ASHEVILLE, N.C. (March 7, 2015) – Returning to the site of perhaps the greatest moments in the program’s history, the ETSU men’s basketball team will begin play in the Southern Conference Tournament on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. inside the U.S. Cellular Center, as the No. 5-seeded Buccaneers take on No. 4-seeded Western Carolina in the tournament quarterfinals.
The game will air live on ESPN3, while the Buccaneer Sports Network presented by East Coast Wings will also be providing live coverage from the tournament.
The Bucs – who won six Southern Conference Tournament titles during a 16-year span from 1989 to 2004 – enjoyed a stretch of 14 straight victories in Asheville from 1989 to 1993, a run that included four wins in five trips to the championship game.
Entering with a 16-13 overall record and having lost three straight games to end the year, the Bucs are hoping echoes of those days gone by can help reverse the team’s recent struggles. During head coach Murry Bartow’s previous 11 years on the ETSU bench, the Bucs have enjoyed their share of wins in postseason play, as Bartow’s teams have posted a 16-8 mark in conference tournament action.
For more on Saturday’s matchup, read the game notes below or click on the game notebook link to the right. For more on ETSU men’s basketball throughout the 2015 SoCon Tournament, 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.
Bucs ready for Homecoming in Asheville
During the Bucs previous tenure in the Southern Conference from 1979 to 2005, the ETSU men’s basketball team made many memories playing in the SoCon Tournament ... Six times the Bucs won the championship, which included four straight titles from 1989-92 and back-to-back championships in 2003 and 2004 ... While the Bucs are 30-18 all-time in the SoCon Tournament, their time in Asheville’s U.S. Cellular Center was particularly enjoyable -- including a string of 14 straight wins from 1989 to 1993 ... In fact, the Bucs played in the SoCon title game five straight years -- winning four of those championship appearances. ... Head coach Murry Bartow’s career numbers in the SoCon Tournament are also strong, with Bartow going 4-1 overall in the 2004 and 2005 tournaments ... Bartow led the Bucs to a SoCon regular season and tournament title in 2003-04 ... All told, Bartow has led the Bucs to a 16-8 tournament record over his 11 seasons at ETSU, which includes time in both the SoCon and Atlantic Sun Conferences ... Bartow’s teams also won seven straight tournament games from 2009 to 2011, which included back-to-back trips in the NCAAs in 2009 and 2010.
Bucs hoping to add another NCAA trip
Having already made nine trips to the NCAA Tournament in its history, the ETSU men’s basketball team would like to add another conference tournament trophy to the case in the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center ... The Bucs’ current stretch of success under head coach Murry Bartow is arguably the second best run in ETSU hoops history ... The most memorable stretch was from 1989 to 1992, when the Bucs made four straight trips to the NCAAS, were ranked in the Top 10 nationally (1991), and defeated Arizona in the NCAA first round in 1992 ... The Bucs only other trip prior to that run came in 1968 ... While head coach Ed DeChellis took the Bucs to the tournament in 2003, Bartow has taken the Bucs to the tournament three times (2004, 2009 and 2010), while also leading ETSU to the NIT in 2007 and the CIT in both 2011 and 2014. ... Bartow holds the most NCAA trips and the most overall postseason trips of any coach in school history.
The series vs. Western Carolina
ETSU leads the all-time series 48-23 and has won 17 straight matchups ... The last meeting was earlier this year, an 83-76 win for the Bucs inside the Ramsey Center on Jan. 15, 2015.
Last time out vs. Western Carolina
CULLOWHEE, N.C. (Jan. 15, 2015) – The streak is still alive for the Buccaneers. ... Jalen Riley (Racine, Wis.) poured in a game-high 31 points and Rashawn Rembert (Tampa, Fla.) added 21 as the ETSU men’s basketball team defeated Western Carolina 83-76 inside the Ramsey Center. ... The Bucs, who led wire-to-wire, saw a 13-point lead cut to one midway through the second half, but Riley and Rembert stepped up as they scored 14 of ETSU’s final 15 points to secure the victory. ... The win extends the Bucs win streak over the Catamounts to 17 straight games.
Last time out
MACON, Ga. (Feb. 28, 2015) – For the second game in a row, the ETSU men’s basketball team had to watch an opposing player hit a game-winning shot in the fleeting moments of regulation. ... With Saturday’s game against Mercer tied at 64, the Bears Jibri Bryan sank a 3-pointer with 16 seconds left and the Buccaneers were unable to get a good shot off on their final possession, as ETSU dropped a 69-64 loss to the Bears in Southern Conference basketball play at the University Center. ... ETSU finished the game hitting 12 3-pointers and getting a game-high 24 points from senior guard Jalen Riley (Racine, Wis.), while junior forward Lester Wilson (Knoxville) netted 18 points. Mercer had five players reach double figures led by senior Darious Moten’s 16 points. ... Following Bryan’s game-winning shot, the Bucs did have a possession in the final seconds, but Riley took an off-balanced 3-point attempt. While ETSU’s A.J. Merriweather (Jackson) grabbed the offensive rebound, he lost control of the ball to Mercer. The Bears’ Ike Nwamu was then fouled with .9 seconds left and hit two free throws to ice the win.
Riley named first-team All-SoCon; Rembert 3rd team
Following a season in which he led the Southern Conference in scoring, ETSU senior guard Jalen Riley (Racine, Wis.) has been named to the All-SoCon first team by both the league’s coaches and media. ... The Southern Conference announced both teams on Tuesday morning, with Riley earning first-team honors in both polls, while fellow senior guard Rashawn Rembert (Tampa, Fla.) was named to the third team by the league’s media. Riley is currently averaging a league-best 20.7 points per game on the year – while scoring an average of 22.3 points per contest in conference games. Meanwhile, Rembert currently leads the league in 3-pointers a game, averaging 3.0 makes per game from beyond the arc.
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.
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 March 3.
Riley rolling in SoCon play, one of nation’s best scorers
In 17 games against SoCon teams this season, guard Jalen Riley (Racine, Wis.) has put up impressive scoring numbers ... Riley is averaging 22.3 ppg in SoCon games, while shooting 42 percent from the field, 38 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 20.7 points per game, and he ranks 6th 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 257 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 1,312 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’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 29.
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 858 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 missed three straight games before returning to play against The Citadel (2/26).
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.
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 6th nationally in assist/TO ratio at 3.3, and is second in the SoCon in assists per game with 4.2 a contest.
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.