CHARLESTON, S.C. (Nov. 19, 2012) – Coming off a heartbreaking three-point setback to Tennessee Tech at home Saturday, the ETSU men’s basketball team embarks on a brief two-game road swing beginning Tuesday night at Charleston Southern. Tip is set for 7:30 p.m. inside the Buccaneer Fieldhouse.
Tuesday is the first game of a home-and-home series in 2012-13 as Charleston Southern makes the return trip on Dec. 18.
Charleston Southern (1-2) opened the season with back-to-back road losses at Charlotte and Arizona before picking up a 105-69 win against Hiwassee Thursday night. The Bucs were picked to win the Big South’s South Division at the beginning of the season as Charleston Southern returns four starters from last season’s team that finished 19-12.
Tuesday marks the fourth meeting between the two programs with ETSU leading the all-time series, 3-0. The last time the two programs met was back on Dec. 18, 1997 when the Bucs defeated Charleston Southern 82-65 in Johnson City.
Fans unable to make the trip to Charleston can listen to the game on WXSM-AM 640 The Extreme Sports Monster, while live video will be provided on the Big South Sports Network. Live stats can also be accessed by visiting CSUSports.com.
For more on ETSU men’s basketball throughout the 2012-13 season, visit ETSUBucs.com.
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 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.
After several years of quality returning players and at least some level of certainty regarding what to expect heading into the winter months, the 2012-13 ETSU men’s basketball team will enter the new campaign with several questions and concerns. ... The loss of standout seniors such as Adam Sollazzo (Tampa), Isiah Brown (Miami, Fla.) and Tommy Hubbard (Boston) will be hard to overcome, considering that group combined for a total of 3,091 points in their careers ... A year ago, the Bucs enjoyed quality wins such as a road victory over Atlantic 10 Conference foe Charlotte, and finished with a respectable 17 victories on the season. The team finished fourth in the Atlantic Sun Conference standings at 10-8, reaching the league tournament semifinals. ... This season, the Bucs top two returning starters are guards Sheldon Cooley (Tampa) and Marcus Dubose (Hartsville, S.C.), who both combined to score 19.7 points per game a year ago. ... Along with those two, fellow guard Jarvis Jones (Memphis) and forward Lukas Poderis (Port Richey, Fla.) are the only other ETSU players to be returning after playing significant minutes last year, but Poderis is now lost for the season with a left foot injury and will be forced to redshirt, while Jones is academically ineligible for the first semester ... With so few returning, experienced players, ETSU will be looking to some unproven returning players, as well as a recruiting class that includes three incoming freshmen and a pair of junior college transfers, to come in and make an immediate impact. Sophomores Rashawn Rembert (Tampa) and John Walton (Memphis), along with redshirt freshman Lester Wilson (Knoxville) are expected to increase their production this year, while true freshmen guards Petey McClain (Mobile, Ala.), Mario Stramaglia (Birmingham, Ala.), and Yunio Barrueta (Miami, Fla.) will look to blossom into early contributors. ... On the interior, Poderis and Walton will need help from junior college transfers Kinard Gadsden-Gilliard (Georgetown, S.C.) and Hunter Harris (Nashville). While they may have plenty of questions entering the season, the Bucs’ schedule will not provide much patience for development. The team will face teams such as North Carolina, Virginia Tech, Ole Miss and Georgia in the opening weeks of the season, and will host 2011 Final Four participant VCU (Jan. 2) just days before the start of the Atlantic Sun Conference slate. The team will also enjoy a Christmas holiday trip to the Diamond Head Classic and face Arizona in the first round of that event on Dec. 22.
Last time out
Trailing Tennessee Tech by 13 points late in the second half, the ETSU men’s basketball team rallied to get within two with 14 seconds remaining, but a game-tying 3-point attempt by Buccaneers’ senior guard Sheldon Cooley (Tampa) missed the mark as time expired and the Golden Eagles escaped the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center with a 65-62 victory Saturday afternoon in non-conference basketball action.
ETSU got a team-high 19 points from senior guard Marcus Dubose (Hartsville, S.C.), while Cooley netted 17 in the loss. Meanwhile, junior forward Hunter Harris (Nashville) pitched in 14 points and seven rebounds, and redshirt freshman Lester Wilson (Knoxville) had 12.
For Tennessee Tech, guard Jud Dillard led the way with a game-high 25 points and grabbed a double-double with 10 rebounds. Meanwhile, guard Jeremia Samarrippas and forward Dennis Ogbe pitched in 11 points apiece.
The series versus Charleston Southern
ETSU holds a 3-0 record all-time against Charleston Southern, having first played CSU back in 1979 ... The last meeting came back on Dec. 18, 1997, with ETSU winning by a score of 82-65 in Johnson City ... ETSU also defeated Charleston Southern, 70-67, 18 days prior in South Carolina.
