JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Dec. 15, 2013) – The ETSU men’s basketball team will be home for the holidays beginning on Monday evening, as the Buccaneers host Tusculum College inside the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center. Tip inside the Dome is set for 7 p.m.
The Tusculum game will be the first of three straight for the Bucs inside the Dome, which will include visits from Austin Peay (Dec. 21) and Valparaiso (Dec. 29). So far this season, ETSU is 3-2 when playing in Johnson City. At 4-6 on the year, ETSU will be looking to gain some momentum as conference season approaches at the beginning of January.
Fans are encouraged to bring their children to games this year to take advantage of the special Sweet Frogs $5 kids’ ticket during men’s basketball games.
For more on Monday night’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 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, Ole Miss, Virginia Tech, Georgia and Hawaii ... Other issues for the team included senior post Lukas Poderis (Port Richey, Fla.) missing the season with 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. Tusculum
The Bucs have played the Pioneers 59 times, and hold a 40-19 advantage in the series ... The teams played regularly regular from 1922 to 1959, but have not played a regular season contest since that 1959 game ... Tusculum has played the Bucs recently, but only during the preseason. ... ETSU has won 13 straight regular season games against TC.
Last time out
ATLANTA (Dec. 7, 2013) -- Suffering through its worst offensive game of the season, the ETSU men’s basketball team was unable to mount a challenge to Atlantic Coast Conference foe Georgia Tech, falling to the Yellow Jackets 87-57 Saturday afternoon inside McCamish Pavilion. ... The Buccaneers shot just 32 percent from the floor and were out-rebounded 46-36 for the game, while leading scorers like junior guard Rashawn Rembert (Tampa) and senior forward Kinard Gadsden-Gilliard (Georgetown, S.C.) were held to a combined two points in the contest. ... The game got off to a nightmarish start offensively for the Bucs, as they shot just eight percent from the field and made only one field goal over the first nine minutes of the game. The result was a 15-point lead for Tech at 24-9 with 10 minutes left before the intermission. ... At that point, the Bucs did rally with a 10-0 run to make it 24-19 with 7:35 remaining, but that would be as close as ETSU would get in the first half, as Georgia Tech closed the first frame with a 20-4 run and led 44-23 at the break. ... Things did not improve for the Bucs in the second half, as Georgia Tech increased its lead throughout the final minutes and ultimately finished with the 30-point victory. ... The few bright spots for the Bucs included a game-high 18 points from freshman guard A.J. Merriweather (Jackson), while junior forward Ron Giplaye (Lowell, Mass.) scored his first two points in an ETSU uniform.
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.................. 65.7 PPG
Opponent scoring 71.2 PPG................. 78.2 PPG
Rebounding margin +4.8............................... -11.3
Shooting % .500.............................. .390
3-pt. shooting % .342.............................. .296
Assists 12.5 APG............... 10.8 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. ... He followed that performance with an 18-point, eight-rebound effort in the loss to Georgia Tech (12/7) ... 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 (11.4 ppg), first in steals (1.1 spg), and third in minutes played (28.7 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.
Merriweather named A-Sun Newcomer of the Week
The Atlantic Sun Conference office announced Monday morning that ETSU freshman A.J. Merriweather (Jackson, Tenn.) has been named the league’s newcomer of the week. ... Last week, Merriweather averaged a near double-double in the Buccaneers’ two games against Austin Peay (Dec. 4) and Georgia Tech (Dec. 7). The 6-foot-2 guard netted 18 points in both contests, while grabbing 11 rebounds in the win over Austin Peay and seven boards in the loss to Georgia Tech. ... Shooting 63 percent from the field and 73 percent from the foul line for the week, Merriweather also collected three steals and dished out two assists in those games. For the season, he currently leads ETSU in rebounding with 7.4 rpg, and ranks third in scoring with 11.4 ppg. ... This is the first newcomer of the week award for Merriweather.
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. ... He then played five minutes in the loss to Georgia Tech (12/7), scoring his first two points in an ETSU uniform and grabbbing three rebounds.
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 to 29 percent shooting from 3-point range ... However, as the Bucs have improved outside, the team has struggled in the paint ... Currently, ETSU’s rebound margin is -4.9, and the Bucs have been out-rebounded by a total of 393-344 ... 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 six games, with the team going 4-2 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 ... 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 12.9 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 804 consecutive games. ... ETSU was 0-for-8 in that 1987 game. ... The Bucs currently rank as the 7th longest streak in the NCAA, just behind Arkansas at 811 and ahead of Oakland at 778.
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.