KENNESAW, Ga. (Jan. 7, 2010) -- With an unblemished Atlantic Sun Conference record, the ETSU men's basketball team will try to stay unbeaten in league play as the Buccaneers make a two-game swing through Georgia this weekend.
The road trip begins with a 5:30 p.m. meeting with Kennesaw State Thursday afternoon inside the KSU Convocation Center, followed by a Saturday afternoon showdown with Mercer at 3:30 p.m. in Macon, Ga.
ETSU hopes to improve on the start it enjoyed a year ago in league play, when the Bucs opened A-Sun action at 5-0.
For more on the game, click on the game notes link located above, or read the game notes below.
The ETSU men's basketball team hopes to keep its unblemished conference record intact as the Bucs head on the road for a critical two-game road swing through Georgia ... The Bucs, 7-7 overall, 3-0 in league play, open the swing with Kennesaw State Thursday afternoon at 5 p.m. in the KSU Convocation Center, followed by a Saturday showdown with the Mercer Bears at 3:30 ... ETSU is currently 5-1 inside the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center this season, but are just 2-6 on the road this year ... Preseason All Atlantic Sun Conference pick Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.) remains doubtful for the USC Upstate game after having missed the Bucs last four contests ... In Smith's absence, junior forward Tommy Hubbard (Boston) and junior guard Justin Tubbs (Trussville, Ala.) have stepped up their games … In fact, Hubbard has posted double-doubles in seven of his last 13 games ... When he was picked A-Sun Player of the Week on Nov. ,30, he posted a career best 32-point effort against the Razorbacks and a game-high 25-point effort in the victory over UNF ... Meanwhile, Tubbs posted a career best 29 points against CofC and 21 against Arkansas, to go with nine rebounds ... Currently, Hubbard and Tubbs lead the team in scoring, with Hubbard averaging 14.2 points per game, and Tubbs pitching in 13.2 a contest.
The series against Kennesaw State
The Bucs are 6-1 all-time against the Owls, including an 81-46 win over Kennesaw State in the last meeting between the two on Feb. 26, 2009, inside the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center.
Last time against Kennesaw State
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Feb. 26, 2009) - In need of a confidence boost and looking to get his ETSU men's basketball team back on the winning track, senior guard Courtney Pigram (Memphis) responded to the fans' pregame chants of "Let's go, CP!" by scoring a game-high 16 points and dishing out seven assists in the Buccaneers 81-46 win over Kennesaw State Thursday night inside Memorial Center ... The crowd of 3,149 was treated to one of the Bucs' best performances of the season, as they shot 49 percent from the floor and held the Owls to just 26 percent shooting. ... After several tough games shooting the basketball, Pigram looked more relaxed on a night when the ETSU fans began chanting his name even before the tip. The senior led all scorers with 10 point in the first half, going 4-of-10 from the field in the first 20 minutes and helping stake the Bucs to a 34-25 halftime lead ... The Bucs defensive effort was also stellar in the first half as ETSU's fullcourt press attack was initiated from the outset and held the Owls to just 29 percent shooting the first half. Meanwhile, the Bucs hit on 47 percent from the field and outrebounded Kennesaw State 20-14 ... In the second half, the Bucs only turned up the heat and outscored the Owls 47-21 to leave no doubt about the game's ultimate outcome. For the game, the Bucs outrebounded KSU 47-31 and forced 21 turnovers on 12 steals. ... Along with Pigram's 16, ETSU got 13 points from freshman guard Jarvis Jones (Memphis), while freshman Adam Sollazzo (Tampa) and senior forward Kevin Tiggs (Flint, Mich.) pitched in 11 apiece ... For Kennesaw State, only one player reached double figures with Kurtis Woods scored 12 to lead the Owls.
Last time out
SPARTANBURG, S.C. (Jan. 4, 2010) - Despite giving up a 15-point lead over the final 10 minutes and facing a tie score with 58 seconds left, an unlikely scenario involving an injury to sophomore forward Isiah Brown (Miami) and a made foul shot by a freshman forward Lukas Poderis (Tampa) lifted the ETSU men's basketball team to a 63-62 win over USC Upstate in Atlantic Sun Conference basketball action inside the E.B. Hodge Center. ... The Bucs - who scored a season-low 16 points in the second half - held a 58-43 lead with 10:12 left and only managed five points the rest of the way. In fact, the Bucs (7-7 overall, 3-0 A-Sun) overcame six missed foul shots and two turnovers in the final minute to still manage a victory thanks to an unusual finish. ... When Upstate's Carter Cook missed a potential game winner with 15 seconds left, Brown came down with the rebound and was fouled to the floor. The foul left Brown holding his right ankle and heading to the ETSU bench. By rule, USC Upstate coach Eddie Payne was then allowed to pick who would replace Brown at the line. ... Poderis hit the first shot of the one-and-one bonus, giving the Bucs the lead at 63-62. His second shot missed, but the Bucs managed to stop Upstate from scoring. ETSU's Micah Williams (Manchester) was then fouled and missed the front end of the one-and-one with six seconds left, but again the Spartans were unable to make a miraculous shot at the end. ... The Bucs were led by a game-high 21 points from junior forward Tommy Hubbard (Boston), while Poderis added a career best 14 and Williams pitched in 12. Upstate had three players in double figures, with both Pat Posey and Cedric Koffi netting 12 points each ... The Bucs got off to a slow start and trailed by as many as 11 at 23-12 with 10:18 left in the first half. However, a 16-0 offensive run was just what ETSU needed as the Bucs built a 28-23 lead and ultimately grew their advantage to as many as 14 at 47-33 with 33 seconds left in the half. The Spartans hit a three as time wound down, and the half ended with ETSU leading 47-36. ... The Bucs shot 56 percent from the floor, and despite just shooting 63 percent from the line on the season, ETSU hit on 17-of-19 from the charity stripe for a clip of 90 percent before the intermission. Hubbard led the Bucs with 15 points and six rebounds in the first 20 minutes. ... In the second half, ETSU pushed the lead to 15 at 58-43, but from there Upstate outscored the Bucs 19-5. For the game, ETSU hit on 41 percent of its shots from the floor, and despite the solid free throw shooting numbers in the first half, ultimately finished at 68 percent for the game after going 2-of-9 from the charity stripe in the second half.
