RICHMOND, Ky. (Dec. 16, 2014) – After a pair of Southern Conference games, the ETSU men’s basketball team will return to non-conference play on Tuesday night, as the Buccaneers travel to face former Ohio Valley Conference rival Eastern Kentucky.
Tip inside McBrayer Arena is set for 7 p.m., and the game will be broadcast via live video streaming at ovcdigitalnetwork.com. Fans can also listen live through the Buccaneer Sports Network family of radio stations, and via audio streaming at ETSUBucs.com.
The Bucs, who stand at 5-2 on the year, are coming off an 80-79 loss to UNC Greensboro on Saturday afternoon. Meanwhile, EKU holds a 5-3 record and snapped a three-game losing streak on the road at IUPUI on Saturday.
For more on the matchup with Eastern Kentucky, 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 ... Along with the loss of senior Ron Giplaye (Lowell, Mass.) to a knee injury earlier this season, sophomore Isaac Banks, and newcomers such as senior Alex Bates (Greenbelt, Md.), junior Tommy Williams and freshman Karl Overstreet (Lynchburg, Va.) are left to make up for those losses on the inside ... 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. Eastern Kentucky
The Bucs and Colonels have met 49 times dating back to their days as Ohio Valley Conference rivals during the 1960s and 70s ... EKU leads the all-time series 28-21, but the Bucs won the last meeting 76-56 back on Nov. 17, 2007.
Last time out vs. Eastern Kentucky
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Nov. 17, 2007) -- Four ETSU players scored in double figures led by a game-high 17 from senior post Andrew Reed (Port Richey, Fla.), as the Buccaneers upended defending Ohio Valley Conference tournament champion Eastern Kentucky 76-56 in the home opener for ETSU at Memorial Center. ... Along with Reed’s 17 points and eight rebounds, the Bucs got 16 points from junior guard Courtney Pigram (Memphis), 14 from junior forward Kevin Tiggs (Flint, Mich.), and 10 from senior forward Kenyona Swader (Smyrna, Tenn.). While the Bucs’ offense flowed with a 58 percent shooting clip from the floor, ETSU was just as impressive on the other end of the floor, holding the Colonels to just 33 percent shooting on the night. ... In the early going, the Colonels (2-1) hit on a string of 3-point attempts to lead 9-8 just three minutes into the game. However, from there the Bucs would not trail again, retaking the advantage at 10-9 and leading by as many as 14 on a dunk by Swader that made it 28-14 with just under 11 minutes left in the half. By the end of the first 20 minutes, ETSU led 38-27. ... The Colonels’ cold shooting continued after the intermission, as EKU hit on just 40 percent in the first half and just 25.9 percent in the second half. While EKU got to within 10 points on a couple of occasions, the Colonels were unable to get any closer and trailed by as many as 22.
Last time out
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Dec. 13, 2014) – ETSU senior guard Rashawn Rembert (Tampa, Fla.) eclipsed 1,000 points for his career, but the UNC Greensboro Spartans ruined the celebration by dropping the Buccaneers 80-79 in Southern Conference men’s basketball action at Freedom Hall. ... Losing for the first time in seven games at Freedom Hall since last season, the Bucs’ defense was unable to stop the Spartans, who shot 50 percent from the field and 45 percent from 3-point range for the game. Guard Tevon Saddler led the attack for the Spartans with a team-high 24 points, as UNCG improved to 4-6 overall, 1-0 in SoCon play. ... Meanwhile, ETSU – which dropped to 5-2 overall, 1-1 in SoCon play – was led by 28 points from senior guard Jalen Riley (Racine, Wis.), 13 points from Rembert, and a double-double effort from sophomore guard A.J. Merriweather (Jackson), who finished with a 13 points and a career high 14 rebounds. ... In the first half, the Bucs looked like a team coming off a 10-day break. Struggling on the offensive end, ETSU did not connect for its first field goal until the 13:49 mark of the first half. ... The Bucs rallied thanks to the efforts of Riley – who scored 20 first-half points and basically fueled the team’s offensive revival. In the end, the Bucs got to within one at 42-41 before the Spartans were able to finish on a spurt and enjoy a 47-43 edge at half. ... In the second half, the Bucs were able to take their first lead of the game until a Riley layup that made it 53-52 with 14:03 left in regulation. However, the Spartans responded with an 8-0 run of their own to make it 60-53 with 12:45 left. ... The Bucs responded with an 11-2 burst to regain the lead at 64-62 and the two teams proceeded to trade the lead three times before UNCG found itself holding a 77-73 advantage with 2:39 left in the game. From there, the Bucs were unable to regain the lead, and a free throw by Sadler made it a four point game with four seconds left. Rembert then hit a three at the buzzer to make it an 80-79 final.
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 four home games so far this season, the team has combined to hit 55 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 11.9 3-pointers per game, and rank 20th in the nation in 3-point field goal percentage (41.1%) ... Individually, junior forward Lester Wilson (Knoxville), along with senior guards Rashawn Rembert (Tampa, Fla.) and Jalen Riley (Racine, Wis.) are tied for 16th nationally with an average of 3.4 3-pointers per game.
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 22.0 ppg, Rembert second with 16.1 a contest, and Wilson netting 14.1 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 two of their road wins this season, 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 (5.0) and 42nd in assist/turnover ratio (1.3) ... The team also ranks 11th in the nation with only 10.4 turnovers per game ... Individually, junior guard Petey McClain ranks 30th nationally with a 3.3 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 836 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.) recently surpassed the 1,000-point mark for his career, leaving teammates Jalen Riley (Racine, Wis.), along with junior forward Lester Wilson (Knoxville) aiming to join him in that elite group ... Wilson now stands at 871 points in his two plus seasons, while Riley will need a strong year offensively to reach 1,000, as he stands now at 626 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), 31 in the win over Western Carolina (12/3), and 28 in the loss to UNC Greensboro (12/13).
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.