Bucs welcome The Citadel to Freedom Hall Thursday
Sophomore guard A.J. Merriweather and the rest of the Bucs will be back in action at home on Thursday night, taking on The Citadel at 7 p.m. inside Freedom Hall.
Bucs welcome The Citadel to Freedom Hall Thursday
Wednesday, January 21, 2015

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Jan. 22, 2015) – The ETSU men’s basketball team will be aiming to stay in contention for a regular season championship when the Buccaneers return to Southern Conference play by hosting The Citadel Thursday night inside Freedom Hall. Tip is set for 7 p.m.

The game will be available on the SoConDigitalNetwork.com and fans can also listen to the game courtesy of the Buccaneer Sports Network presented by East Coast Wings.

This will be the first meeting between the Bucs (10-6, 5-3 SoCon) and the Bulldogs (8-10, 3-4) since the 2004-05 season, which marked the Bucs last season in the SoCon before leaving for the Atlantic Sun Conference from 2005 to 2014. While the Bucs own a 35-15 advantage in the all-time series, the Bulldogs won the last matchup back on Jan. 24, 2005.

For more on Thursday’s game, read the game notes below or click on the game notebook 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.

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 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 50 times on the hardwood, with ETSU holding a 35-15 advantage in the all-time series ... Those games were played between 1962 and 2005, with The Citadel holding a win in the last meeting, an 80-76 win over the Bucs on Jan. 24, 2005.


Last time out vs. The Citadel

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Jan. 24, 2005) -- The Citadel held off a late frantic rally by East Tennessee State to take an 80-76 road win over the Buccaneers in Southern Conference action at Memorial Center. ... The Citadel (12-5 overall, 4-3 SoCon) held a 10-point lead at 76-66 with just under two minutes left in the game, but the Bucs’ fullcourt pressure forced turnovers and easy baskets to get within three points at 79-76 with 13 seconds left. ETSU (6-12, 2-6) had the ball and senior guard James Anthony (Tampa, Fla.) had an open look at the basket for a 3-pointer, but the shot did not fall. ... Mclendon and Hammack certainly did the job for the Bulldogs. Both players netted career highs, with Mclendon - a true freshman - leading all scorers with 27 and Hammack collecting 22. The Citadel shot a blistering 58 percent from the floor and 81 percent from the foul line, outrebounding the Bucs 34-28. ... The Citadel led 41-36 at the intermission after watching a halfcourt shot by ETSU senior guard Tim Smith (Newport News, Va.) rim out at the buzzer. There were four ties and three lead changes before the break. ... ETSU came out strong in the second half, using at 8-2 run to take the lead at 44-43 thanks to a pair of free throws by junior guard Ben Rhoda (Dayton, Ohio). However, the Citadel regained the lead and later led by two at 68-66, before going on an 8-0 run to take a 10-point advantage with 1:56 remaining. Again, the Bucs rallied but the Citadel held on for the win. ... For ETSU, four players scored in double figures, with Rhoda netting a career high with 22 points.


Last time out

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Jan. 19, 2015) – Senior guard Rashawn Rembert (Tampa, Fla.) scored a game-high 22 points and two other ETSU players posted double-double efforts, as the Buccaneers dropped non-conference opponent Tusculum College 90-52 Monday evening inside Freedom Hall. ... The Buccaneers, who improved to 11-6 on the year, enjoyed a 17-point effort from senior guard Jalen Riley (Racine, Wis.), while junior forward Lester Wilson (Knoxville) finished with 11 points and 10 rebounds, while sophomore guard Devin Harris (Tampa, Fla.) finished with 11 points and 11 rebounds on the night. ... The Bucs sprinted out of the gates, building a lead of 20 points at 34-14 with seven minutes left before the intermission. At that point, ETSU emptied its bench and started using its entire roster the rest of the half. ... Tusculum took advantage of the Bucs’ approach to pull to within 13 at 42-29 by the intermission. ... After the break, Tusculum managed to keep the game within 14 points for the first four minutes of play, but a 15-3 spurt by the Bucs finally increased the cushion to 25 points at 65-40 and ETSU never looked back.


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 1,191 for his career, Wilson is at 999 points in his two plus seasons, while Riley will need a strong year offensively to reach 1,000, as he stands now at 815 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.


Riley rolling in SoCon play, one of nation’s best scorers

In eight games against SoCon teams this season, guard Jalen Riley (Racine, Wis.) has put up impressive scoring numbers ... Riley is averaging 25.1 ppg in SoCon games, while shooting 49 percent from the field, 44 percent from 3-point range and 82 percent at line ... In those games, he is also averaging 3.0 assists and 1.6 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, 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 five made 3-pointers against Tusculum (1/19), Rembert now stands at 237 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 20th on the all-time scoring list with 1,191 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 last year, averaging 36.1 minutes per game, 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 Jan. 20.


Three-dom Hall

Seventeen games into the season and 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 eight home games so far this season, the team has combined to hit 87 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 third nationally with 10.8 3-pointers per game, and rank 17th in the nation in 3-point field goal percentage (40.1%) ... 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 3rd (3.9 pg), Riley is 38th (2.8) and Wilson 46th (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 846 consecutive games. ... ETSU was 0-for-8 in that 1987 game.  ... The Bucs currently rank as the 7th longest streak in the NCAA.


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 20.4 ppg, Rembert second with 17.5 a contest, and Wilson netting 13.4 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 23rd nationally in assist/TO ratio at 2.9, and is second in the SoCon in assists per game with 4.3 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 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.