GREENSBORO, N.C. (Feb. 12, 2015) – After having won several close games earlier in the season, the ETSU men’s basketball team has had a change of fortune in recent weeks. The Buccaneers hope that trend will again turn to a winning formula when the team travels to take on UNC Greensboro Thursday night inside the Greensboro Coliseum.
This Southern Conference matchup is set to tip at 7 p.m., and the game can be seen live via the SoConDigitalNetwork.com, or fans can also listen to the game by tuning into to the Buccaneer Sports Network presented by East Coast Wings.
After getting to 12-6 overall and 5-3 in SoCon play, the Bucs have lost four of their last five games, dropping to 13-10 overall and 6-7 in league action. However, in those seven league games ETSU has lost by a combined 35 points, or an average of just five points per game. In fact, four of those losses were by four points or less, and the largest deficit was a 10-point loss to first-place Wofford.
For the Bucs, one particular streak to keep alive is the fact that the Bucs have not lost more than two games in a row all season. After having lost back-to-back contests to Wofford and Samford in their last two outings, the Bucs hope that season-long trend stays intact with a win over the Spartans.
For more on Thursday night’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. UNC Greensboro
The Bucs hold an 11-9 lead in the all-time series against the Spartans, but lost the last meeting 80-79 earlier in the season back on Dec. 13, 2014 at Freedom Hall.
Last time out vs. UNC Greensboro
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Dec. 13, 2014) – ETSU senior guard Rashawn Rembert (Tampa, Fla.) eclipsed 1,000 points for his career, but the UNC Greensboro Spartans ruined the celebration by dropping the Buccaneers 80-79 in Southern Conference men’s basketball action at Freedom Hall. ... Losing for the first time in seven games at Freedom Hall since the 2013-14 season, the Bucs’ defense was unable to stop the Spartans, who shot 50 percent from the field and 45 percent from 3-point range for the game. Guard Tevon Saddler led the attack for the Spartans with a team-high 24 points. ETSU was led by 28 points from senior guard Jalen Riley (Racine, Wis.), 13 points from Rembert, and a double-double effort from sophomore guard A.J. Merriweather (Jackson), who finished with 13 points and a career high 14 rebounds. ... After UNCG led 47-43 at the intermission, the Bucs were finally able to take their first lead of the game when a Riley layup made it 53-52 with 14:03 left in regulation. However, the Spartans responded with an 8-0 run of their own to make it 60-53 with 12:45 left. ... The Bucs responded with an 11-2 burst to regain the lead at 64-62 and the two teams proceeded to trade the lead three times before UNCG found itself holding a 77-73 advantage with 2:39 left in the game. From there, the Bucs were unable to catch the Spartans, as a free throw by Sadler made it a four point game with four seconds left. Rembert then hit a three at the buzzer to make it an 80-79 final. ... Rembert eclipsed 1,000 for his career with a 3-pointer at the 7:28 mark of the second half. ... Meanwhile, Saddler was joined by four other teammates who scored 12 points apiece.
Last time out
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Feb. 7, 2015) – Despite leading by as many as 12 in the second half, the ETSU men’s basketball team watched Samford cap a late-game comeback when Marcus Johnson’s 3-pointer with three seconds left lifted Samford to a 71-68 win over the Buccaneers in Southern Conference hoops action at Freedom Hall. ... The Bucs – who dropped to 13-10 overall, 6-7 in SoCon play – had one last opportunity to tie but senior guard Jalen Riley (Racine, Wis.) missed on a 3-point attempt as time expired. ETSU previously had a possession with 13 seconds left and the game tied at 68, but a pass from Riley to junior forward Lester Wilson (Knoxville) led to a turnover, setting up Johnson’s heroics. ... The game actually went well for the Bucs in several statistical categories, as ETSU shot 50 percent from the floor and 48 percent from 3-point range (11-of-23). However, the Bucs were uncharacteristically bad at the foul line, going just 9-of-20 for a 45-percent shooting clip. ... Even so, the Bucs led by 11 following a layup by sophomore post Isaac Banks (New Orleans, La.) that made it 60-49 with 10 minutes left in the contest. Samford then used a 12-4 run to get within three at 64-61, and after the team’s swapped several baskets, the Bulldogs ultimately tied the game on a free throw by guard Darius Jones-Gibson with 40 seconds left. ... That set up the Bucs’ possession where Riley and Wilson were unable to connect on a pass. Johnson then followed with his game-winning shot.
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 1,259 for his career and Wilson is at 1062 points in his two plus seasons, Riley currently sits at 922 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 13 games against SoCon teams this season, guard Jalen Riley (Racine, Wis.) has put up impressive scoring numbers ... Riley is averaging 21.8 ppg in SoCon games, while shooting 44 percent from the field, 38 percent from 3-point range and 80 percent at line ... In those games, he is also averaging 2.5 assists and 1.7 steals ... For the year, Riley is first in the SoCon in scoring with 19.7 points per game, and he ranks 15th 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 250 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 15th on the all-time scoring list with 1,259 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 7.
Despite struggles, Bucs are “right there” in SoCon
While the Bucs currently stand 6-7 in SoCon play and are fifth in the standings, a quick glance at the results of those losing contests show just how close the team has been to moving up in the standings ... In the Bucs’ seven SoCon losses, their combined scoring margin is just -35 points, or an average of 5.0 points per game ... In fact, four of those losses were by four points or less, and the largest deficit was a 10-point loss to first-place Wofford ... Additionally, for the year the Bucs have not lost more than two games in a row, so they will be trying to keep that stat intact by picking up a win at UNCG and breaking their current two-game skid.
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 12 home games so far this season, the team has combined to hit 220 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 6th nationally with 10.0 3-pointers per game, and rank 35th in the nation in 3-point field goal percentage (38.6%) ... Individually, 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 38th (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 852 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 16th nationally in assist/TO ratio at 3.0, 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.