JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Dec. 13, 2014) – Following a 10-day break to complete final exams, the ETSU men’s basketball team will be back in action Saturday, hosting UNC Greensboro in Southern Conference action at Freedom Hall. Tip is set for 4 p.m.
The Buccaneers – who are 5-1 overall, 1-0 in SoCon play – will be looking to post the best start in school history since the 1990-91 season, when that team began that year with a 14-1 record. Standing in the way of the Bucs will be a Spartans team that is opening its SoCon schedule after starting the year 3-6 in non-conference play.
ETSU will have to face the Spartans without a major contributor to the team’s success this year. Senior forward Ron Giplaye (Lowell, Mass.) was injured earlier this week during practice, and will miss the remainder of the year. Giplaye, along with senior Alex Bates (Greenbelt, Md.), have maintained the Bucs’ inside game throughout the early part of the season, leaving the Bucs with some questions to answer regarding that lost production.
Following Saturday’s game, the Bucs will hit the road for three straight contests. Those games will include visits to Eastern Kentucky (Dec. 16), VCU (Dec. 22) and Tennessee (Dec. 31). The Bucs return home in the New Year, getting back to SoCon action when VMI visits on Jan. 2.
For more on Saturday’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 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. UNC Greensboro
This will be the first meeting between the Buccaneers and Spartans since the 2004-05 season, ETSU’s last in the Southern Conference before rejoining the league this year ... The Bucs hold an 11-8 lead in the all-time series and won the last meeting between the two schools 105-78 back on Feb. 12, 2005.
Last time out vs. UNC Greensboro
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Feb. 12, 2005) - Senior guard James Anthony (Tampa, Fla.) scored a career high 30 points and set an East Tennessee State single-game record with eight 3-point baskets, as the Buccaneers raced to a 35-point halftime lead and went on to take a 105-78 victory over Southern Conference rival UNC Greensboro in front of 4,142 fans at Memorial Center. ... Along with Anthony’s record, the Bucs matched the program record for 3-pointers in a single game with 15, as junior guard Tim Smith (Newport News, Va.) scored 25 points on 10-of-19 shooting from the floor and sophomore guard Travis Strong (Memphis) was 3-of-5 from 3-point range for 18 points. ... The Bucs (7-16 overall, 3-10 SoCon) opened the game with easily their most productive first half of the season, shooting 68 percent from the floor and scoring 64 points to take a 35-point lead at the intermission.
Last time out
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Dec. 3, 2014) – On a night when the goal was to fill Freedom Hall, ETSU and Western Carolina filled the baskets with a record shooting performance. ... But as he has done on multiple occasions already this season, it was ETSU senior guard Jalen Riley (Racine, Wis.) who landed the decisive blow in the final seconds. ... With a pair of free throws and a clutch 3-pointer that took a tie game and gave the Buccaneers a five-point lead with 1:39 left on the clock, Riley – who finished with a career high 31 points – helped ETSU hold off Western Carolina 96-89 in the Southern Conference opener for both teams in front of 4,287 fans at Freedom Hall. ... Along with helping seal with win, Riley’s final 3-pointer of the game also helped the Bucs match the school record for 3-pointers in a game with 15, while Western Carolina finished with 11 long-range shots of its own on the night. In fact, Western overcame a 16-point halftime deficit to tie the game at 83 before ETSU used a 10-0 run to end the Catamounts’ threat. ... Along with Riley’s 31 points, the Bucs also got 22 points from senior guard Rashawn Rembert (Tampa, Fla.), 17 from junior forward Lester Wilson (Knoxville) and 16 from sophomore guard A.J. Merriweather (Jackson). Meanwhile, the Catamounts were led by a career high 30 points from guard Rhett Harrelson, while fellow guard James Sinclair netted 23 and forward Torrion Brummitt added 11.
Six games into the season, it’s no secret that the Buccaneers are relying on their 3-point shooting as a major component of the team’s offense this year ... In three home games so far this season, the team has combined to hit 44 3-pointers, and has tied the school record for 3-pointers in a game (15) twice ... Those numbers have led some people to start calling Freedom Hall by a new moniker -- Three-dom Hall ... As a team, the Bucs rank fourth nationally with 12.0 3-pointers per game, and rank 12th in the nation in 3-point field goal percentage (42.4%) ... Individually, junior forward Lester Wilson (Knoxville) ranks 10th with 3.8 3-pointers per game, while senior guards Rashawn Rembert (Tampa, Fla.) and Jalen Riley (Racine, Wis.) rank 15th and 41st, nationally.
Bucs off to historically good start
With a win over the Spartans on Saturday, the Bucs would improve to 6-1 and it would mark the best start for an ETSU team since the 1990-91 campaign ... That year, the Bucs started the year 14-1 and actually posted its best national ranking ever, rising to 10th in the country in the Associated Press poll. ... Currently at 5-1, it is the best start since the 2003-04 season ... In both 1990-91 and 2003-04, ETSU won the Southern Conference Tournament title and advanced to the NCAA Tournament.
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. ... That same group has picked up where it left off a year ago, with Riley leading the team with 21.0 ppg, Rembert second with 16.7 a contest, and Wilson netting 15.2 ppg.
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. ... The Bucs have been effective defensively in their last two games, winning at Winthrop and Morehead State by holding those teams to scoring games in the 60s.
Assist, turnover numbers key to ETSU success
So far this season, the Bucs offensive proficiency has relied greatly on taking care of the basketball ... As a team, the Bucs rank 7th in the country in turnover margin (5.8) and 40th in assist/turnover ratio (1.3) ... The team also ranks 16th in the nation with only 10.7 turnovers per game ... Individually, junior guard Petey McClain ranks 17th nationally with a 3.8 assist/turnover ratio.
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 835 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 994 points for his career, while Wilson has 863 points in his two plus seasons ... Riley will need a strong year offensively to reach 1,000, as he stands at 595 points so far ... Riley certainly got off to a good start this year, netting 27 in the season opener at Valpo (11/14), 21 against UVa.-Wise (11/18) and 31 in the win over Western Carolina (12/3)
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 213 wins at ETSU ranks second on the Bucs’ all-time list ... In addition, Bartow’s 316 career victories ranks No. 1 among second generation coaches ... Along with his father’s 647 career wins, the Bartow men have combined for 963 victories, ranking fourth on the all-time win list for Father/Son coaches.
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.