JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (Feb. 20, 2014) – Bolstered by wins in five of its last six games, the ETSU men’s basketball team begins the final road swing of the season Thursday night in Florida, taking on Atlantic Sun Conference foe Jacksonville at 7:15 p.m. inside Swisher Gym.
The Buccaneers (16-12 overall, 9-6 A-Sun) are currently tied for third place in the league standings, but are fighting with USC Upstate and North Florida for an all-important, top-four finish, which this season would result in a home game for the quarterfinals of the Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament. Meanwhile, Jacksonville is currently 9-16, 5-9.
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.
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. Jacksonville
The Bucs are 13-6 all-time against the Dolphins, having won the last meeting between the two teams 76-75 back on Jan. 25 inside the Dome.
Last time out vs. Jacksonville
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Jan. 25, 2014) – Senior forward Kinard Gadsden-Gilliard (Georgetown, S.C.) 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. ... In addition, ETSU 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. ... The first half was a different story, as the Bucs led by as many as 14 points and held a 43-36 edge at the halftime break. However, Jacksonville responded quickly by outscoring the Bucs 23-9 over the first 10 minutes of the second half to take the lead at 59-55 with 10:25 left in the game. ... From there, the neither team led by more than three points the rest of the way.
Last time out
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Feb. 15, 2014) – Building a substantial lead early in the game and then never relinquishing a double-digit advantage the rest of the way, the ETSU men’s basketball team cruised to a 93-66 win over Stetson Saturday on Senior Day inside the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center. ... Junior guard Rashawn Rembert (Tampa, Fla.) powered the Buccaneers with a game-high 21 points and freshman guard A.J. Merriweather (Jackson) finished with a double-double thanks to 13 points and 10 rebounds, as the Buccaneers improved to 16-12 overall, 9-6 in Atlantic Sun Conference play. Meanwhile, Stetson dropped to 7-18, 5-8. ... With seniors Lukas Poderis (Port Richey, Fla.), Hunter Harris (Nashville), Kinard Gadsden-Gilliard (Georgetown, S.C.) and Todd Halvorsen (Kingsport, Tenn.) playing their final regular season game inside the Dome, the Buccaneers sent their teammates out in style. ... For the second straight game, the Bucs’ offense was clicking, as the team shot 63 percent from the field in the first half and 57 percent for the game. ETSU also hit 41 percent of its shots from 3-point range, with Rembert going 5-of-7 from long range, and the Bucs out-rebounded the Hatters 38-22. ... In the first half, the Bucs trailed 10-9 before going on a 13-0 run to take a 22-10 lead. From there, the advantage grew to 19 points at 33-14, and ETSU eventually led 44-30 at the break. After the intermission, Stetson got to within 11 at 56-45, but another 11-2 run by the Bucs ended any hopes of a comeback for the Hatters.
Rembert making place in history during 2013-14
Junior guard Rashawn Rembert (Tampa, Fla.) has become one of the most feared shooters in the Atlantic Sun Conference, and this season he is on pace to rewrite ETSU’s record books ... With 83 3-pointers so far this season, Rembert is just four makes away from besting the progarm’s single season record of 86 set by Courtney Pigram (Memphis) in 2006-07. ... Rembert’s numbers are also some of the best in the nation for an outside shooter ... For those numbers, see Page 4 of this notes package.
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 seven games -- which includes a career-high, 30-point effort against Lipscomb (2/8) -- the junior guard has eclipsed double digits each time, averaging 17.0 points a game, while shooting 46 percent from the field and 85 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 11th in the country in free throws made as of Feb. 16 with 528 ... In fact, earlier this year the Bucs hit a remarkable 32-of-33 free throws in a single game ... In games against NKU and Lipscomb last week, they were 14-of-15 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 ... Since Jan. 25, Wilson is averaging 13.9 points and 5.8 rebounds a game, while shooting 46 percent from the field and 93 percent at the foul line ... he has also ... 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 44 percent mark ... This year, he has shown a marked improvement in his style of offensive play, and currently leads the team with 16.5 points per contest ... He also is first in the league in made 3-pointers with 3.0 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 (16-0) Losses (0-12)
ETSU scoring 83.5 PPG....................... 66.4 PPG
Opponent scoring 72.4 PPG........................ 78.6 PPG
Rebounding margin +1.1....................................... -7.7
Shooting % .481.................................... .380
3-pt. shooting % .400................................... .304
Assists 13.3 APG..................... 10.7 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 (10.5 ppg), first in steals (1.5 spg), and third in minutes played (27.1 mpg). ... He followed that effort with a career high 20 points in the loss at Mercer (1/6).
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 822 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 19 of the last 22 games, with the team going 12-7 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.