MACON, Ga. (Jan. 4, 2014) – The ETSU men’s basketball team will face its most critical game of the year so far when the Buccaneers take on Atlantic Sun Conference preseason favorite Mercer Monday evening inside Hawkins Arena.
Tip is set for 7 p.m. and the game can be seen live on ASun.TV, or heard on any of the Buccaneer Sports Network’s radio affiliates.
The Bucs (8-6 overall, 1-0 A-Sun) are winners of eight of their last 10 games and will be attempting to win back-to-back road contests for the first time this season. Mercer is currently 11-5 overall and 2-1 in the league, having lost on the road at North Florida last week and most recently surviving an overtime game with USC Upstate on Saturday.
For more on Monday’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 University 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. …
The series vs. Mercer
The Bucs lead the all-time series over Mercer 12-5, but ETSU has lost three straight in the series, including a 71-54 decision in Johnson City back on Feb. 16, 2013.
Last time out vs. Mercer
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Feb. 16, 2013) – Having rallied back to get within three points midway through the second half, the ETSU men’s basketball team was unable to complete another Saturday comeback and dropped a 71-54 decision to Atlantic Sun Conference rival Mercer inside the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center. ... The Buccaneers (9-19 overall, 7-8 A-Sun) played a dismal first half offensively, shooting just 16 percent from the floor and falling behind by as many as 16 points before the intermission. After the break, ETSU managed to get to within three at 41-38 after a technical foul call on Mercer head coach Bob Hoffman, but looked on as the Bears (18-9, 11-3) outscored them 30-16 the rest of the game. ... As in several games so far this season, the Bucs struggled early on in the contest and only had four made field goals by halftime. This obviously allowed the Bears to build a 27-13 halftime advantage. ... Following the halftime break, the Bucs actually found their shooting stroke and went on an 18-10 run to make it 41-38 with 10:39 left in the game. However, from there Mercer put together a 10-0 run of its own with some effective offensive plays and a lockdown defensive effort, and they never looked back. ... ETSU senior guard Jarvis Jones (Memphis) led the Bucs with a game-high 18 points, while sophomore post John Walton (Memphis) and junior forward Hunter Harris (Nashville) pitched in 12 and 11 points, respectively.
Last time out
KENNESAW, Ga. (Jan. 4, 2014) – Junior guard Rashawn Rembert (Tampa, Fla.) and freshman guard A.J. Merriweather (Jackson) each scored a game-high 19 points, as the ETSU men’s basketball team opened Atlantic Sun Conference play with a 71-55 victory over Kennesaw State Saturday afternoon inside the KSU Convocation Center. ... With the win, ETSU head coach Murry Bartow collected his 300th career victory, as the Buccaneers improved to 8-6 overall, 1-0 in A-Sun play. ... The Bucs closed the first half on a 10-2 run and later opened the second half on a 10-0 surge to build an 18-point lead and never looked back. ETSU ultimately led by as many as 21 points in the second half, shooting 55 percent from the field and 50 percent from 3-point range for the game. ... Merriweather finished with his third career double-double, grabbing 10 rebounds to go with his 19-point effort. Meanhwhile, Rembert finished a perfect 4-of-4 from 3-point range and 7-of-9 from the field. ... It was a back-and-forth game in the first half, with the Buccaneers shooting well from beyond the 3-point arc and Kennesaw State holding a decisive advantage on the glass. The game featured eight lead changes and four ties in the first 20 minutes, but ultimately resulted in a 40-32 score in favor of ETSU at the break, as the Bucs closed the half on a 10-2 offensive run. ... After the break, Rembert and Merriweather combined to score the first 10 points of the half and quickly make it 50-32 with 18 minutes left. From there, the lead ballooned to 21 points at 65-44 thanks to another seven points from Merriweather during a 9-0 ETSU run. The Owls ultimately managed to marginally cut the deficit in the final minutes.
Bartow gets win No. 300; aiming for No. 200 at ETSU
ETSU head coach Murry Bartow won his 300th career game on Saturday against Kennesaw State, and is now just three wins away from No. 200 as head coach of the Buccaneers ... Bartow is the second winningest coach in program history, behind only legend Madison Brooks’ 370 victories for the Blue and Gold ... Bartow’s .582 winning percentage also ranks second in the modern era for the Bucs, behind only Alan LeForce’s .607 percentage.
Rembert hoping to stay hot as A-Sun schedule 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 15.1 points per contest, and he currently ranks second in the A-Sun in 3-point field goal percentage and first in three-pointers made.
Riley names A-Sun POTW after 19 points against Valpo
MACON, Ga. (Dec. 30, 2013) – Just a week after being named the Atlantic Sun Conference Newcomer of the Week, ETSU junior guard Jalen Riley (Racine, Wis.) has been named the league’s Player of the Week. ... The conference office announced Monday that Riley picked up the honor courtesy of his impressive performance in the Buccaneers’ 73-62 victory over Horizon League foe Valparaiso Sunday afternoon. In that contest, Riley registered a game-high 19 points and added four steals to his stat line, helping the Bucs force a decisive 24 Valpo turnovers. ... The win extended the Bucs’ home winning streak to six games and improved the team’s record to 7-6.
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 (8-0) Losses (0-6)
ETSU scoring 82.4 PPG....................... 65.7 PPG
Opponent scoring 72.1 PPG........................ 78.2 PPG
Rebounding margin +0.3.................................... -11.3
Shooting % .492.................................... .390
3-pt. shooting % .381................................... .296
Assists 12.8 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 third career double-double in the win over Kennesaw State (1/4) ... In that game, Merriweather also netted a career high with 19 points, while grabbing 10 rebounds ... His current team ranks are first in rebounding (6.8 rpg), fourth in scoring (11.5 ppg), first in steals (1.7 spg), and third in minutes played (28.2 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. ... 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.
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 808 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 and ahead of Oakland.
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.