JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Feb. 16, 2015) – With intentions of winning its third straight game, the ETSU men’s basketball team will also honor its five graduating seniors on Monday night, as the Buccaneers wrap up the home portion of their 2014-15 schedule in a non-conference showdown with longtime in-state rival Tennessee Tech.
Tip is set for 7 p.m. inside Freedom Hall.
Fans unable to attend the game can watch the live web stream via the SoConDigitalNetwork.com, while live audio of the game will also be available courtesy of the Buccaneer Sports Network presented by East Coast Wings.
Seniors Rashawn Rembert (Tampa, Fla.), Jalen Riley (Racine, Wis.), Alex Bates (Greenbelt, Md.), Ron Giplaye (Lowell, Mass.) and Tyler Ailshie (Kingsport) will be honored prior to the start of the game for the efforts with the blue and gold. The Bucs, who are 15-10 overall, have won two games in a row and are hoping to maintain that momentum as they close out the season – which includes three straight road games following Monday night’s final home contest.
For more on Monday’s game, read the game notes below or click on the game notebook link at 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. Tennessee Tech
The Bucs and Golden Eagles have met 72 times since beginning their basketball series back in 1923 ... The current series is knotted at 36-36 ... The Bucs have lost three straight to Tennessee Tech, including a 98-83 loss last season on Nov. 27, 2013 ... Prior to the current three-game skid, the Bucs had won six straight over the Golden Eagles.
Last time out vs. Tennessee Tech
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. (Nov. 27, 2013) – Dominated physically inside the paint and under the basket, the ETSU men’s basketball team had no answers for Tennessee Tech’s big men as the Buccaneers fell to the Golden Eagles 98-83 in non-conference hoops action inside the Eblen Center. ... Tennessee Tech out-rebounded ETSU 45-26 overall and 17-5 on the offensive glass, and the Golden Eagles got a combined 62 points from its posts and forwards en route to the runaway victory. With the loss, ETSU drops to 2-5 overall, while Tech improved to 4-4 on the year. ... Tennessee Tech forward Dennis Ogbe scored a career-high and game-high 27 points, and was joined in double figures by fellow forwards Dwan Caldwell and Ladon Carter with 16 and 13 points, respectively. ... For the Bucs, senior forward Kinard Gadsden-Gilliard (Georgetown, S.C.) had a team-high 20 points, while junior guard Rashawn Rembert (Tampa, Fla.) added 14, freshman guard A.J. Merriweather (Jackson) pitched in 13, and senior forward Hunter Harris (Nashville) netted 12. The Bucs did shoot well from the field, but that could not offset the issue of keeping the Golden Eagles off the glass.
Last time out
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Feb. 14, 2015) – Playing without the services of several key contributors, freshman Desonta Bradford (Humboldt) took the opportunity to give ETSU fans a glimpse of the future. ... Bradford hit a pressure-packed 3-pointer and scored seven straight points down the stretch, lifting the ETSU men’s basketball team to a 66-59 win over Furman in Southern Conference play at Freedom Hall. ... The Bucs were without senior guard Jalen Riley (Racine, Wis.) and sophomore guard Devin Harris (Tampa, Fla.). Riley missed the game to attend his grandmother’s funeral back home in Milwaukee, while sophomore guard Devin Harris (Tampa, Fla.) suffered a knee injury in pregame warm-ups. The Bucs played even more short-handed when sophomore post Isaac Banks (New Orleans) fouled out early in the second half. ... Bradford finished the game with 12 points – nine of which came in the final five minutes of play. Meanwhile, Wilson had a team-high 20 points and seven rebounds, while Merriweather and Rembert added 18 and 14 points, respectively. ... The Bucs finished the game shooting 48.8 percent from the floor, collecting 14 assists and forcing Furman into 14 turnovers. Furman was led offensively by a game-high 29 points from guard Devin Sibley, while post Kris Acox had a double-double effort with 17 rebounds and 14 points. ... While Furman never led in the contest and never tied the game in the second half, the Paladins certainly made it interesting, coming to within one point of the Bucs on two occasions in the final five minutes. However, Bradford’s 3-pointer seemed to end the Furman momentum, allowing the Bucs to pull back ahead by as many as nine late in the contest. ... With ETSU’s win and Western Carolina’s loss, the Bucs are now tied for fourth place with the Catamounts, but hold the tiebreaker over WCU by virtue of two wins earlier in the season.
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 1,280 for his career and Wilson is at 1088 points in his two plus seasons, Riley currently sits at 943 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 14 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 42 percent from the field, 36 percent from 3-point range and 80 percent at line ... In those games, he is also averaging 2.4 assists and 1.8 steals ... For the year, Riley is first in the SoCon in scoring with 19.8 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 252 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 14th on the all-time scoring list with 1,280 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 also averaged 36.1 minutes per game last year, 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 12.
Despite struggles, Bucs are “right there” in SoCon
While the Bucs currently stand 8-7 in SoCon play and are fourth 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 13 home games so far this season, the team has combined to hit 226 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 7th nationally with 9.7 3-pointers per game, and rank 46th in the nation in 3-point field goal percentage (37.9%) ... 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 6th (3.3 pg) and Riley is 43rd (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 854 consecutive games. ... ETSU was 0-for-8 in that 1987 game. ... The Bucs currently rank as the 7th longest streak in the NCAA.
Harris steps up game in win over UNC Greensboro
Setting career highs for points (13), field goals (5) and minutes played (28), sophomore guard Devin Harris (Tampa, Fla.) also enjoyed his third career double-double thanks to 10 rebounds in the win over UNC Greensboro (2/12) ... That outing only continues to show Harris’ growth as a player, as he had consistently provided valuable minutes ... He currently ranks second on the team in rebounding (5.6 rpg) and ranks fifth in scoring (6.0 ppg). ... Unfortunately for Harris, he was injured during warmups on Saturday and his availability is in doubt for Monday’s game.
Bradford provides spark, shows signs of a bright future
With several key contributors not available for the game with Furman on Feb. 14, freshman guard Desonta Bradford (Humboldt) was given his first career start and played career high 26 minutes ... He responded during those minutes -- especiall in the final five minutes of the game when he hit a pressure-packed 3-pointer and scored seven straight points to seal the victory in an otherwise tight game ... Bradford has shown signs of this potential before ... with the Bucs trailing Wofford on Feb. 5, Bradford 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 14 points and collected three steals.
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 19.8 ppg, Rembert second with 15.6 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 15th nationally in assist/TO ratio at 3.0, and is third 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 222 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.