Smith's status still in doubt
Though he has played in four games this season and most recently scored a season high 14 points against UAB (12/4), senior guard Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.) continues to battle nagging injuries ... This has left his status for this week -- and the rest of the year -- still in doubt ... No decision has been made at this point on whether Smith will redshirt this season or whether he will attempt to return to the floor this year ... Smith has been out of practice the last few days.
Williams bringing more offense to the table
Junior guard Micah Williams (Manchester) has worked his way into the starting lineup thanks mainly to back-to-back strong efforts on the offensive end ... Against North Georgia, Williams posted a career high 22 points in leading the Bucs to the win, and he followed that effort with an 18-point night against Murray State ... He has scored in double figures in five of his last six games ... Currently, Williams is one of three Bucs averaging double figures scoring this year with 10.6 points per game.
Grimm steps up at the point position
As the 2009-10 season
has progressed, the Bucs have struggled to find a player who can consistently provide quality minutes at the point guard position ... While helping rally the Bucs against Murray State, freshman point Bruce Grimm (Rochester, Ind.) turned some heads and ultimately earned the start against Morehead State ... He has eclipsed double fitures in two of the last four games, and in his last game against Jacksonville he posted a career best six assists ... He has started the last three games at point for the Bucs.
Hubbard steps up his game, averaging
Much has been written and reported about junior forward Tommy Hubbard (Boston) and his efforts to improve his offensive game, and those strides most recently led to being selected A-Sun Player of the Week one week ago ... Already considered one of the best defenders in the A-Sun, Hubbard posted a 32-point and 10-rebound effort in the win over Arkansas and dropped in another game-high 26 in the win over UNF ... He currently leads the Bucs with 15.2 points per game and 8.3 rebounds a contest ... while he has posted double-doubles in seven of the last 11 games, his efforts began to pay off on the offensive end against Chattanooga back on Nov. 17 ... Setting career bests for points (26) and rebounds (13), Hubbard collected his first career double-double against the Mocs ... In addition, he hit his first 3-point shot in three seasons with the Bucs, and didn't stop there -- ultimately finishing with four long-range bombs on the night.
Record setting night from the arc for Bucs
Hitting on 11-of-14 shots from 3-point range against Arkansas, the Bucs put their name in a multiple of record books ... First, those numbers set a new school record for 3-point field goal percentage in a game with a 78.6 percent mark, breaking the previous record of 66.7 percent which had been done three times previously ... In addition, it was the best shooting effort in the "nation" this season for teams taking more than 10 shots in a game ... And it was the best percentage by a team in the A-Sun since Nov. 28, 1999 when UCF was 11-of-14 in a game against South Carolina state.
Sollazzo to honor Coy with number change
When ETSU's rising sophomore forward Seth Coy (Montgomery, Ind.) was tragically killed in a car accident this summer, it left the entire Buccaneer community with a deep sense of loss ... As is often the case, those that are left to mourn have looked for ways to remember the Bucs' 6-foot-11 "Gentle Giant." ... For sophomore guard Adam Sollazzo (Tampa), who was Coy's roommate, the answer was simple ... Changing his jersey number from No. 20 to Coy's No. 43, Sollazzo will play the 2009-10 season to honor his friend and have that memory with him each night.
Big questions surround Bucs entering 2009-10
With the loss of seniors Courtney Pigram and Kevin Tiggs -- one of the most dynamic offensive duos in the country -- the Bucs have a lot of questions to answer on the offenisve end of the floor this season ... Having averaged 78.1 points a game a year ago, which ranked 21st nationally in all of Division I play -- ETSU has lost 44.0 of those points to graduation when one includes now departed senior Greg Hamlin in that trio ... In addition to the losses on offensive, the Bucs' 13-man roster includes just eight players who have experienced actual floor time in college ... The other five players are either true freshmen, redshirt freshmen or walk-ons.