League-leading Mercer set to invade Dome Friday
ETSU head coach Murry Bartow collected his 200th win at ETSU with a win over Jacksonville last weekend.
League-leading Mercer set to invade Dome Friday
Wednesday, January 29, 2014

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Jan. 30, 2014) – Facing its toughest challenge of the Atlantic Sun Conference schedule so far, the ETSU men’s basketball team will host first-place Mercer Friday night inside the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center.

The game -- which was originally scheduled for Thursday night, but was moved due to inclement weather and travel delays -- will tip at 7 p.m., and will be available on both the Buccaneer Sports Network radio affiliates and on live video stream at ASun.TV.

The Buccaneers (11-10 overall, 4-4 in A-Sun play) can move into third place in the league standings with a victory, but Mercer (17-5, 8-1) has been the class of the conference so far this season.

In an effort to create the best home court advantage possible for the Bucs, ETSU men’s basketball coach Murry Bartow and the athletic department’s staff are offering multiple promotions for the game. These offers include free pizza beginning at 6:30 p.m. for all students, and the first 500 students at the game will also receive a free ETSU basketball t-shirt. In addition, Wolf Ridge Resort will be giving away free lift tickets during the game to fans in attendance.

Fans are also 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 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 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. Mercer

The Bucs lead the all-time series over Mercer 12-6, but ETSU has lost four straight in the series, including a 73-63 decision earlier this season in Macon, Ga.


Last time out vs. Mercer

MACON, Ga. (Jan. 6, 2014) – In a game highlighted by wild momentum swings and offensive runs, the ETSU men’s basketball team got to within two points late but was unable to complete a second half rally, dropping its first Atlantic Sun Conference game of the season to Mercer, 73-63, inside Hawkins Arena. ... ETSU freshman guard A.J. Merriweather (Jackson) finished the game with a career and game-high 20 points, while senior forward Hunter Harris (Nashville) added 14 in the losing effort. ... The Bucs were doomed by poor shooting in the first half, and a 24 percent clip from 3-point range for the game. Meanwhile, Mercer went 25-of-31 from the foul line compared to a 13-of-21 clip for the Bucs. ... ETSU enjoyed a great start in the first half, holding Mercer scoreless over the first five minutes of game play and ultimately building a lead of 15-1 with 14:02 left before the intermission. However, the good times didn’t last. ... Mercer answered the Bucs’ quick start by outscoring ETSU 34-10 over the next 12 minutes to roar back and lead 35-25 with 2:05 left in the half. The Bucs closed the deficit to eight points at 37-29 by the break, but the Bears had survived a terrible start to hold a significant lead on their home floor. ... After the break, Mercer’s all-conference guard Langston Hall opened the half scoring nine straight points and the Bears’ lead ballooned to 15 at 46-31. The Bucs stayed resilient though, thanks primarily to the play of Merriweather and Harris, who combined to score 17 points as ETSU manufactured a 20-7 run to make it 53-51 with eight minutes left in the game. ... Unfortunately for the Bucs, that would be as close as they would get.


Last time out

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Jan. 25, 2014) – Senior forward Kinard Gadsden-Gilliard scored with nine seconds left and a critical defensive stop as time expired gave the ETSU men’s basketball team a dramatic 76-75 win over Atlantic Sun Conference foe Jacksonville inside the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center. ... The game featured three ties and five lead changes over the last six minutes, but the Bucs managed to make the crucial plays at the end as head coach Murry Bartow picked up his 200th career win on the Buccaneers’ bench. ... The game-winning shot came after the Bucs had grabbed the lead at 74-73 when junior guard Jalen Riley (Racine, Wis.) inbounded the ball off the back of JU’s Marcel White, picked it back up and scored the ball. The Dolphins’ then responded and regained the lead on a pair of free throws from guard Jarvis Haywood with 25 seconds left, setting up Gadsden-Gilliard’s heroics. ... Following the score, Jacksonville got the ball to Haywood, but the Bucs surrounded him and blocked his progress to the basket. Haywood dished the ball to guard Vince Martin, whose desperation 3-pointer missed the mark. ... Both teams finished with strong offensive numbers, with ETSU shooting 46 percent from the floor and JU hitting on 48 percent of its shots. The Bucs only turned the ball over 10 times, while picking up 10 steals.


Gadsden-Gilliard named A-Sun Player of the Week

The Atlantic Sun Conference office announced Monday that senior forward Kinard Gadsden-Gilliard (Georgetown, S.C.) has been named the league’s player of the week. ... Gadsden-Gilliard, who produced two solid performances in wins over North Florida and Jacksonville, averaged 18 points, 5.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game for the week. More importantly, KGG hit the game-winning shot with nine seconds remaining to push ETSU to 4-4 in league play and 11-10 overall. ... This is the first career A-Sun POTW honor for Gadsden-Gilliard, who scored 19 points in the win over North Florida and 17 in the victory over Jacksonville. For the week, he shot an efficient 13-of-24 (54.2 percent) from the field, and an even more impressive 5-of-6 (83 percent) from 3-point range.


Bartow gets win No. 300 overall and No. 200 at ETSU

ETSU head coach Murry Bartow won his 300th career game on Jan. 4 against Kennesaw State, and captured his 200th win on the ETSU bench on Jan. 25 against Jacksonville ... Bartow is the second winningest coach in program history, behind only legend Madison Brooks’ 370 victories for the Blue and Gold. In addition, Bartow’s .580 winning percentage also ranks second in the modern era for the Bucs, behind only Alan LeForce’s .607 percentage.


Historic night at the free throw line for Bucs

The ETSU men’s basketball team rewrote some records Thursday night at the free throw line ... Making 32-of-33 free throws on the evening was the first time the Bucs had made 32 shots at the charity strip since Feb. 19, 2011 in a game at Lipscomb ... In addition, junior guard Rashawn Rembert (Tampa, Fla.) is now second on the Bucs’ single game list for free throw percentage after going 12-of-12 at the line in the game ... He is second only to former ETSU great Dimeco Childress’ 14-of-14 effort vs. Davidson on 2/9/2002.

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 first this year with a 44 percent  mark ... This year, he has shown a marked improvement in his style of offensive play, and currently leads the team with 15.3 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 nationally in both percentage and total makes from 3-point range (see NCAA list to the left).


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 (11-0)                   Losses (0-10)

ETSU scoring                        82.5 PPG....................... 65.7 PPG

Opponent scoring                72.8 PPG........................ 77.8 PPG

Rebounding margin                -1.0........................................ -6.8

Shooting %                              .485.................................... .379

3-pt. shooting %                      .408................................... .306

Assists                                 13.6 APG..................... 11.1 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 (6.2 rpg), fourth in scoring (10.7 ppg), first in steals (1.3 spg), and third in minutes played (27.2 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.


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 815 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 14 of the last 16 games, with the team going 9-5 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.