JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Nov. 18, 2014) – After opening the 2014-15 season on the road at Valparaiso this past weekend, the ETSU men’s basketball team will return home to host non-conference opponent UVa.-Wise in the team’s home opener Tuesday night at the Freedom Hall Civic Center. Game time is set for 7 p.m.
This will be the first meeting between the Buccaneers and Cavaliers in over eight years, with the Bucs holding an unblemished 4-0 mark against Wise all-time.
ETSU is coming off a 90-76 loss to Valpo, a game in which the Bucs were able to score the basketball but struggled to stop the Crusaders on the defensive end. ETSU will look to improve on those efforts in this matchup with the Cavs.
For more on Tuesday’s game, read the game notes below or click on the game notebook link located on the right. For more on ETSU men’s basketball throughout the 2014-15 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 enjoyed a solid campaign in 2013-14, winning 19 games on the year and earning a berth into the CollegeInsider.com Tournament ... The trip to the CIT marked the sixth postseason trip for the Bucs in head coach Murry Bartow’s 11 seasons at ETSU (three NCAAs, one NIT and two CIT trips) ... In addition, the Bucs enjoyed a first round postseason tournament victory over Lipscomb in a thrilling double overtime game, while also giving Florida Gulf Coast a scare in the tournament semifinals in Fort Myers, Fla. ... ETSU went on to defeat longtime rival and newly-renewed conference foe Chattanooga in the first round of the CIT at the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center ... The key to success for the Bucs in 2013-14 was the play of an impressive backcourt and that group will return this year led by rising seniors Rashawn Rembert (Tampa) and Jalen Riley (Racine, Wis.), along with rising junior Lester Wilson (Knoxville) ... While that trio will return to lead the Bucs, the team will also return starters A.J. Merriweather (Jackson) and Petey McClain (Mobile, Ala.) this season ... The one area of concern for the Bucs will be the frontcourt this year, as the team lost all of its contributors from a year ago ... This will leave a group that consists of returners like senior Ron Giplaye (Lowell, Mass.) and sophomore Isaac Banks, along with newcomers such as senior Alex Bates (Greenbelt, Md.), junior Tommy Williams and freshman Karl Overstreet (Lynchburg, Va.) to make up for those losses ... Other players who are expected to contribute this season include sophomore guard Devin Harris (Tampa, Fla.), who showed great potential at the end of last season, and freshman guard Desonta Bradford (Humboldt), who was a Mr. Basketball selection during his senior year of high school.
The series vs. UVa.-Wise
The Bucs and Cavaliers have met four times all-time, with ETSU holding a perfect 4-0 record ... The last time the two teams met was in 2006.
Last time out vs. UVa.-Wise
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Nov. 10, 2006) - Sophomore guard Tayloe Taylor (Memphis) dished out a career high nine assists and four Buccaneer players reached double figures in scoring as the ETSU men’s basketball team raced to a 90-43 season-opening win over UVa.-Wise in front of 4,150 fans inside Memorial Center. ... For the Bucs (1-0), sophomore guard Dante Williams (Romulus, Mich.) and senior forward Eryk Thomas (Fremont, Calif.) paced the offense, reaching career highs for scoring with 14 points apiece. Meanwhile, sophomore Courtney Pigram (Memphis) and freshman Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.) added 13 and 11 points, respectively, as the Bucs dished out 20 assists and forced the Cavaliers into 25 turnovers. ... The Bucs are indeed youthful. Starting three freshmen and a sophomore Friday night, it was the first time since 1987 that ETSU has put a starting team on the floor that was so inexperienced. However, after trailing 5-4 with 17:20 remaining in the first half, ETSU took the lead at 6-5 on a foul shot by freshman Blake Mishler (Metamora, Ill.) and never looked back. Though the Cavaliers tied the game at 12, the Bucs’ defensive pressure and offensive efficiency took over, as ETSU outscored Wise 19-0 over the next seven minutes to lead 31-12 with 4:49 left in the half. ... It was much of the same in the second half, as the Bucs outscored Wise 49-25 for the 47-point victory. ETSU shot 48 percent from the field and 42 percent from 3-point range. Outrebounding the Cavs 49-34, the Bucs also picked up 13 steals. No ETSU player saw more than 23 minutes of action and 11 played double figures in minutes.
