SPARTANBURG, S.C. (Jan. 24, 2015) – Facing its toughest Southern Conference matchup so far this year, the ETSU men’s basketball team will take to the road Saturday to face preseason league favorite Wofford inside Benjamin Johnson Arena. Tip is set for 7 p.m.
The game will air live on the SoConDigitalNetwork.com, and fans can also listen live via the Buccaneer Sports Network presented by East Coast Wings.
The Bucs (12-6 overall, 6-3 SoCon) can certainly regain hopes of a regular season conference title with a win over the Terriers (15-5, 6-1), a team that earlier this year enjoyed a road win at Atlantic Coast Conference member N.C. State.
Wofford entered the year as the odds-on favorite to win the SoCon after returning the majority of its contributors from a team that won the league and made a trip to the NCAA Tournament last season.
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. Wofford
The Buccaneers hold a dominating 32-6 advantage in the all-time series against the Terriers ... The teams first met in 1958, and Wofford won the last meeting back on Feb. 5, 2005, a 68-64 win in Spartanburg, S.C.
Last time out vs. Wofford
SPARTANBURG, S.C. (Feb. 5, 2005) -- It was another close game and another tough loss for the East Tennessee State men’s basketball team. ... The Buccaneers had their opportunities late in the game but victory was elusive once more, as a poor offensive effort in the second half doomed ETSU and allowed the Wofford Terriers to drop the Bucs 68-64 Saturday evening at the Benjamin Johnson Arena. ... ETSU outrebounded the Terriers 48-34 for the game and held Wofford to just 42 percent shooting from the floor. However, the Bucs were just 3-of-20 from 3-point range for the game and committed 21 turnovers, opening the door for the Wofford win. ... In the first half, the Bucs led 32-26 with just over four minutes left before the intermission. However, ETSU suffered an offensive drought the rest of the way, allowing the Terriers to go on an 11-4 run to take a one-point lead at 37-36 at the break. ... Offensively, the Bucs shot just 31 percent from the floor in the second half and Wofford took advantage. While ETSU tied the game at 37, the Terriers regained the lead and never relinquished it the rest of the way, even though the Bucs cut the advantage to three twice late in the game. ... For the contest, Tim Smith (Newport News, Va.) led all scorers with 28 points.
Last time out
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Jan. 22, 2015) – Junior forward Lester Wilson (Knoxville) eclipsed 1,000 points for his career and senior teammates Rashawn Rembert (Tampa, Fla.) and Jalen Riley (Racine, Wis.) each scored a team-high 18 points, as the ETSU men’s basketball team dropped The Citadel 70-59 in Southern Conference men’s basketball action Thursday night at Freedom Hall. ... The Buccaneers, who improved to 12-6 overall, 6-3 in SoCon play, led by as many as 23 in the first half but had to hold off a resilient Bulldogs team to pick up the victory. With the loss, The Citadel drops to 8-11, 3-5. ... Wilson – who entered the game just one point shy of 1,000 for his career – wasted little time reaching that special milestone, hitting the first shot of the game with a 3-pointer at the 19:13 mark of the first half. ... That basket was the first of many for the Bucs over the first 12 minutes of game action, as ETSU shot extremely well from the field and sprinted out to a 32-9 with 7:43 left before the intermission. Unfortunately for ETSU, the Bulldogs did not simply go away, responding with a 15-0 run of their own to finish the first half down just 39-30. ... At the intermission, ETSU was shooting 52 percent from the floor and 43 percent from 3-point range. ... After the break, both teams exchanged offensive punches, with the Bulldogs getting to within four early in the second half and later getting to within five on multiple occasions. The last surge by The Citadel came with six minutes left in the game, when a 3-pointer by Bulldogs’ sharpshooter Ashton Moore made it 60-55. ... However, at that point the Bucs scored six in a row, highlighted by a 3-pointer from Rembert that made it 66-56 with 1:29 left in the game. From there the Bucs hit their free throws and ended the ’Dogs threat for good.
Will the Bucs make it a “trio” in the 1,000 point club?
Both senior guard Rashawn Rembert (Tampa, Fla.) and junior forward Lester Wilson (Knoxville) recently surpassed the 1,000-point mark for their careers, leaving teammate Jalen Riley (Racine, Wis.) aiming to join them in that elite group. ... While Rembert now stands at 1,209 for his career and Wilson is at 1010 points in his two plus seasons, Riley currently sits at 833 points ... Riley’s current scoring average would easily get him to over 1,000 points by the end of the season.
Riley rolling in SoCon play, one of nation’s best scorers
In nine games against SoCon teams this season, guard Jalen Riley (Racine, Wis.) has put up impressive scoring numbers ... Riley is averaging 24.3 ppg in SoCon games, while shooting 48 percent from the field, 42 percent from 3-point range and 82 percent at line ... In those games, he is also averaging 3.1 assists and 1.7 steals ... For the year, Riley is first in the SoCon in scoring with 20.2 points per game, and he ranks 11th nationally as well. ... Riley has produced these numbers despite not starting much of the season, instead coming off the bench.
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 his five made 3-pointers against Tusculum (1/19), Rembert now stands at 241 career makes from behind the arc, which puts him second on the Bucs’ all-time list ahead of all-time great Keith “Mister” Jennings ... Rembert will now set his sights on first place, which is held by Courtney Pigram (Memphis), who made 276 3-pointers from 2005 to 2009 ... Rembert also currently stands 19th on the all-time scoring list with 1,209 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 last year, averaging 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. 21.
Eighteen games into the season and 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 nine home games so far this season, the team has combined to hit 96 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 third nationally with 10.7 3-pointers per game, and rank 23rd in the nation in 3-point field goal percentage (39.7%) ... 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 3rd (3.9 pg) and Riley is 36th (2.8).
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 847 consecutive games. ... ETSU was 0-for-8 in that 1987 game. ... The Bucs currently rank as the 7th longest streak in the NCAA.
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 20.2 ppg, Rembert second with 17.5 a contest, and Wilson netting 13.2 ppg.
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 fact, McClain matched his career high with 11 assists in the loss to Tennessee (12/31). ... Currently, McClain ranks first in the SoCon and 27th nationally in assist/TO ratio at 2.9, and is second in the SoCon in assists per game with 4.3 a contest.
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 220 wins at ETSU ranks second on the Bucs’ all-time list ... In addition, Bartow’s 323 career victories ranks No. 1 among second generation coaches ... Along with his father’s 647 career wins, the Bartow men have combined for 970 victories, ranking fourth on the all-time win list for Father/Son coaches.
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.
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.