JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Feb. 4, 2015) – Following a dramatic victory in its last game, the ETSU men’s basketball team hopes to ride that wave of momentum into a matchup with league-leading Wofford Thursday night, as the Buccaneers welcome the Terriers into Freedom Hall for a 7 p.m. showdown.
Fans wishing to watch the game live can do so at SoConDigitalNetwork.com, or listen live courtesy of the Buccaneer Sports Network presented by East Coast Wings. ETSUBucs.com will also be providing live stats of the game by clicking on the live stats link.
The Bucs will be looking to avenge a hard-fought loss to Wofford earlier in the season, a game which saw its share of tense moments. With a win, ETSU (13-8 overall, 6-5 SoCon) could definitely build confidence heading into the final full month of the season. Meanwhile, the Terriers (18-5, 9-1 SoCon) are hoping to increase their lead in the conference standings.
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. Wofford
The Buccaneers hold a dominating 32-7 advantage in the all-time series against the Terriers ... The teams first met in 1958 ... The Terriers have won the last two meetings, which included a 72-64 victory over the Bucs two weeks ago in Spartanburg, S.C.
Last time out vs. Wofford
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 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. ... The technical came as Wofford was shooting a pair of free throws and Bartow attempted to talk to Rembert on the sidelines in front of the ETSU bench. Wofford’s Spender Collins came to stand right next to Rembert and listen in on the conversation. When Bartow attempted to stand between Rembert and Collins, Young then came down the floor, leaving the coaching box to see what was happening at the ETSU bench. The officials then administered a technical to each coach.
Last time out
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Jan. 31, 2015) – Senior guard Jalen Riley (Racine, Wis.) scored the final 12 points and finished with a game-high 24, as the ETSU men’s basketball team closed on a 15-1 offensive run to cap a dramatic 61-59 comeback win over North Carolina Central evening inside Freedom Hall. ... Riley hit the game-winning 3-pointer with 13 seconds left in regulation, and the Bucs defense then held the Eagles on their final offensive possession of the game. With the win, ETSU improved to 13-8 on the season while also snapping the Eagles 10-game winning streak. With the loss, North Carolina Central dropped to 16-6 on the year. ... The Bucs trailed by double digits throughout most of the second half and were facing a 12-point deficit at 58-46 with 5:44 left in regulation. At that point, sophomore guard Devin Harris (Tampa, Fla.) made three of four free throws on back-to-back possessions, and Riley hit a 3-pointer to make it 58-52. ... N.C. Central’s Anthony McDonald then made one of two at the foul line before Riley closed the game with nine straight points, including the game-winning 3-pointer. The Eagles had one last opportunity to tie or win, but the Bucs forced N.C. Central’s Karamo Jawara to force up a desperation 3-pointer that missed the mark at the buzzer.
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 1,226 for his career and Wilson is at 1044 points in his two plus seasons, Riley currently sits at 892 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 11 games against SoCon teams this season, guard Jalen Riley (Racine, Wis.) has put up impressive scoring numbers ... Riley is averaging 23.1 ppg in SoCon games, while shooting 45 percent from the field, 39 percent from 3-point range and 81 percent at line ... In those games, he is also averaging 2.8 assists and 1.8 steals ... For the year, Riley is first in the SoCon in scoring with 20.0 points per game, and he ranks 16th 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 ... Rembert now stands at 243 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 17th on the all-time scoring list with 1,226 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.
This 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 10 home games so far this season, the team has combined to hit 205 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 sixth nationally with 10.2 3-pointers per game, and rank 36th in the nation in 3-point field goal percentage (38.4%) ... 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 (3.5 pg) and Riley is 30th (2.9).
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 850 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 20.1 ppg, Rembert second with 15.8 a contest, and Wilson netting 13.0 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 25th nationally in assist/TO ratio at 2.9, and is second in the SoCon in assists per game with 4.1 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 221 wins at ETSU ranks second on the Bucs’ all-time list ... In addition, Bartow’s 324 career victories ranks No. 1 among second generation coaches ... Along with his father’s 647 career wins, the Bartow men have combined for 971 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.