ROCK HILL, S.C. (Nov. 24, 2014) – After having met Winthrop for the first time a year ago, the ETSU men’s basketball will make the return trip on Monday night, facing the traditionally-strong mid-major program on its home court at the Winthrop Coliseum. Tip is set for 7 p.m.
The game will air on the Buccaneer Sports Network radio affiliates, and live video coverage will be available through BigSouthSports.com.
For the Bucs, this will be another important, early-season test on the road. Coming off a home win over Asheville on Saturday night, ETSU will be looking to continue to build momentum as the Bucs approach their return to the Southern Conference against Western Carolina on Dec. 3 at Freedom Hall.
A year ago, inconsistent play cost ETSU in a 76-66 loss to Winthrop inside the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center. The Bucs led that game at halftime as well as early in the second half, but looked on as the Eagles put together a solid offensive run midway through the second half and held on for the victory.
For more on Monday’s matchup, read the game notes below or click on the game notes link to 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. Winthrop
This will be just the second meeting all-time between the Buccaneers and Eagles ... Winthrop won the first meeting a year ago, 76-66 inside the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center back on Nov. 19, 2013).
Last time out vs. Winthrop
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Nov. 19, 2013) – ETSU head coach Murry Bartow says consistency is the key to his team’s performance this season. Unfortunately for Bartow, his Buccaneers were once again unable to deliver a consistent effort Tuesday night against Winthrop. ... Despite a 15-0 offensive run that turned around a 48-34 deficit and gave the Bucs a 49-48 lead with 12:43 left in the game, the Eagles responded with their own 14-2 burst to pull back ahead and they never relinquished that advantage in a 76-66 victory inside the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center. ... Winthrop was led by forward Joab Jerome with a game-high 18 points, while forward James Bourne pitched in 12, guard Keon Johnson netted 11, and guard Andre Smith added 10. For the Bucs, senior forwards Hunter Harris (Nashville) and Kinard Gadsden-Gilliard (Georgetown, S.C.) led the way with 18 points and 16 points, respectively, while junior guard Jalen Riley (Racine, Wisc.) collected 12. ... In looking at the final statistics, the Bucs inconsistency was obvious, as the team shot just 29.2 percent from the floor in the first half, but was an impressive 64 percent from the field in the second half. ETSU also scored just 25 points in the first half, compared to 41 in the second half. That poor offensive effort in the first half allowed Winthrop to build a lead of 35-25 at the intermission, and they extended that lead to 48-34 with 16:15 left in the game. ... At that point, Gadsden-Gilliard scored eight straight thanks to back-to-back 3-pointers and a field goal, helping power the Bucs’ comeback that ended with a 3-pointer by senior guard Rashawn Rembert (Tampa, Fla.) that made it 49-48. From there, though, Winthrop outscored the Bucs 28-17. ...Again, the Bucs were out-rebounded 36-31.
Last time out
JOHNSON CITY (Nov. 22, 2014) – Tying a school record with 15 made 3-pointers as a team and powered by a game-high 31 points from senior guard Rashawn Rembert (Tampa, Fla.), the ETSU men’s basketball won an offensive showcase 98-87 over non-conference opponent UNC Asheville inside Freedom Hall. ... With ETSU shooting 53 percent from the field and the Bulldogs connecting on a 52 percent clip for the night, a total of eight players scored in double figures with four on each team. While Rembert finished with 31, teammates such as senior guard Jalen Riley (Racine, Wis.) netted 16, guard Devin Harris (Tampa, Fla.) collected 12, and senior post Ron Giplaye (Lowell, Mass.) pitched in an important 10 points. ... Giplaye also just missed on a double-double, collecting nine rebounds and three steals in his best performance as a Buccaneer. Harris’ points and three made 3-pointers were also career bests for the sophomore. ... While the offense was impressive, the defensive numbers were critical to the Bucs’ success. ETSU forced Asheville into 23 turnovers and collected 13 steals, while the Bucs gave up the basketball just 11 times on the night. ... With two talented offensive teams on the floor, the first half was a shootout. Both teams shot over 50 percent from the field before the intermission, with ETSU ultimately using a 22-10 run over the final six minutes to lead 53-42 at the break. After the break, the Bucs continued to bomb away from outside and built a lead of as many as 15 at 69-54 with just over 12 minutes left in the game. However, Asheville slowly worked their way back into the contest and got to within four at 88-84 with four minutes left on the clock. ... At that point though, a free throw by sophomore guard A.J. Merriweather (Jackson), a layup by junior guard Petey McClain (Mobile, Ala.), followed by a steal and a score by Riley helped the Bucs back out to a nine-point advantage and basically iced the game.
Record-setting night for ETSU shooters against UNCA
Combining to hit on 15 3-pointers against Asheville, the ETSU men’s basketball team tied the school record for long-range shots in a single game ... The Bucs matched previous teams that hit 15 against Memphis back on Feb. 18, 1991 and against UNC Greensboro back on Feb. 12, 2005. ... In addition, senior guard Rashawn Rembert (Tampa) tied his own career best with eight makes from beyond the arc, tying the mark he set back on Feb. 28, 2014 against USC Upstate ... Rembert’s eight makes are tied for second on the single game list with former Bucs James Anthony (Tampa) and Courtney Pigram (Memphis) ... In fact, Pigram holds the single-game record with 10 in a contest against Mercer back on Feb. 28, 2009.
Giplaye steps up game in win over Asheville
This time last year, senior post Ron Giplaye (Lowell, Mass.) was facing a potentially life-threatening heart condition and had endured open heart surgery to correct the issue ... Giplaye then struggled to build back his strength throughout the year, and left reason to wonder if he could ever regain the form that made him a Big East recruit and Providence signee early in his career ... Well, Giplaye answered those questions in the win over Asheville (11/22), playing a solid 28 minutes, netting career bests for points (10), rebounds (9) and steals (3), and generally being a huge part of the Bucs’ success ... With the need to develop a dependable inside game this year, the Bucs were pleased to see Giplaye’s development in the victory.
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 832 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 946 points for his career, while Wilson has 808 points in his two plus seasons ... Riley will need a strong year offensively to reach 1,000, as he stands at 533 points so far ... He certainly got off to a good start this year, netting 27 in the season opener at Valpo (11/14) and 21 against UVa.-Wise (11/18).
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 210 wins at ETSU ranks second on the Bucs’ all-time list ... In addition, Bartow’s 313 career victories ranks No. 1 among second generation coaches ... Along with his father’s 647 career wins, the Bartow men have combined for 921 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.