Bucs looking for fourth win in five games Thursday at NKU
Sophomore Lester Wilson has been a key to the Bucs recent success.
Bucs looking for fourth win in five games Thursday at NKU
Wednesday, February 5, 2014

HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. (Feb. 6, 2013) – As the ETSU men’s basketball team continues with Atlantic Sun Conference play Thursday night at Northern Kentucky, the Buccaneers hope to keep building on its recent success.

The Bucs (12-11 overall, 5-5 in A-Sun play) are winners of three of their last four games as they prepare to take on the Norse (8-15, 4-7) at 7 p.m. inside the Bank of Kentucky Center. Since welcoming NKU into the Atlantic Sun Conference last season, ETSU is 2-1 against the Norse, which includes a victory earlier this season inside the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center.

For more on Thursday’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 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. Northern Kentucky

This is just the fourth all-time meeting ever between the Bucs and the Norse ... ETSU is 2-1 in those games, which includes a 74-65 win back on Jan. 11 in Johnson City. 


Last time out vs. Northern Kentucky

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Jan. 11, 2014) – ETSU junior guard Rashawn Rembert (Tampa, Fla.) scored a team-high 19 points and three other teammates reached double figures, as the ETSU men’s basketball team used a strong second half offensive performance to down Northern Kentucky 74-65 in Atlantic Sun Conference play inside the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center. ... Along with Rembert, senior forward Hunter Harris (Nashville) helped power the offense with 17 points, while fellow senior forward Kinard Gadsden-Gilliard (Georgetown, S.C.) pitched in 11 points, seven rebounds and five assists. In addition, freshman guard A.J. Merriweather (Jackson) added 10 points, five boards and three assists. ... In all, the Bucs would shoot 50 percent from 3-point range (8-of-16), while dishing out 18 assists and committing just nine turnovers in the game. ... While ETSU led by as many as seven at 13-6 early on, the first half was otherwise a tight contest. In fact, the game was tied at 28 before Merriweather put the Bucs up 30-28 with a layup just as the first half buzzer sounded. ... In the second half, the difference in the game was a 15-3 offensive run by the Bucs, a surge that turned a 35-35 contest with 15 minutes left into a 50-38 ETSU lead with 8:23 remaining. After a NKU 3 pointer made it 50-41, the Bucs then scored another nine straight to grab their largest advantage of the game at 57-41. ... For Northern Kentucky, junior guard Jordan Jackson scored a game-high 20 points, while Daniel Camps and Jalen Billups added 12 and 10, respectively. The Norse shot 43 percent from the field for the game and just 33 percent from 3-point range.


Last time out

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Feb. 2, 2014) – The ETSU men’s basketball team proved that it’s not how a team starts a game, but how it finishes that can make the difference in winning and losing. ... After scoring just four points over the first 10 minutes of the game, the Buccaneers found their shooting touch from there, scoring 82 points over the final 30 minutes of play to drop Kennesaw State 86-73 in Atlantic Sun Conference action at the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center. ... Sophomore forward Lester Wilson (Knoxville) led the way for the Bucs with a team-high 19 points, as the Bucs had a total of five players reach double figures on their way to improving to 12-11 overall, 5-5 in A-Sun play. Meanwhile, the Owls dropped to 4-20, 1-10. ... Along with Wilson, the Bucs got 16 points apiece from junior guard Rashawn Rembert (Tampa, Fla.) and senior forward Kinard Gadsden-Gilliard (Georgetown, S.C.), while freshman guard A.J. Merriweather (Jackson) and junior guard Jalen Riley (Racine, Wis.) scored 14 and 11, respectively. ... The game got off to an ugly start for the Bucs, who missed their first six shots and committed four turnovers to start the contest. In fact, ETSU had just one made field goal over the first 10 minutes of play and trailed by as many as 12 points at 18-6 with 9:56 left in the half. ... Fortunately for the Bucs, Kennesaw State’s play was equally suspect, as the Owls committed 17 personal fouls in the first half, which resulted in a 17-of-22 clip from the free throw line for ETSU. That number itself – along with an 11-2 run to close out the first half – helped the Bucs ultimately tie the game at 35-35 by the intermission. ... After the break, ETSU struggled to take the lead but managed to grab the advantage at 55-52 with just over 11 minutes to play. At that point, a scuffle between ETSU forward Lukas Poderis (Port Richey, Fla.) and KSU forward Andrew Osemhen led to both players receiving technical fouls and being ejected from the game. ... The Bucs reacted well to the drama, promptly going on a 20-6 run to their largest lead of the game at 75-58 with seven minutes left.


Free throws key to ETSU victories this season

What a difference a year can make ... Last season, the Buccaneers struggled for consistency at the foul line, but this year has been a different story ... The Bucs currently lead the Atlantic Sun Conference with a 73 percent shooting clip from the charity stripe, and their numbers are also good enough to rank 31st in the country in free throws made with 419, and in free throws attempted at 576 ... In fact, earlier this year the Bucs hit a remarkable 32-of-33 free throws in a single game.


Resurgent Wilson giving Bucs a lift on offense

Sophomore Lester Wilson (Knoxville) was expected to be a major offensive weapon for the Buccaneers this season, but only recently has the forward made his presence felt ... In his last three games, Wilson has averaged 15.3 points and 4.7 rebounds per game, shooting 54 percent from the field and from 3-point range ... He has reached double figures in all three games, despite only reaching double figures once in the previous seven games ... By comparison, before his recent streak, Wilson had averaged 7.5 points and 2.6 rebounds per game on just 33 percent shooting from the field and 26 percent shooting 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 .579 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, and currently ranks second this year with a 43 percent  mark ... This year, he has shown a marked improvement in his style of offensive play, and currently leads the team with 15.5 points per contest ... He also leads the league in made 3-pointers with  2.7 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 (12-0)                   Losses (0-11)

ETSU scoring                        82.8 PPG....................... 66.7 PPG

Opponent scoring                72.8 PPG........................ 78.9 PPG

Rebounding margin                -1.0........................................ -7.9

Shooting %                              .479.................................... .387

3-pt. shooting %                      .400................................... .316

Assists                                 13.1 APG..................... 11.0 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 (10.8 ppg), first in steals (1.4 spg), and third in minutes played (27.3 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 817 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 33 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 16 of the last 18 games, with the team going 10-6 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.