Last time out
VALPARAISO, Ind. (Nov. 14, 2014) – The ETSU men’s basketball team made it interesting, but timely long-range shots by Valparaiso in the closing minutes were the difference as the Crusaders took a 90-76 non-conference win over the Buccaneers in the regular season opener for both schools at the Athletics-Recreation Center. ... After cutting a 13-point Crusaders’ lead to just two at 66-64 with 6:45 remaining in the game, the Bucs looked on as Valpo hit a pair of long-range 3-pointers to cushion their advantage and hold on for the victory. While ETSU played well offensively, the Bucs’ defense allowed the Crusaders to shoot 50 percent from the floor, 56 percent from 3-point range and gave up 90 points on the night. ... The Bucs were led by a game-high 27 points from senior guard Jalen Riley (Racine, Wis.), who was playing in front of several friends and family that made the trip to Valparaiso from Wisconsin. Along with Riley’s effort, ETSU got double-figure scoring nights from sophomore guard A.J. Merriweather (Jackson) and junior forward Lester Wilson (Knoxville), who finished with 12 and 10 points, respectively. ... Meanwhile, fellow senior guard and preseason All Southern Conference selection Rashawn Rembert (Tampa, Fla.) struggled in the opener, netting just seven points on 3-of-11 shooting from the floor and a 0-of-6 clip from 3-point range. ... For Valpo, forward Alec Peters matched Riley with a game-high 27 points, while guard Darian Walker also netted 20 points and fellow guard Tevonn Walker pitched in 16. Forward David Skara also came off the bench to net 11. ... Leading 35-34 with 2:39 left before the intermission, the Crusaders got a 3-pointer from Darian Walker with 2:24 on the clock, sparking an 7-0 run to end the half and give Valpo a 42-34 lead at the break. ... After the break, the Bucs fell behind by as many as 13 points at 62-49, but Bartow changed up the ETSU defense and began to utilize the team’s full-court press, helping to manufacture a 15-4 offensive run that made it 66-64. However, at that point Peters hit a pair of 3-pointers to ignite the Crusaders offense once again and edge back out to a 78-69 lead. ETSU never threatened again.
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 830 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.
Rembert, Wilson, Riley approaching 1,000-point plateau
Senior guards Rashawn Rembert (Tampa, Fla.) and Jalen Riley (Racine, Wis.), along with junior forward Lester Wilson (Knoxville) are each within range of topping the 1,000-point mark for their careers this season ... Rembert and Wilson have the best chance to top 1,000, as Rembert currently stands at 901 points for his career, while Wilson has 782 points in two previous seasons ... Riley will need a strong year offensively to reach 1,000, as he stands at 496 points so far ... He certainly got off to a good start this year, netting 27 in the season opener at Valpo (11/14).
Rembert making his place in ETSU hoops history
Senior guard Rashawn Rembert (Tampa, Fla.) has become one of the most feared shooters in the country over the last two years, and after a 2013-14 season in which he led the Atlantic Sun Conference in scoring (16.8 ppg) while also setting a new ETSU program record for 3-pointers in a season with 108, expectations are high as the 2014-15 campaign begins ... The quality numbers don’t stop with purely scoring and 3-point shooting, as he posted a Top 10 ETSU single season mark for free throw shooting percentage last season (.842), while also helping the Bucs finish with the top season marks ever for free throws made (656) and attempted (877) ... Rembert was also an Ironman on the floor, average 36.1 minutes per game, the fourth highest total in program history ... A preseason All Southern Conference pick, Rembert will be the focus of many defensive game plans this year.
Rembert named Lou Henson award finalist
Senior guard Rashawn Rembert (Tampa, Fla.) has been selected as a candidate for the Lou Henson Award, which is presented annually to the Division I “Mid-Major” Player of the Year ... The award is named in honor of Henson who retired after a spectacular coaching career that lasted 41 years. When he left the game in 2005 he was sixth all-time in career Division I wins with 779. He is the winningest coach at both Illinois and New Mexico State. He is one of only 12 coaches in the history of the game to take two schools to the Final Four. ... The 2015 recipient will be announced at the CollegeInsider.com Awards Banquet on April 3 in Indianapolis, site of the 2015 men’s NCAA Basketball Championship.
