post Lukas Poderis (Port Richey, Fla.) missing the
ankle injury that he suffered in
the preseason, senior guard Jarvis Jones (Memphis) being academically ineligible for the first two months of the year, and two other senior guards who were expected to be major contributors were dismissed from the team in early November for violations of team rules … This left head coach Murry Bartow and his coaching staff with a young, inexperienced group of underclassmen, several true freshmen, one redshirt freshman and a pair of junior college transfers … Those obstacles proved to be tough to overcome, as the Buccaneers posted a 10-22 record and finished 8-10 in Atlantic Sun Conference play … It was the toughest campaign in Bartow’s 10 seasons at ETSU, a tenure that has produced many championships, postseason tournament appearances and 20-win campaigns … In all, Bartow’s teams have earned three NCAA Tournament invitations (2004, 2009 and 2010), one NIT appearance (2007), and one CIT berth (2011), and the Bucs have eclipsed 20 wins five times. … This year, the Bucs will once again take to the floor with a young squad made up of several new faces … In fact, despite the return of the 6-fooot-9 Poderis, the Bucs have just five players back this season who played significant minutes a year ago.
The series vs. Georgia Tech
ETSU is 1-3 all-time against the Yellow Jackets, having last played Georgia Tech during the first round of the 1990 NCAA Tournament ... ETSU lost that game 99-83 to a Georgia Tech team that eventually made a run to the Final Four.
Last time out against Georgia Tech
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (March 15, 1990) -- Georgia Tech didn’t blink in blitzing the ETSU men’s basketball team 99-83 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament ... The Ramblin’ Wreck shot 60.9 percent from the field and 53.8 percent from behind the arc. Lethal Weapon 3 led the way for the Yellow Jackets, as Dennis Scott torched the Bucs for 36 points on 14-of-22 shooting, point guard Kenny Anderson scored 21 points and dished out 10 assists, and Brian Oliver dropped 13 points ... For the Bucs, Calvin Talford and Keith “Mister” Jennings netted 17 points apiece, while Greg Dennis scored 16 points and grabbed eight rebounds.
Last time out
CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. (Dec. 4, 2013) – The ETSU men’s basketball team got its first road win of the season, but it didn’t come easy. ... Freshman guard A.J. Merriweather (Jackson), along with junior guards Jalen Riley (Racine, Wisc.) and Rashawn Rembert (Tampa) each scored a team-high 18 points – while Merriweather also collected a double-double with 11 rebounds – as the Buccaneers overcame a second half deficit to rally past Austin Peay 80-74 inside the Dunn Center. ... Despite a comfortable 11-point halftime lead, the Bucs squandered that advantage quickly in the second half, as the Govs opened on a 21-6 run to take a 54-50 lead with just over 12 minutes left. The Bucs finally managed to get back into a flow on offense, tying the game at 56-56 on a layup by Merriweather with nine minutes remaining on the clock. ... From there, it was a back-and-forth game until Rembert scored 10 of the Bucs’ 12 points during a 12-5 run that made it 75-69 with two minutes lef. Unfortunately for ETSU, Austin Peay didn’t go away, scoring a basket and then taking advantage of an ETSU turnover to nail a 3-pointer that made it 75-74 with 50 seconds left in the contest. ... At that point, Riley missed a jumper, but Merriweather again came through with a decisive offensive rebound that resulted in a pair of free throw makes by Rembert. That 3-point lead then held up as the Bucs made 3-of-4 foul shots to close out the game. ... While it was a battle at the end, ETSU got off to a great start in the game and appeared ready to cruise to a win. ... After falling behind 2-0, the Bucs took the lead on a Rembert 3-pointer and never trailed the rest of the way during the first half. Using a zone defense to force 12 turnovers by the Governors and shooting 55 percent from the floor, the Bucs took a game that was tied at 23-23 and proceeded to outscore Austin Peay 21-10 to close out the half and lead 44-33 at the break.
