MOREHEAD, Ky. (Dec. 1, 2014) – After enjoying a week-long break for the Thanksgiving holidays, the ETSU men’s basketball team will look to extend its current three-game winning streak as the Buccaneers travel to face non-conference foe Morehead State Monday evening inside Johnson Arena.
The game will tip at 7 p.m. and can be seen via on-line video streaming courtesy of ovcdigitalnetwork.com, and can be heard on radio courtesy of the Buccaneer Sports Network presented by East Coast Wings.
The Bucs and Eagles were longtime rivals during ETSU’s time in the Ohio Valley Conference, but have had many non-conference meetings in the 30-plus years since the Bucs left the OVC.
For more on Monday’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. Morehead State
The Bucs and Eagles have met 52 times, with most of those games being played during ETSU’s time in the OVC ... Morehead leads the series 28-24 and has won the last four meetings, including a
Last time out vs. Morehead State
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Nov. 12, 2013) – Despite a 17-0 offensive run in the first half and leading midway through the second half, the ETSU men’s basketball team was unable to hold off Morehead State as the Eagles crashed the Buccaneers’ regular season home opener with 71-63 victory inside the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center. ... Morehead State’s key to victory came on the inside, where they out-rebounded the Bucs 45-30 overall, and held a 20-7 advantage on the offensive end of the floor. With the loss, ETSU drops to 0-2 on the season, while the Eagles improved to 2-0. ... Despite holding the Eagles to just 37 percent shooting from the floor and forcing 15 turnovers, the Bucs slowly relinquished their 31-25 halftime lead and fell behind for good when Morehead State’s Angelo Warner sank a 3-pointer with 8:28 left in the game to make it 52-51. ... For the Bucs, junior guard Rashawn Rembert (Tampa, Fla.) scored a team-high and career-best 21 points, while sophomore forward Lester Wilson (Knoxville) pitched in 13, and freshman guard A.J. Merriweather (Jackson) added 12. ... The Bucs trailed 10-4 in the early going, but exploded on a 17-0 run to take a 21-10 lead with 7:04 left in the first half. From there, Morehead State managed to slowly pull closer and ultimately trailed by six at the break. ... In the second half, the Bucs actually got to within two points at 62-60 with 4:59 left, but another Warner 3-pointer ended the Bucs rally.
Last time out
ROCK HILL, S.C. (Nov. 24, 2014) – In a matchup of team’s that are expected to battle for conference titles in their respective conferences, the ETSU men’s basketball team made multiple defensive stops down the stretch and senior guard Jalen Riley (Racine, Wis.) scored seven decisive points in the final minute to give the Buccaneers a 69-64 road win over Winthrop inside the Winthrop Coliseum. ... With the game tied at 61 and just 49 seconds left, Riley connected on a deep 3-pointer as the shot clock was expiring and later hit four straight free throws to ice the victory. ... Riley’s heroics came after he had struggled to shoot just 1-for-8 from the field before hitting what was the decisive shot of the game. He finished with 10 points on the night, while junior forward Lester Wilson (Knoxville) scored a team-high 20 and senior guard Rashawn Rembert (Tampa, Fla.) netted 16. ... Wilson was a difference maker in the first half and helped stake the Bucs to a 32-28 lead at the break. Despite two quick fouls and heading to the bench early on, Bartow gambled by putting Wilson back in the game with over 12 minutes left before the intermission and he responded with 14 first-half points – thanks mainly to a 4-for-6 effort from beyond the arc. ... After the break, Winthrop found a new rhythm on offense and opened with a 15-3 run to take their largest lead of the game at 43-35 with 15:12 left in regulation. During that span the Bucs did not have a field goal, but finally broke that string thanks to a 3-pointer by Riley that made it 43-39 with 12:49 left. ... Riley’s basket ignited the Bucs from outside, as Rembert hit three straight 3-pointers and sophomore A.J. Merriweather (Jackson) added a fourth to power a 15-7 spurt and put ETSU back in front 54-50 with 6:20 left in the game. Winthrop answered at that point with a 9-0 run to make it 59-54, but the Bucs battled back again and tied the game at 61 thanks to a pair of free throws by Rembert with 2:30 left. ... Making multiple stops and keeping Winthrop from making a field goal for a four-minute stretch at the end, Riley ultimately made it 64-61 on his 3-pointer with 49 seconds left. Later on, Winthrop did make it interesting when Keon Johnson’s air-balled 3-pointer found the hands of teammate Keon Moore, who scored and was fouled on the play, making it 65-64 on his foul shot. However, Riley was fouled and hit his two free throws, and was later fouled again when another Winthrop 3-pointer missed the mark.
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.
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 833 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 962 points for his career, while Wilson has 828 points in his two plus seasons ... Riley will need a strong year offensively to reach 1,000, as he stands at 543 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 211 wins at ETSU ranks second on the Bucs’ all-time list ... In addition, Bartow’s 314 career victories ranks No. 1 among second generation coaches ... Along with his father’s 647 career wins, the Bartow men have combined for 922 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.