JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Jan. 10, 2015) – This game has been a decade in the making.
For the first time since the 2004-05 season, the ETSU men’s basketball team will face rival Chattanooga once again as members of the Southern Conference when the Mocs invade Freedom Hall Saturday afternoon at 4 p.m.
While the two teams have played non-conference games over the last 10 years, the intensity of the longtime rivals meeting in league action is sure to carry some added drama. The Bucs enter the game at 9-4 overall, 4-1 in SoCon play, while Chattanooga is currently 10-7, 3-1.
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 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. Chattanooga
In what is widely considered the longest and most heated rivalry in ETSU basketball history, the Bucs and Mocs have met 76 times with ETSU trailing the all-time series 34 to 42 ... The two teams shared the same conference from 1979 to 2005, spending several years battling in the Southern Conference ... The Bucs won the last meeting 79-66 in the first round of the CollegeInsider.com Tournament back on March 18, 2014 in Johnson City.
Last time out vs. Chattanooga
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (March 18, 2014) – Round one of a rivalry renewed went to the ETSU men’s basketball team. ... With the Buccaneers joining the Southern Conference in 2014-15, ETSU fans got a preview of things to come as the Bucs faced longtime rival Chattanooga for the first time in five years, using their best defensive effort of the season to drop the Mocs 79-66 in the first round of the CollegeInsider.com Tournament at the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center. ... ETSU (19-15) held the Mocs to just 31.4 percent shooting from the floor – a season low for ETSU opponents – and the Bucs got double-figure scoring from four players, led by a game-high 23 points from junior guard Jaley Riley (Racine, Wis.) and 17 points from junior guard Rashawn Rembert (Tampa, Fla.) ... Along with Riley and Rembert, the Bucs also got 12 points from senior forward Kinard Gadsden-Gilliard (Georgetown, S.C.) and 11 from freshman guard A.J. Merriweather (Jackson, Tenn.). Senior forward Hunter Harris (Nashville) also contributed to the cause with 12 rebounds, two blocks and two steals.
Last time out
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Jan. 8, 2015) – Leading by 13 points with seven minutes left in regulation, the ETSU men’s basketball team held on as a frantic Mercer rally ended when a last-second shot by the Bears’ Darious Moten missed the mark, giving the Buccaneers a 71-70 win in Southern Conference play inside Freedom Hall. ... With the victory, the Bucs snapped a five-game losing streak to Mercer dating back to the 2011-12 season, and improved to 9-4 overall, 4-1 in SoCon play. Meanwhile, Mercer drops to 8-9, 3-1. ... ETSU led by as many as 13 on three different occasions in the second half, but with 3:25 left in the game a layup by Mercer’s Jordan Strawberry capped an 8-3 run to make it 69-62. ... From there, the Bears continued to chip away at the Bucs’ lead and ultimately using an 8-2 run – capped by a dunk from Moten with 40 seconds left – to make it 71-70. On the next possession, Riley turned the ball over with nine seconds left, and the Bucs were left to make a defensive stop. ... The Bears in-bounded the ball and were unable to progress to the basket quick enough as the Bucs implemented a full-court defense, forcing a timeout by head coach Bob Hoffman with 2.8 seconds left on the clock. After the timeout, the Bears did run a well-designed play to get Moten an open look from 15 feet, but the shot missed the mark.
ETSU and Chattanooga similarities striking
The rivalry between the Buccaneers and Mocs is in many ways directly related to the similarities between the programs. Both teams’ successes have mirrored each other:
Overall championships 21 28
Regular Season ( to include North Titles) 12 18
NCAA Appearances 9 10
Sweet 16 Appearances 1 1
Players of the Year 9 5
Coaches of the Year 8 6
The two teams have met five times in tournament title games, with ETSU holding a 3-2 advantage in those matchup, winning in 1992, 2003 and 2004, while the Mocs have victories in 1983 and 1993. Over a 17-year span from 1981 to 1997, the Bucs and Mocs represented the SoCon in the NCAAs a remarkable 12 times (ETSU four times and Chattanooga eight times).
Riley rolling in SoCon play, one of nation’s best scorers
In five games against Southern Conference teams this season, senior guard Jalen Riley (Racine, Wis.) has put up impressive scoring numbers ... Riley is averaging 27.8 points per game in SoCon games, while shooting 51 percent from the field, 45 percent from 3-point range and 87 percent at the foul line ... He is also averaging 3.4 assists and 2.0 steals per game against SoCon teams. ... For the year, Riley is currently first in the SoCon in scoring with 20.5 points per game, and he ranks 10th nationally as well.
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 ... With two more made threes, Rembert -- who currently has 221 made 3-pointers in his career -- will move into second place on the ETSU all-time 3-point list ... he also currently stands 25th on the all-time scoring list with 1,115 points ... The quality numbers don’t stop with just scoring and 3-point shooting, as a year ago he set Top 10 single season marks for free throw shooting percentage (.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.
Bucs rank among best in NCAA in various categories
This season, the Buccaneers are ranking among the best teams and players in the country in various categories ... The chart to the left shows where the Bucs rank following games on Jan. 8.
Thirteen 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 six home games so far this season, the team has combined to hit 69 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 fifth nationally with 11.1 3-pointers per game, and rank 14th in the nation in 3-point field goal percentage (40.3%) ... 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 threes per game ... Rembert is 4th (3.9 pg), Wilson is 12th (3.2) and Riley 41st (2.9).
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 20.5 ppg, Rembert second with 17.0 a contest, and Wilson netting 14.1 ppg.
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 842 consecutive games. ... ETSU was 0-for-8 in that 1987 game. ... The Bucs currently rank as the 7th longest streak in the NCAA.
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 entered the year ranking in the Top 10 all-time for total assists (10th) and assists per game (6th). ... In his last outing, McClain matched his career high with 11 assists in the loss to Tennessee (12/31).
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.
Rembert, Wilson, Riley approaching 1,000-point plateau
Senior guard 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 ... While Rembert now stands at 1,115 for his career, Wilson is at 955 points in his two plus seasons, while Riley will need a strong year offensively to reach 1,000, as he stands now at 736 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).
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 217 wins at ETSU ranks second on the Bucs’ all-time list ... In addition, Bartow’s 320 career victories ranks No. 1 among second generation coaches ... Along with his father’s 647 career wins, the Bartow men have combined for 965 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 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.