CHARLESTON, S.C. (Feb. 26, 2015) – The ETSU men’s basketball team will leave behind the snowy mountains of East Tennessee and head south for a two-game Southern Conference road swing this weekend that will wrap up the team’s 2014-15 regular season schedule.
First up for the Buccaneers will be a stop at The Citadel Thursday night, with game time inside McAlister Field House set for 6 p.m. The game will be broadcast live via the SoConDigitalNetwork.com, while fans can also listen to the game via the Buccaneer Sports Network presented by East Coast Wings.
The Bucs, who are 16-11 overall and 8-8 in SoCon play, will be hoping for a successful road trip to help secure seeding for next weekend’s Southern Conference Tournament in Asheville, N.C. Meanwhile, The Citadel is currently 5-11 in league play and already assured of having to play in the “play-in” round next Friday in Asheville.
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 final weeks of the 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. The Citadel
The Bucs and Bulldogs have met 51 times on the hardwood, with ETSU holding a 36-15 advantage in the all-time series ... Most of those games were played between 1962 and 2005 ... The two teams renewed their SoCon series earlier this year, with ETSU winning in Johnson City 70-59.
Last time out vs. The Citadel
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Jan. 22, 2015) – Junior forward Lester Wilson (Knoxville) eclipsed 1,000 points for his career and senior teammates Rashawn Rembert (Tampa, Fla.) and Jalen Riley (Racine, Wis.) each scored a team-high 18 points, as the ETSU men’s basketball team dropped The Citadel 70-59 in Southern Conference men’s basketball action at Freedom Hall. ... Wilson – who entered the game just one point shy of 1,000 for his career – wasted little time reaching that special milestone, hitting the first shot of the game with a 3-pointer at the 19:13 mark of the first half. ... That basket was the first of many for the Bucs over the first 12 minutes of game action, as ETSU shot extremely well from the field and sprinted out to a 32-9 with 7:43 left before the intermission. Unfortunately for ETSU, the Bulldogs did not simply go away, responding with a 15-0 run of their own to finish the first half down just 39-30. ... At the intermission, ETSU was shooting 52 percent from the floor and 43 percent from 3-point range. ... After the break, both teams exchanged offensive punches, with the Bulldogs getting to within four early in the second half and later getting to within five on multiple occasions. The last surge by The Citadel came with six minutes left in the game, when a 3-pointer by Bulldogs’ sharpshooter Ashton Moore made it 60-55. ... However, at that point the Bucs scored six in a row, highlighted by a 3-pointer from Rembert that made it 66-56 with 1:29 left in the game. From there the Bucs hit their free throws and ended the ’Dogs threat for good. ... Along with Rembert and Riley, Wilson finished with 11 points, while sophomore guard Devin Harris (Tampa, Fla.) had 10 points and five rebounds. In addition, sophomore post Isaac Banks (New Orleans, La.) enjoyed a solid night, scoring seven points and grabbing a team-high eight rebounds.
Last time out
CHATTANOOGA (Feb. 21, 2015) – Shooting just over 13 percent for the first 16 minutes of the second half, the ETSU men’s basketball team relinquished an eight-point halftime lead and ultimately fell to Chattanooga 67-59 in Southern Conference play at McKenzie Arena. ... With the loss, the Bucs dropped to 16-11 overall and 8-8 in SoCon play, and are now out of the running for third place in the league standings with Mercer’s win at Samford. Meanwhile, Chattanooga improves to 20-9, 13-3, and remains one game back of Wofford for the top spot in the SoCon. ... Senior guard Jalen Riley (Racine, Wis.) led ETSU with a game-high 31 points and eclipsed the 1,000-point mark for his career on a 3-pointer with just 32 seconds left in the game, becoming the second ETSU transfer player to reach 1,000 points. Former Buc great Kevin Tiggs (Flint, Mich.) was the first to accomplish that feat from 2007-2009.
... Unfortunately for the Bucs, Riley did not get much help in the scoring column. Sophomore guard A.J. Merriweather (Jackson) was the only other Buccaneer player to reach double figures with 12 points and finished with a double-double thanks to 10 rebounds. However, senior guard Rashawn Rembert (Tampa, Fla.) and junior forward Lester Wilson (Knoxville) combined to score just two points, as Rembert was playing in the game despite struggling with an illness over the last several days.
Bucs make it a “trio” in the 1,000 point club
While senior guard Rashawn Rembert (Tampa, Fla.) and junior forward Lester Wilson (Knoxville) surpassed the 1,000-point mark for their careers earlier this year, senior teammate Jalen Riley (Racine, Wis.) made it an “elite trio” during the game with Chattanooga (2/21) ... Riley, who finished with 31 points in that game, is now one of 38 ETSU players all-time to reach 1,000 points ... He is only the second junior college transfer player to reach that mark in two seasons, joining former Buc great Kevin Tiggs (Flint, Mich.), who did it from 2007-09.
Riley rolling in SoCon play, one of nation’s best scorers
In 15 games against SoCon teams this season, guard Jalen Riley (Racine, Wis.) has put up impressive scoring numbers ... Riley is averaging 22.4 ppg in SoCon games, while shooting 41 percent from the field, 37 percent from 3-point range and 81 percent at line ... In those games, he is also averaging 2.4 assists and 1.7 steals ... For the year, Riley is first in the SoCon in scoring with 20.6 points per game, and he ranks 8th 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 255 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 12th on the all-time scoring list with 1,297 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).
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 24th.
Rembert’s consecutive start streak snapped in Chattanooga
Struggling with an illness for much of last week, senior guard Rashawn Rembert was unable to start the Bucs’ game at Chattanooga on Feb. 21 ... This snapped a streak of 68 straight games started by Rembert dating back to the 2012-13 season. ... Junior forward Lester Wilson now holds the longest streak of consecutive starts on the team at 28.
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 14 home games this season, the team has combined to hit 236 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 8th nationally with 9.3 3-pointers per game ... 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 16th (3.2 pg) and Riley is 39th (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 856 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 against Furman on Feb. 14 and is currently listed as doubtful.
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 20.6 ppg, Rembert second with 14.9 a contest, and Wilson netting 12.3 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 13th nationally in assist/TO ratio at 3.1, 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.