JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Feb. 7, 2015) – The ETSU men’s basketball team will wrap up a three-game home stand on Saturday when the Buccaneers welcome Southern Conference foe Samford into Freedom Hall for a 4 p.m. tip.
Fans who are unable to make the game at Freedom Hall can watch the contest live by visiting SoConDigitalNetwork.com, or can listen to the game as it unfolds courtesy of the Buccaneer Sports Network presented by East Coast Wings.
The Bucs (13-9 overall, 6-6 SoCon) have recently struggled in SoCon play, and will be looking to get back on track against the Bulldogs. Meanwhile, Samford enters this matchup having won four straight league contests.
For more on Saturday’s matchup, read the game notes below or click on the game notebook link located on 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. Samford
The Bucs are 4-0 all-time against Samford ... The previous games were played in 1979, 1980, 2013 and back on Jan. 5, 2015... ETSU won that last meeting 76-74 at the Pete Hanna Center.
Last time out vs. Samford
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (Jan. 5, 2015) – In a game that saw 14 lead changes and 11 ties, the ETSU men’s basketball team made a critical defensive stop at the buzzer and survived a road trip to Samford with a 76-74 win over the Bulldogs in Southern Conference play inside the Pete Hanna Center. ... Trailing by three at 72-69 with 2:34 left on the clock, senior guard Rashawn Rembert (Tampa, Fla.) hit a clutch 3-pointer, blocked a shot by Samford’s Christen Cunningham, grabbed the defensive rebound and then found fellow senior guard Jalen Riley (Racine, Wis.) with an outlet pass that led to a pair of free throws. ... At that point the Bucs led 74-72, but then after trading foul shots, it was the Bucs who got a final defensive stop by forcing a miss by Cunningham as the buzzer sounded. With the win, ETSU improves to 8-4 overall, 3-1 in SoCon play, while Samford drops to 7-10, 0-4. ... It was a night for offense, as the Bulldogs matched the Bucs shooting effort by hitting on 55 percent of their shots from the field and 56 percent from 3-point range. From the foul line, the Bucs also went 16-of-20 (80 percent), while Samford was 17-of-23 (74 percent) from the charity stripe.
On the night, Riley finished with a game-high 26 points, Rembert netted 18, Wilson finished with 17, and sophomore forward A.J. Merriweather (Jackson) had 10. For Samford, Marcus Johnson led the way with 20 points.
Last time out
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Feb. 5, 2015) – Using a lop-sided advantage at the foul line and holding off a late rally by the ETSU men’s basketball team, the Wofford Terriers continued to roll in Southern Conference play with a 74-64 win over the Buccaneers Thursday night at Freedom Hall. ... The Terriers (19-5 overall, 10-1 SoCon) made a total of 29 free throws on the night compared to 18 for the Bucs, and ultimately built a lead of as many as 22 points at 62-40 with six minutes left in regulation. ETSU – which dropped to 13-9, 6-6 – then employed a full-court, trapping defense to ignite a 22-6 run that made it 68-62 with 1:24 left on the clock. ... Unfortunately for the Bucs, the Terriers’ Spencer Collins scored the final six points of the game for Wofford and closed out the win. ... The Bucs were led by senior guard Rashawn Rembert (Tampa, Fla.), who finished with a game-high 17 points, while teammates Desonta Bradford (Humboldt) and Jalen Riley (Racine, Wis.) finished with 14 and 10 points, respectively. ... For Wofford, forward Lee Skinner finished with another double-double thanks to 16 points and 10 rebounds. ... The Terriers led 31-25 at halftime. ... After the break, the Terriers consistently got to the line and made a high percentage of those shots, ultimately holding a 19-of-24 clip at the charity stripe compared to the Bucs’ 4-of-6 effort with 15 minutes left in the game. The Wofford lead grew to 62-40 following a 25-9 run midway through the second half, but that’s when the Bucs’ wild defensive switch helped rally the cause. ... A handful of Wofford misses at the free throw line and several turnovers led to easy ETSU baskets, and following a layup and foul shot from Bradford, the Bucs had made it 68-62. However, time ran out on the run and the rally.
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 1,243 for his career and Wilson is at 1049 points in his two plus seasons, Riley currently sits at 902 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 12 games against SoCon teams this season, guard Jalen Riley (Racine, Wis.) has put up impressive scoring numbers ... Riley is averaging 22.0 ppg in SoCon games, while shooting 43 percent from the field, 37 percent from 3-point range and 80 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 19.7 points per game, and he ranks 18th 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 246 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 16th on the all-time scoring list with 1,243 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 Feb 5.
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 11 home games so far this season, the team has combined to hit 209 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 seventh nationally with 9.9 3-pointers per game, and rank 41st in the nation in 3-point field goal percentage (38.2%) ... Individuallysenior 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 41st (2.7).
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 851 consecutive games. ... ETSU was 0-for-8 in that 1987 game. ... The Bucs currently rank as the 7th longest streak in the NCAA.
Bradford provides spark, shows signs of a bright future
With the Bucs trailing Wofford on Feb. 5, freshman guard Desonta Bradford (Humboldt) gave fans a glimpse of what could be a bright future for the former Mr. Basketball winner from the state of Tennessee ... During the final five minutes of that contest, Bradford scored all 14 of his points in the game, while also collecting three steals ... He powered a strong ETSU comeback that challenged the SoCon’s first place team.
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 19.7 ppg, Rembert second with 15.9 a contest, and Wilson netting 12.6 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 17th nationally in assist/TO ratio at 2.9, and is second in the SoCon in assists per game with 4.2 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.
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.