Bucs face UNC Asheville team with size advantage Saturday
A.J. Merriweather (13) and Isaac Banks (10) will be two of ETSU's frontcourt players who will be challenged by UNC Asheville's inside strength on Saturday.
Bucs face UNC Asheville team with size advantage Saturday
Friday, November 21, 2014

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Nov. 22, 2014) – After scoring 111 points and enjoying a comfortable win over UVa.-Wise earlier this week, the ETSU men’s basketball team will look to make it two in a row when the Buccaneers host UNC Asheville Saturday inside Freedom Hall.

Game time is set for 7 p.m.

The Bucs (1-1) expect a strong challenge from the Bulldogs, a team that has been picked as a contender in the Big South Conference. ETSU – which was voted third in the Southern Conference preseason media and coaches polls – is leading the SoCon in offense, scoring an average of 93.5 points a game so far this season.

UNC Asheville will counter with a roster that boasts a great deal of size on inside and will present the toughest challenge yet this season for the Bucs’ inexperienced frontcourt. 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.


Game Notes

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.

Buc bits
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 return to lead the Bucs, the team will also return starters A.J. Merriweather (Jackson) and Petey McClain (Mobile, Ala.) this season ... The one area of concern for the Bucs will  be the frontcourt this year, as the team lost all of its contributors from a year ago ... This will leave a group that consists of returners like senior Ron Giplaye (Lowell, Mass.) and sophomore Isaac Banks, along with newcomers such as senior Alex Bates (Greenbelt, Md.), junior Tommy Williams and freshman Karl Overstreet (Lynchburg, Va.)  to make up for those losses ... 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 Asheville
The Buccaneers and Bulldogs have had 20 previous meetings, with ETSU holding a 14-6 advantage in the all-time series ... The Bucs have won five straight in the series, including a victory in the last game back on Nov. 24, 2007.

Last time out vs. UNC Asheville
ASHEVILLE, N.C. (Nov. 24, 2007) - In one of the most fantastic finishes in ETSU basketball history, the Buccaneers scored four points in the final six seconds of overtime and got the game winning basket from junior forward Kevin Tiggs (Flint, Mich.) with 1.7 seconds remaining to hand UNC Asheville its first loss of the season 89-87 inside the Justice Center. ... Indeed, while Tiggs scored 18 including the game winner, fifth-year senior guard Travis Strong (Memphis) showed up in a big way, tying his career high for 3-pointers with five and scoring a season high 23 points. ... For the Bucs, the game looked like a repeat story of close loses at Dayton and Marshall earlier this season, as ETSU gave up a large second half lead and ultimately ended up in overtime on the road against a team with all the momentum. But this time fate fell on the Bucs’ side of the coin. ... While the Bucs led most of the way, the Bulldogs (5-1) rallied back to tie the game at 54 and actually led by as many as five with 7:20 left in regulation. While the two teams traded baskets the rest of the way, it was sophomore guard Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.) who sank a 15-foot jump shot with just under 30 seconds left to tie the game at 73-73. Both teams had possessions in the final seconds to win, but neither was able to come through with a score and the game went to OT. ... Overtime was a back-and-forth affair as well, but it was the final six seconds that will be long remembered. With ETSU trailing by two at 87-85, the Bucs had possession and put the ball in Davis’ hands to attempt to tie the game with a drive to the basket. Instead, Davis committed an offensive foul and gave the ball back to UNCA. At this point, though, Bulldogs’ forward Vincent James attempted to run the baseline on the inbounds, committing an unforced turnover and giving the ball back to ETSU under its own basket. ... ETSU quickly ran an inbounds play to Reed who tied the game with five seconds left on a lay up. Unbelievably, James then committed his second turnover in just two seconds, throwing the ball off the hands of a teammate and into the waiting arms of Tiggs, who drove to the basket to score the winning bucket with 1.7 remaining.

Last time out
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Nov. 18, 2014) – The ETSU men’s basketball team posted its best offensive first half in nearly four years, scoring 61 points on its way to a 40-point halftime advantage and ultimately coasted to a 111-66 win over non-conference opponent UVa.-Wise in the Buccaneers’ home opener at Freedom Hall. ... ETSU connected on 14 3-pointers on the night, coming up just one shy of the school record of 15, while shooting 51 percent from the floor in the first half and hitting on 48 percent of its shots for the game. The Bucs – who last scored 100-plus points in a 108-87 win over Tusculum back on Dec. 16, 2013 – held the Cavaliers to just 29 percent shooting. ... Senior guard Jalen Riley (Racine, Wis.) posted his second-straight 20-plus point game with a game-high 21, while four other teammates eclipsed double figures on the night. Junior forward Lester Wilson (Knoxville) collected 18 points, senior guard Rashawn Rembert (Tampa, Fla.) and senior post Alex Bates (Greenbelt, Md.) both netted a season-high 14, and sophomore guard A.J. Merriweather (Jackson) pitched in 10. Meanwhile, junior point guard Petey McClain (Mobile, Ala.) dished out a career high 11 assists in the game, and sophomore guard Devin Harris (Tampa, Fla.) grabbed a personal best 10 rebounds. ... In the first half, the Bucs used an early 13-0 run to take a 13-9 advantage and build it to 26-9 with 10 minutes left before the intermission. From there, the lead grew to 25 at 45-20 before the Bucs ended the half on a 16-1 run to make 61-21 at the break.