Bartow atop list of second generation coaches
Murry Bartow’s coaching lineage is undeniable ... As the son of the late Gene Bartow, he had the fortunate opportunity to grow up learning from one of the most successful basketball coaches in college history ... Setting off on his own career, Bartow has carried on the tradition. ... His 208 wins at ETSU ranks second on the Bucs’ all-time list ... In addition, Bartow’s 311 career victories ranks No. 1 among second generation coaches ... Along with his father’s 647 career wins, the Bartow men have combined for 919 victories, ranking fourth on the all-time win list for Father/Son coaches.
Perimeter trio accounts for signiciant offensive output
The trio of senior guards Rashawn Rembert (Tampa) and Jalen Riley (Racine, Wis.), along with forward Lester Wilson (Knoxville), accounted for over 50 percent of the team’s offensive production a year ago, with Rembert and Riley leading the team with 16.8 and 13.4 points per game, respectively, while Wilson pitched in 10.1 points per game. While Rembert’s numbers were highlighted in a previous note entry, Riley finished third on the single season list with 169 made free throws a year ago, and finished fifth on the all-time free throw attempt list with 202 on the season ... As for Wilson, he found a groove in the later part of last season ... Starting in late January, he finished the year averaging 13.9 points and 4.7 rebounds a game, while shooting 44 percent from the field, 39 percent from 3-point range, and 93 percent at the foul line ... By comparison, before his recent streak, Wilson had averaged 7.5 points and 2.6 rebounds per game on just 33% shooting from the field and 26% shooting from 3-point range.
Bucs need to get defensive this season
A year ago, ETSU’s offensive production was one of the best ever, as the team finished third on the all-time list with 2,689 points on the year ... However, despite averaging 76.8 points per game, the team also allowed opponents to score an average of 76.1 a game ... Even though Coach Murry Bartow’s team can score the basketball, key to success this year will be the Bucs’ improved defensive effort.
Biggest question for the Bucs in 2014-15? The inside game
Though the Buccaneers return an experienced and talented backcourt, the team’s frontcourt will present the biggest questions for the team as they begin a new season ... Having lost both its starting 4 and 5 position player, the Bucs return only one player on the inside that averaged more than five minutes a game last season ... That lone returning player is sophomore Isaac Banks (New Orleans, La.), while transfers Ron Giplaye (Lowell, Mass.), Alex Bates (Greenbelt, Md.) and Tommy Williams (Augusta, Ga.), and true freshman Karl Overstreet (Lynchburg, Va.) will round out the team’s options on the inside.
Bucs adds to postseason resume in 2013-14
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) ... A year ago, the Bucs made their second trip all-time to the CIT Postseason Tournament, marking the program’s 13th postseason tournament appearance all-time ... In the Bucs first CIT appearance, ETSU went 2-1 with wins over Furman and Ohio, advancing to the tournament semifinals before losing to Iona in a hard-fought 83-80 contest at the Dome ... Last year, the Bucs went 1-1, defeating fellow Southern Conference member Chattanooga before falling to Towson in the quarterfinals.
ETSU picked to “Prestige” programs list
Since the beginning of 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, with back-to-back NCAA appearances in 2009 and 2010, followed by CIT appearances in 2011 and 2014 … Since the 1984-85 season, the Buccaneers, who have enjoyed nine NCAA Tournament trips, two NIT berths, two CIT berths, 11 20-win seasons, and a slew of conference regular season and tournament championships in that time, 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 current and former Southern Conference rivals Appalachian State, Western Carolina, Georgia Southern and UNC Greensboro. ... In addition, the Bucs ranked ahead of SEC schools such as Tennessee, Vanderbilt, South Carolina, Mississippi State, Georgia, Mississippi and Auburn, as well as other major programs such as Virginia Tech, Notre Dame, DePaul, Bradley, Clemson, California and Florida State.