RICHMOND, Va. (Dec. 22, 2014) – Off to its best start in a decade, the ETSU men’s basketball team will face its toughest challenge of the season so far when the Buccaneers visit VCU Monday night to take on the Rams inside the Siegel Center.
Tip is set for 7 p.m. and the game will be available on television in some areas via Comcast Sports Net Plus. In addition, fans can listen via radio and on live internet audio streaming courtesy of the Buccaneer Sports Network presented by East Coast Wings.
The Bucs (6-2) have won six of their last seven games, but have won three road contests by a combined 12 points. Meanwhile, VCU is coming off a win on the road at Cincinnati on Saturday, and is once again one of the most feared defensive units in the country thanks to their “Havoc” defense.
For more on Monday’s game, read the game notes below or click on the game notebook 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 be back to lead the Bucs, the team will also return starters A.J. Merriweather (Jackson) and Petey McClain (Mobile, Ala.) this season ... One major area of concern for the Bucs will be the frontcourt, 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. VCU
The Bucs and Rams have met 10 times previously ... ETSU has never beaten VCU ... The first game was played in 1971 and the last in 2012, which was a 109-58 loss in Johnson City.
Last time out vs. VCU
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Jan. 2, 2013) – It was a record-setting night inside the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center. Unfortunately for the home standing ETSU Buccaneers, it was visiting VCU that was rewriting history. ... On a night when ETSU athletics unveiled a “new look” Dome with an overhead lighting system and refurbished championship banners, VCU guard Troy Daniels shot the lights out with an Atlantic 10 Conference record 11 three pointers on his way to a career high 33 points, leading the Rams past ETSU 109-58 Wednesday night in men’s non-conference basketball action. ... The Rams’ 109 points was the highest offensive total ever by an ETSU opponent inside the Dome, and it was the first time since the 2007 season that the Bucs have suffered a loss of 50 points or more. ... Daniels – who also matched the Dome record for 3-pointers in a game which was originally set by Belmont’s Josh Goodwin during the 2005-06 season – was joined in double figures by teammates Treveon Graham with 19 points, Juvonte Reddic with 14, and Melvin Johnson with 10. ... The Bucs got a team-high 14 points from freshman forward Lester Wilson (Knoxville), as well as 11 points each from sophomores John Walton (Memphis) and Rashawn Rembert (Tampa, Fla.) in the losing effort.
Last time out
RICHMOND, Ky. (Dec. 16, 2014) – Senior guard Rashawn Rembert (Tampa, Fla.) scored a game-high 30 points and the ETSU men’s basketball team tied the school record for 3-pointers in a single game, but the Buccaneers still had to hold off a frenetic rally by Eastern Kentucky to capture a hard fought 63-60 win over the Colonels in non-conference play at McBrayer Arena. ... With Rembert hitting nine 3-pointers himself and the Buccaneers tying the school record for threes in a game with 15, ETSU built an 18-point, second-half lead only to see the Colonels close on a 19-3 run to make it 62-60 with a minute left. The game was not decided until a free throw by sophomore guard Devin Harris (Tampa, Fla.) made it a three-point game and EKU’s Corey Walden’s last-second 3-pointer fell short. ... While Rembert finished with 30 points and junior forward Lester Wilson (Knoxville) added 15, sophomore Isaac Banks (New Orleans) was certainly a bright spot. Playing a career high 40 minutes, Banks grabbed nine rebounds, scored six points, dished out four assists and swiped one steal.
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 in upper half of “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.
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 20.0 ppg, Rembert second with 17.9 a contest, and Wilson netting 14.3 ppg.
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) two times at home -- and a total of three times all together ... Those numbers have led some people to start calling Freedom Hall by a new moniker -- Three-dom Hall ... As a team, the Bucs currently rank second nationally with 12.3 3-pointers per game, and rank 11th in the nation in 3-point field goal percentage (41.5%) ... Individually, junior forward Lester Wilson (Knoxville), along with senior guards Rashawn Rembert (Tampa, Fla.) and Jalen Riley (Racine, Wis.) are ranked among the nation’s best in 3-pointers per game ... Rembert is 3rd (4.1 pg), Wilson is 11th (3.5) and Riley 30th (3.1).
McClain making place next to ETSU’s greatest PG
ETSU fans have fond memories over former point guard and All-American Keith “Mister” Jennings, who is considered the program’s greatest player ... What many fans may not realize is that current point guard Petey McClain (Mobile, Ala.) is quietly making a place next to Jennings in the ETSU record books ... Currently, McClain ranks No. 2 next to Jennings on the Bucs’ all-time assist/turnover ratio list, making him one of the two best guards in school history for protecting the basketball ... McClain also ranks in the Top 10 all-time for total assists (10th) and assists per game (6th) ... He also currently ranks 38th nationally in assist/turnover ratio at 2.9.
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 three of their road wins this season, winning at Winthrop, Morehead State and Eastern Kentucky 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 5th in the country in total turnovers (93) and 29th in turnover margin (3.6).
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 837 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 886 points in his two plus seasons, while Riley will need a strong year offensively to reach 1,000, as he stands now at 629 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.
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.