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LEXINGTON, Va. (Jan. 17, 2015) – Entering the middle portion of its 2014-15 Southern Conference schedule, the ETSU men’s basketball team will aim to stay perfect on the road in league play when the Buccaneers travel to take on the VMI Keydets Saturday afternoon inside Cameron Hall. Tip is set for 1 p.m.
The game will be available to watch via SoConDigitalNetwork.com, and fans can also listen courtesy of the Buccaneer Sports Network presented by East Coast Wings.
Both the Bucs and Keydets feature high-scoring offensive teams that rely on transition scores and 3-point shooting. Earlier this year, the Bucs outran VMI and enjoyed a 98-88 win inside Freedom Hall. ETSU currently stands at 10-5 overall, 5-2 in SoCon play, with a 2-0 record in league play on the road.
Fans making the trip to Lexington for Saturday’s game are encouraged to attend a special pre-game, drop-in for ETSU alumni, family and friends scheduled for 11 a.m. at Macado’s, located at 30 North Main St. in Lexington. ETSU President Dr. Brian Noland and other ETSU representatives will be attending the event.
For more on the VMI 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 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. VMI
The Bucs and Keydets have met 54 times in a series that dates back to 1953, but the series saw most of those games during the Bucs previous years in the Southern Conference from 1979 to 2005 ... The Bucs hold a 44-10 advantage all-time, having won the last nine meetings, including an
Last time out vs. VMI
JOHNSON CITY (Jan. 2, 2015) – In a matchup featuring the nation’s top two teams in 3-pointers made per game, it was ultimately transition scores, dunks and layups that made the difference for the ETSU men’s basketball team inside Freedom Hall. ... Shooting 49 percent from the field while hitting on just four 3-pointers for the game, the Buccaneers’ got a career high 32 points from senior guard Jalen Riley (Racine, Wis.) and a double-double effort of 17 points and 10 rebounds from sophomore guard A.J. Merriweather (Jackson), as ETSU picked up a 98-88 win over Southern Conference foe VMI. ... Along with Riley and Merriweather, fellow Bucs Rashawn Rembert (Tampa, Fla.), Lester Wilson (Knoxville) and Desonta Bradford (Humboldt) also reached double figures. ... In all, the Bucs would outscore VMI 48-28 in the paint and 38-16 in fast break points as ETSU continuously attacked the basket in transition. The Bucs also ended the game outscoring the Keydets – who normally average 12.3 3-pointers per game – by a 50-31 clip in bench points. ... After struggling on the boards in the first half, ETSU outrebounded VMI 26-19 in the second half. QJ Peterson finished with 16 points to lead VMI offensively.
Last time out
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 on 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. ... Riley shot 10-of-16 from the field to finish one point shy of tying a career high, while Rembert was 4-of-5 from beyond the arc and 9-for-10 at the free throw line. A.J. Merriweather (Jackson, Tenn.) also scored in double figures as he totaled 12 points and had four of ETSU’s season-high 14 steals, while Petey McClain (Mobile, Ala.) dished out eight of the Bucs’ 11 assists. ... The victory pushed ETSU’s record to 10-5, 5-2 in SoCon play, while the Bucs also extended their win streak over the Catamounts to 17 straight games. Western dropped to 8-10, 3-3. ... After dominating the opening 20 minutes and leading 37-26 at the hal, ETSU was forced to withhold every run the Catamounts threw at them in the second half. ... Western Carolina cut its 13-point deficit to four six minutes into the half as a pair of free throws by Mike Brown make it a 46-42 contest with 13:59 remaining. The Blue and Gold responded with an 8-1 run over the next minute and 45 seconds and led 54-43 when McClain found Lester Wilson (Knoxville, Tenn.) open for three at the 12:14 mark. ... The Catamounts continued with their scrappy play and eventually made it a 55-54 game with 9:31 left in the contest, but ETSU never relinquished its lead as Alex Bates (Greenbelt, Md.) and Merriweather ignited a 4-0 spurt, pushing the Bucs lead to 59-54 with less than eight minutes to play. Western Carolina climbed within three after a Rhett Harrelson trey with seven minutes left made it a 61-58 score; however, Riley and Rembert carried the Bucs down the stretch run by scoring all but one of ETSU’s final 15 points.
Riley rolling in SoCon play, one of nation’s best scorers
In seven games against SoCon teams this season, guard Jalen Riley (Racine, Wis.) has put up impressive scoring numbers ... Riley is averaging 26.9 ppg in SoCon games, while shooting 50 percent from the field, 42 percent from 3-point range and 81 percent at line ... In those games, he is also averaging 3.1 assists and 1.86 steals ... For the year, Riley is first in the SoCon in scoring with 21.1 points per game, and he ranks 5th nationally as well. ... Riley has produced these numbers despite not starting, instead coming off the bench as the team’s sixth man.
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 ... With his four made 3-pointers against Western Carolina, Rembert moved past former ETSU great Keith “Mister” Jennings for second place on the ETSU all-time 3-point list with 227 career makes from behind the arc ... 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 25th on the all-time scoring list with 1,150 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, average 36.1 minutes per game, the fourth highest total in program history.
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 844 consecutive games. ... ETSU was 0-for-8 in that 1987 game. ... The Bucs currently rank as the 7th longest streak in the NCAA.
Fifteen games into the 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 seven home games so far this season, the team has combined to hit 77 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 fifth nationally with 10.9 3-pointers per game, and rank 8th in the nation in 3-point field goal percentage (41.2%) ... Individually, junior forward Lester Wilson (Knoxville), along with 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 (3.8 pg), Wilson is 25th (3.0) and Riley 45th (2.8).
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 Jan. 13.
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 21.1 ppg, Rembert second with 17.1 a contest, and Wilson netting 13.6 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 10th nationally in assist/TO ratio at 3.5, and is second in the SoCon in assists per game with 4.5 a contest.
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. ... The Bucs have been effective defensively in three of their road wins this season, winning at Winthrop, Morehead State and Eastern Kentucky by holding those teams to scoring games in the 60s.
Rembert, Wilson, Riley approaching 1,000-point plateau
Senior guard Rashawn Rembert (Tampa, Fla.) recently surpassed the 1,000-point mark for his career, leaving teammates Jalen Riley (Racine, Wis.), along with junior forward Lester Wilson (Knoxville) aiming to join him in that elite group ... While Rembert now stands at 1,150 for his career, Wilson is at 976 points in his two plus seasons, while Riley will need a strong year offensively to reach 1,000, as he stands now at 785 points so far ... Riley’s scoring numbers have been solid, giving him a chance to reach 1,000 in just two seasons ... So far this year, he has eclipsed 20 points nine times and 30 points three times.
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 218 wins at ETSU ranks second on the Bucs’ all-time list ... In addition, Bartow’s 321 career victories ranks No. 1 among second generation coaches ... Along with his father’s 647 career wins, the Bartow men have combined for 968 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.
ETSU picked in upper half of “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.