JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Feb. 10, 2014) – A resurgent ETSU men’s basketball team will be aiming to maintain its recent momentum as the squad begins its final stretch of regular season home games Monday evening against Atlantic Sun Conference foe USC Upstate.
Game time against the Spartans is set for 7 p.m. inside the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center. The Bucs will be wrapping up its home conference slate this week in games against USC Upstate (Monday), FGCU (Thursday, 7 p.m.) and Stetson (Saturday, 4 p.m.)
The Bucs (14-11 overall, 7-5 A-Sun) enter Monday’s contest having won five of their last six games, and have moved into a tie for third place with the Spartans, who also sport an identical 14-11, 7-5 record.
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 Monday’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.
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,
the season with
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. USC Upstate
ETSU holds an 8-4 all-time record against the Spartans ... Upstate has won the last two meetings, including an 88-56 victory last season back on March 1, 2013.
Last time out vs. USC Upstate
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (March 1, 2013) – ETSU senior guard Jarvis Jones (Memphis) has enjoyed plenty of success during his five years as a member of the ETSU men’s basketball team. Unfortunately, his last memory of the Dome will not be a good one. ... In front of 4,389 fans on Senior Night, Jones and the Buccaneers were unable to overcome a hot shooting start by the USC Upstate Spartans and ultimately dropped their regular season finale 88-56 Friday night in Atlantic Sun Conference basketball action at the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center. ... Suffering their worst conference defeat in terms of point margin since joining the A-Sun in 2005-06, the Bucs dropped to 10-21 overall, 8-10 in league play. Meanwhile, USC Upstate improved to 15-16, 9-9 on the season. ... Things did not go well for the Bucs from the beginning of the game. Hitting five 3-pointers in the opening five minutes of the game, USC Upstate quickly jumped ahead by 14 points at 19-5 and never allowed the Bucs to cut the deficit closer than six points in the first half. ... Despite that tough start, the Bucs trailed 39-25 at the break and still had a shot at the win – especially with ETSU having rallied for multiple victories in the second half this season. However, it didn’t work out that way this time. ...
In fact, the Spartans opened the second half by outscoring the Bucs 36-9 and simply dominated in every possible way. For the game, Upstate shot 49 percent from the field, 46 percent from 3-point range.
Last time out
NASHVILLE (Feb. 8, 2014) – Dramatic, pulse-quickening games have defined the Atlantic Sun Conference series between ETSU and Lipscomb since 2005. And in what could be the last meeting between the two teams for some time, there was once again no lack of drama. ... In a contest that featured 10 ties and 27 lead changes, ETSU junior guard Jalen Riley (Racine, Wisc.) scored a career high 30 points and fellow junior guard Rashawn Rembert (Tampa, Fla.) added 21 to lift the Buccaneers past Lipscomb 96-88 in a game highlighted by spectacular offense. ... For the game, the Bucs shot an impressive 61 percent from the floor and were a decisive 35-of-41 from the free throw line (85 percent). ... The opening half was highlighted by plenty of offensive production and large runs by both teams, as the Bucs went on a 17-4 burst to build a lead of 10 at 28-18 in the early going. However, Lipscomb responded by manufacturing its own 16-5 run to regain the advantage at 34-33 with 4:41 left before the break. ... From there, the scoring only increased along with multiple lead changes and ties, but the halftime score finally settled with ETSU leading, 50-48. It was the Bucs’ highest first half offensive output of the season, as ETSU shot an amazing 70 percent from the field and 43 percent from 3-point range. However, Lipscomb was nearly as impressive with a 52 percent clip from the field. ... In the second half, the scoring pace continued but this time neither team pulled away at any point. For the half, there were six ties and 14 lead changes.
Riley breaks out; continues great “sixth man” play
For weeks, those around the ETSU men’s basketball team have argued that junior guard Jalen Riley (Racine, Wis.) may be the best “sixth man” in the league ... Recently, Riley has been proving those people right ... In his last four games -- which includes a career-high, 30-point effort against Lipscomb (2/8) -- the junior guard has eclipsed double digits each time, averaging 18.0 points a game, while shooting 53 percent from the field, 56 percent from 3-point range, and 92 percent at the foul line.
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 74 percent shooting clip from the charity stripe, and their numbers are also good enough to rank 30th in the country in free throws made as of Feb. 8 with 433 ... In fact, earlier this year the Bucs hit a remarkable 32-of-33 free throws in a single game ... In the last two games, they were 12-of-13 at the line against NKU (2/6) and then 35-of-41 at the stripe in the win over Lipscomb (2/8).
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 three of the Bucs last five games -- from Jan. 25 to Feb. 2 -- Wilson averaged 15.3 points and 4.7 rebounds per game, shooting 54 percent from the field and from 3-point range ... He 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 .580 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 third 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 15.9 points per contest ... He also is second in 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 (13-0) Losses (0-11)
ETSU scoring 82.4 PPG....................... 66.7 PPG
Opponent scoring 72.3 PPG........................ 78.9 PPG
Rebounding margin -0.5........................................ -7.9
Shooting % .480.................................... .387
3-pt. shooting % .399................................... .316
Assists 13.0 APG..................... 11.0 APG
Merriweather continues to shine, posts double-double
Freshman guard A.J. Merriweather (Jackson, Tenn.) has certainly made an impression 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 (6.5 rpg), fourth in scoring (10.8 ppg), first in steals (1.4 spg), and third in minutes played (27.6 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 819 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 18 of the last 20 games, with the team going 12-6 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.