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 831 consecutive games. ... ETSU was 0-for-8 in that 1987 game.  ... The Bucs currently rank as the 7th longest streak in the NCAA, just behind Arkansas and ahead of Oakland.

Rembert, Wilson, Riley approaching 1,000-point plateau
Senior guards Rashawn Rembert (Tampa, Fla.) and Jalen Riley (Racine, Wis.), along with junior forward Lester Wilson (Knoxville) are each within range of topping the 1,000-point mark for their careers this season ... Rembert and Wilson have the best chance to top 1,000, as Rembert currently stands at 915 points for his career, while Wilson has 800 points in two previous seasons ... Riley will need a strong year offensively to reach 1,000, as he stands at 517 points so far ... He certainly got off to a good start this year, netting 27 in the season opener at Valpo (11/14) and 21 against UVa.-Wise (11/18).

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, and after a 2013-14 season in which he led the Atlantic Sun Conference in scoring (16.8 ppg) while also setting a new ETSU program record for 3-pointers in a season with 108, expectations are high as the 2014-15 campaign begins ... The quality numbers don’t stop with purely scoring and 3-point shooting, as he posted a Top 10 ETSU single season mark  for free throw shooting percentage last season (.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, average 36.1 minutes per game, the fourth highest total in program history ... A preseason All Southern Conference pick, Rembert will be the focus of many defensive game plans this year.

Rembert named Lou Henson award finalist
Senior guard Rashawn Rembert (Tampa, Fla.) has been selected as a candidate for the Lou Henson Award, which is presented annually to the Division  I “Mid-Major” Player of the Year ... The award is named in honor of Henson who retired after a spectacular coaching career that lasted 41 years. When he left the game in 2005 he was sixth all-time in career Division I wins with 779. He is the winningest coach at both Illinois and New Mexico State. He is one of only 12 coaches in the history of the game to take two schools to the Final Four. ... The 2015 recipient will be announced at the CollegeInsider.com Awards Banquet on April 3 in Indianapolis, site of the 2015 men’s NCAA Basketball Championship.

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 209 wins at ETSU ranks second on the Bucs’ all-time list ... In addition, Bartow’s 312 career victories ranks No. 1 among second generation coaches ... Along with his father’s 647 career wins, the Bartow men have combined for 920 victories, ranking fourth on the all-time win list for Father/Son coaches.

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. While Rembert’s numbers were highlighted in a previous note entry, Riley finished third on the single season list with 169 made free throws  a year ago, and finished fifth on the all-time free throw attempt list with 202 on the season ... As for Wilson, he found a groove in the later part of last season ... Starting in late January, he finished the year averaging 13.9 points and 4.7 rebounds a game, while shooting 44 percent from the field, 39 percent from 3-point range, and 93 percent at the foul line ... By comparison, before his recent streak, Wilson had averaged 7.5 points and 2.6 rebounds per game on just 33% shooting from the field and 26% shooting from 3-point range.

Bucs need to get defensive this season
A year ago, ETSU’s offensive production was one of the best ever, as the team finished third on the all-time list with 2,689 points on the year ... However, despite averaging 76.8 points per game, the team also allowed opponents to score an average of 76.1 a game ... Even though Coach Murry Bartow’s team can score the basketball, key to success this year will be the Bucs’ improved defensive effort.

Biggest question for the Bucs in 2014-15? The inside game
Though the Buccaneers return an experienced and talented backcourt, the team’s frontcourt will present the biggest questions for the team as they begin a new season ... Having lost both its starting 4 and 5 position player, the Bucs return only one player on the inside that averaged more than five minutes a game last season ... That lone returning player is sophomore Isaac Banks (New Orleans, La.), while transfers Ron Giplaye (Lowell, Mass.), Alex Bates (Greenbelt, Md.) and Tommy Williams (Augusta, Ga.), and true freshman Karl Overstreet (Lynchburg, Va.) will round out the team’s options on the inside.

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.

ETSU picked to “Prestige” programs list
Since the beginning of the modern era for NCAA Division I-A basketball – marked by the expansion of the NCAA Tournament field to 64 teams in 1984-85 – the ETSU men’s basketball program ranks in the Top 30 percent of the 300 programs that were eligible for the postseason at that time, this according to ESPN.com’s “Prestige” ranking released back in 2008 ... Since that time, the Bucs have only added to their list of prestigious honors, with back-to-back NCAA appearances in 2009 and 2010, followed by CIT appearances in 2011 and 2014 … Since the 1984-85 season, the Buccaneers, who have enjoyed nine NCAA Tournament trips, two NIT berths, two CIT berths, 11 20-win seasons, and a slew of conference regular season and tournament championships in that time, ranked tied for 82nd out of 300 teams, meaning they were in the Top 27 percent of schools making the list. ... ETSU was ranked ahead of current and former Southern Conference rivals Appalachian State, Western Carolina, Georgia Southern and UNC Greensboro. ... In addition, the Bucs ranked ahead of SEC schools such as Tennessee, Vanderbilt, South Carolina, Mississippi State, Georgia, Mississippi and Auburn, as well as other major programs such as Virginia Tech, Notre Dame, DePaul, Bradley, Clemson, California and Florida State.