Difference between winning and losing for ETSU
Rebounding has been a particular indicator for the Bucs this season when it comes to wins and losses ... The statistics below show the differences for the Bucs is several important categories so far this season.
Statistical category Wins (4-0) Losses (0-5)
ETSU scoring 80.8 PPG.................. 67.4 PPG
Opponent scoring 71.2 PPG................. 76.4 PPG
Rebounding margin +4.8............................... -11.6
Shooting % .500.............................. .409
3-pt. shooting % .342.............................. .326
Assists 12.5 APG............... 10.4 APG
Merriweather continues to shine, posts double-double
Freshman guard A.J. Merriweather (Jackson, Tenn.) has certainly made an impression in the early going this season, and he continued to make more news with his second career double-double in the win over Austin Peay (12/4) ... In that game, Merriweather had career highs with 18 points and 11 rebounds. ... The 6-2 guard collected his first career double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds earlier this year against Morehead State (Nov. 12) ... His current team ranks are first in rebounding (7.4 rpg), third in scoring (10.7 ppg), third in steals (1.0 spg), and third in minutes played (28.1 mpg).
All-around effort by Gadsden-Gilliard impressive
Setting new personal bests with 12 rebounds and six assists in the win over Samford (11/21), senior forward Kinard Gadsden-Gilliard (Georgetown, S.C.) had people thinking “triple-double” when he added an 18-point effort to his statistical line ... The Bucs hope that KGG can make these types of efforts more consistent ... KGG responded to that expectation by putting together a 19-point, seven-rebound and seven-assist outing against Marshall in an 88-78 victory on Nov. 30.
Giplaye makes return following open heart surgery
Earlier this year, the Buccaneers got a serious scare when junior forward Ron Giplaye (Lowell, Mass.) had to undergo open heart surgery for a condition that was described as “life threatening.” Following the successful procedure, Giplaye has slowly regained his strength and was able to play two minutes against Tennessee Tech (11/27), marking his first competitive compeition since the 2011-12 season when he played at Providence.
Young Bucs still face obstacles with experience
The last two seasons, ETSU head coach Murry Bartow has faced the challenge of developing a roster with minimal experience ... As the 2013-14 Buccaneers begin play, Bartow is once again looking at a team with several new faces and limited playing time ... In all, the Bucs return just six players who saw time on the floor last sesaon, while there are a total of seven newcomers to the program ... When counting the entire 15-man roster, the Bucs have a total of just 11 varsity seasons between the team for an average of less than a season per player.
Bucs improve defensively, but inside game struggling
A year ago, ETSU allowed teams to shoot a high percentrage from the field and from the 3-point line ... This year, ETSU’s defensive efforts have paid off as the Bucs have held teams shooting to 42 percent from the field and 27 percent from 3-point range ... However, as the Bucs have improved outside, the team has struggled in the paint ... Currently, ETSU’s rebound margin is -4.4, and the Bucs have been out-rebounded by a total of 347-308 ... Those numbers have led to more second-chance points for opponents
Shuffling starters was the “new normal” for Bucs
Last season, ETSU head coach Murry Bartow used 17 different starting lineups in the team’s 32 games ... Injuries and dismissals left ETSU’s coaches searching for the right combination all season. ... Bartow hoped to find more stability with his rotation in 2013-14, but he had used five different starting lineups in the first five games of the year. ... Since that time, he has played with the same starting lineup over the last games five games, with the team going 4-1 in those contests.
Rembert hoping to stay hot as 2013-14 season begins
Junior guard Rashawn Rembert (Tampa) has made the most of his increased playing time over the last two seasons, having made a 3-pointer in 38 straight games dating back to last season ... Last season, Rembert ranked fourth in the A-Sun in 3-point field goal percentage at 39.7 percent for the year. ... This year, he has shown a marked improvement in his style of offensive play, and currently leads the team with 14.1 points per contest.
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.
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 802 consecutive games. ... ETSU was 0-for-8 in that 1987 game.
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.