Bucs look to get back on track Saturday at FGCU
Freshman Devin Harris has been getting more minutes in recent games at the point guard position.
Bucs look to get back on track Saturday at FGCU
Friday, January 17, 2014

FORT MYERS, Fla. (Jan. 18, 2014) -- Needing a win to get back on track in Atlantic Sun Conference play, the ETSU men's basketball team will wrap up its current Florida swing with a matchup against Florida Gulf Coast Saturday evening.

Tip between the Buccaneers and Eagles is set for 7:35 p.m. inside Alico Arena, and the game will air on ESPN3.

ETSU (9-9 overall, 2-3 A-Sun) will be looking to right the ship after a disappointing loss at Stetson on Thursday night. Meanwhile, FGCU -- which earned national acclaim last year with a run to the Sweet 16 in the NCAA Tournament -- is currently tied for first place in the league standings at 11-8 overall, 5-1 in A-Sun play. 

For more on Saturday'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.

Game Notes

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.

Buc bits
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. FGCU
In a series that began in 2008, the Bucs own a 9-3 advantage in the all-time record books against FGCU ... ETSU’s last meeting with the Eagles came on Feb. 7, 2013, a 67-43 loss in Fort Myers, Fla., to an Eagles team that eventually advanced to the Sweet 16 of the 2013 NCAA Tournament.

Last time out vs. FGCU
FORT MYERS, FLA. (Feb. 7, 2013) – Earlier this season, the ETSU men’s basketball team overcame a 19-point, second-half deficit to beat Florida Gulf Coast. Unfortunately for the Buccaneers, that same scenario did not occur again Thursday night. ... Building a 12-point halftime lead, FGCU simply piled on the points this time around, leading by as many as 27 in the second half and ultimately avenging that early-season loss with a dominating 67-43 effort inside Alico Arena. ... The Eagles, who are now 12-1 in their home arena and actually enjoyed a victory over No. 8 Miami (Fla.) on this floor earlier in the season, were impressive on both ends of the court. .. .
Defensively, they held ETSU to just 23 percent shooting while also blocking a school-record 13 shots on the night. Offensively, the Eagles shot a blistering 56 percent from the field in the first half and outscored the Bucs 40-20 in the paint. ...
In the second half, the Bucs were not able to manage anything resembling a comeback, as ETSU connected on just one basket in the first eight minutes of the second half and looked on as FGCU put together a 14-2 offensive run from which the Bucs never recovered. ... For the game, FGCU’s Sherwood Brown led all scorers with 17 points, while teammates Eric McKnight and Chase Fieler added 13 and 12 points, respectively. Meanwhile, the Bucs got 12 points from senior guard Jarvis Jones (Memphis), while junior forward Hunter Harris (Nashville) added 10 in the losing effort.

Last time out
DELAND, Fla. (Jan. 16, 2014) – Stetson’s Edmunds Center has historically been a difficult place for the ETSU men’s basketball team to play. Thursday night was no different. ... Playing their final game at Stetson as members of the Atlantic Sun Conference, the Buccaneers suffered yet another disappointing loss to the Hatters, falling 64-58 after struggling through a poor offensive effort in the second half. ... The Bucs shot just 31 percent from the field in the second half, going 9-of-29 and scoring just seven points over the final six minutes of the game. During that final stretch, the Hatters outscored the Bucs 14-7 to turn a 51-50 ETSU edge into the six-point victory. ... For ETSU, senior forward Hunter Harris (Nashville) scored a team-high 13 points, junior guard Jalen Riley (Racine, Wis.) added 12 points, and guards Lester Wilson (Knoxville) and Rashawn Rembert (Tampa, Fla.) netted 10 points apiece. ... Stetson was led by senior forward Willie Green’s game-high 15 points, as the Hatters outscored the Bucs 30-18 in the paint. ... The first half was a back-and-forth contest most of the way, with the Bucs holding their largest lead at 30-24 with 25 seconds left. However, a 3-pointer by Stetson guard Glen Baral with three seconds left made it 30-27 at the break. ... After the break, ETSU built a lead of as many as seven at 37-30, but found that lead short-lived as Stetson went on a 12-3 run to regain the advantage at 42-40. Later, with the game tied at 58, Stetson scored the final six points of the contest to pick up the victory.

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, and currently ranks second this year with a 44.0 percent  mark ... 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 ... He also leads the league in made 3-pointers with  2.8 per game ... In fact, his numbers are good enough to rank him 27th nationally in both percentage and total makes from 3-point range (see list on Page 4 of these notes).

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 (9-0)                   Losses (0-9)
ETSU scoring                        81.4 PPG    66.1 PPG
Opponent scoring                70.3 PPG    76.4 PPG
Rebounding margin                -0.2    -6.4
Shooting %                              .488    .391
3-pt. shooting %                      .392    .307
Assists                                 13.2 APG    11.4 APG

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 two 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.

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), second in scoring (11.3 ppg), first in steals (1.4 spg), and third in minutes played (28.2 mpg). ... He followed that effort with a career high 20 points in the loss at Mercer (1/6).

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 812 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.

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 in 12 of the last 13 games, with the team going 8-5 in those contests.

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.