GREENVILLE, S.C. (Jan. 29, 2015) – For the second straight game, the ETSU men’s basketball team will be on the road in Southern Conference play, visiting Furman on Thursday night inside Timmons Arena. Tip is set for 7 p.m.
Fans can watch the game live via the SoConDigitialNetwork.com, or listen thanks to the Buccaneer Sports Network presented by East Coast Wings. Those interested in watching alongside other ETSU fans can attend the official “watch” party at the East Coast Wings location in Johnson City.
For the Bucs (12-7, 6-4 SoCon), this game represents a chance to get back on track after a hard-fought loss to preseason league favorite Wofford last Saturday night. Meanwhile, the Paladins (6-13, 3-5) hope to continue to be a tough opponent for the Bucs, as ETSU enters the game with just a 24-23 lead in the all-time series with Furman.
For more on Thursday’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. Furman
The Bucs and Paladins have a long history dating back to 1962, with most of the games played during ETSU’s previous tenure in the SoCon ... In all, ETSU leads the series 24-23 and has won the last two meetings ... The Bucs last enjoyed a 76-63 win over Furman on March 15, 2011 in the first round of the CollegeInsider.com Tournament.
Last time out vs. Furman
JOHNSON CITY (March 15, 2011) - Senior guard Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.) set a new career high and tied a tournament record with 32 points, leading the ETSU men’s basketball team to a 76-63 win over former Southern Conference rival Furman in the first round of the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament inside the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center. ... The Bucs, who improve to 23-11 on the year, led by 12 points at the half and by as many as 22 points in the second half en route to the victory. Meanwhile, Furman ends its season at 22-11, as the Paladins committed 17 turnovers in the contest and never held the advantage once. ... ETSU must now wait for the other first round CIT games to be completed Tuesday and Wednesday evening before learning of their next opponent, as well as when and where that game will be played. The Bucs should know more within the next 24 hours. ... While Smith finished with his impressive 32-point effort, Tubbs posted 22 points in the victory. Meanwhile, Johnson started at the point, dishing out a game-high four assists and scoring five points in 22 minutes. ... While that trio powered the offense, the Bucs’ defensive effort was equally impressive, holding SoCon first-team selection Amu Saaka to a season low three points. ... Smith was unbelievable in the first half, scoring the Bucs first 12 points and finishing with 21 in only 14 minutes of game action before the intermission. In the second half, the Bucs raced to a 22-point lead, but at that point, Furman woke up with a 14-0 offensive run to cut the advantage to 62-54 with 7:21 remaining. The Paladins would not get any closer, though, as the Bucs pulled back ahead by as many as 15 before winning by 13.
Last time out
SPARTANBURG, S.C. (Jan. 24, 2015) – The ETSU men’s basketball team overcame a large second half deficit, but the rally fell short as Wofford held off the Buccaneers 72-64 in Southern Conference play Saturday evening inside Benjamin Johnson Arena. ... Trailing by as many as 21 midway through the second half, the Bucs (12-7, 6-4 SoCon) cut the Terriers’ lead to four twice in the final 1:38 of regulation. However, Wofford (16-5, 7-1) made plays down the stretch to secure the win, holding the Bucs to just three made 3-pointers on the night and out-rebounding ETSU, 39-25. ... It was indeed a rough night for Rashawn Rembert (Tampa, Fla.) and Lester Wilson (Knoxville), who combined for just five points. Meanwhile, senior guard Jalen Riley (Racine, Wis.) scored most of his game-high 25 points during the Bucs’ rally and was joined by only one other Buccaneer in double figures, as sophomore forward A.J. Merriweather (Jackson) pitched in 12 points. ... While the first 30 minutes of play did not look good for the Bucs, the final 10 minutes looked like a game between two of the contenders in the SoCon standings. The rally ultimately had everything, including a double technical foul on Bartow and Wofford head coach Mike Young.
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 1,211 for his career and Wilson is at 1013 points in his two plus seasons, Riley currently sits at 858 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 10 games against SoCon teams this season, guard Jalen Riley (Racine, Wis.) has put up impressive scoring numbers ... Riley is averaging 24.4 ppg in SoCon games, while shooting 47 percent from the field, 40 percent from 3-point range and 81 percent at line ... In those games, he is also averaging 2.9 assists and 1.8 steals ... For the year, Riley is first in the SoCon in scoring with 20.5 points per game, and he ranks 10th 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 four made 3-pointers against The Citadel (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 1,211 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. 26.
Nineteen 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 196 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 10.3 3-pointers per game, and rank 31st in the nation in 3-point field goal percentage (39.0%) ... 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 (3.7 pg) and Riley is 39th (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 848 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 20.5 ppg, Rembert second with 16.7 a contest, and Wilson netting 12.7 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 24th nationally in assist/TO ratio at 2.9, and is third 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.