Last time out against Charleston Southern
Four ETSU players scored in double figures, including Greg Stephens finishing with a game-high 25 points as the Bucs defeated Charleston Southern, 82-65, inside the Dome back on Dec. 18, 1997 ... Stephens finished 7-of-12 from the field and went 11-of-15 from the free throw line, while Adrian Meeks and Reggie Todd both added double-doubles ... Meeks tallied 12 points and 11 rebounds and Todd ended with 15 points and 11 boards ... Kyle Keeton was the fourth ETSU play to score in double digits after netting 13 points ... as a team, ETSU shot 51-percent from the field (26-51) and went 29-of-41 from the free throw line.
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, Murry has carried on the family tradition of success ... His 61 percent winning percentage at ETSU makes him the winningest Buccaneers’ head coach by percentage, and his 179 career wins ranks second on the ETSU all-time list ... In addition, Murry’s 282 career victories ranks No. 1 among second generation college coaches, besting the 252 wins by John Thompson III ... Along with his father’s 647 career wins, the Bartow men have combined for 929 victories, ranking fourth on the all-time win list for Father/Son coaches.
Wilson named A-Sun Newcomer of the Week
Many ETSU basketball fans had been eagerly awaiting the debut of redshirt freshman Lester Wilson (Knoxville). Against Virginia Tech on Nov. 10, the 6-foot-4 forward did not disappoint. ... Posting a team-high 20 points to go along with nine rebounds, Wilson was definitely impressive against the Hokies. For his efforts, he was named the Atlantic Sun Conference newcomer of the week on Tuesday. ... In that game last week, Wilson hit on 8-of-15 shots from the field and was 3-of-6 from 3-point range, as he came off the bench to play 27 minutes.
Home Sweet Dome ... against non-conference teams
Since the 1996-97 season, the Buccaneers are an amazing 153-49 overall inside Memorial Center, good for a winning percentage of 76 percent ... But when looking at the past 11 years, the Bucs are an even more impressive 46-5 against non-conference opponents ... Last year, the Bucs went 10-3 overall at the Dome and a perfect 4-0 against non-conference opponents.
McClain makes start at point, Barrueta provides valuable play
True freshmen Petey McClain (Mobile, Ala.) and Yunio Barrueta (Miami, Fla.) showed signs of a bright future in the Bucs’ loss at Virginia Tech ... McClain started at point guard and played 29 minutes, scoring six points and dishing out three assists ... Meanwhile, Barrueta came off the bench to net four points on 2-of-2 shooting.
Talented Bucs still face obstacle with experience
At no time in the tenure of ETSU head coach Murry Bartow have the Buccaneers had less experience ... This season, the team has 13 active players on the roster and only 13 total years of Division I experience combined among all those student-athletes ... On average, that’s just one year of experience per player on average ... With four freshmen and two sophomores that means that nearly half the team are “underclassmen.”
Bucs ranked 2nd, Cooley 12th in steals a year ago
Key to the Bucs’ success last year was the ability to swipe the ball from opponents ... Senior Sheldon Cooley (Tampa) returns this season after ranking 12th nationally with 2.48 steals per game, and as a team, the Bucs ranked second nationally with 10.2 steals per game.
Dubose to be counted on to provide offensive spark
Last season, senior guard Marcus Dubose (Hartsville, S.C.) ranked third on the team with an average of 10.8 points per game ... Those numbers were solid for a first-year junior college transfer, and he also posted statistics such as 16 games of double-figure scoring and six games of 20-plus points ... However, consistency was an issue at times for Dubose, who also posted nine games of five points or less ... Head coach Murry Bartow has publicly stated that a key to the Bucs’ success this season will be having Dubose become a more consistent offensive threat.
Walton on his way up the depth chart
After playing limited minutes a year ago, forward John Walton (Memphis) has been impressing the ETSU coaching staff during the preseason and through the first two games of the 2012-13 campaign ... After hinting that Walton would demand more playing time this year, ETSU head caoch Murry Bartow started the 6-foot-7 sophomore in the Bucs’ first two games this season ... at Virginia Tech, Walton responded with career highs for points (8), rebounds (5) and minuts played (30).
Junior college transfers set to power Bucs’ inside game
With the signing of junior college transfers Kinard Gadsden-Gilliard (Georgetown, S.C.) and Hunter Harris (Nashville), the Bucs are hoping to have added some strength -- and beef -- to their inside game this season ... At 6-foot-5, 250 pounds, Gadsden-Gilliard is a rare combination of size and agility, while Harris is a high energy player who can rebound and block shots at a high level ... With the loss of senior post Lukas Poderis (Port Richey, Fla.) for the season due to a foot injury, the expectations for Harris and KGG have only risen. ... In the season opener at Virginia Tech, KGG and Harris combined for 10 points and 10 rebounds.
Bucs have tradition of postseason appearances, success
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) ... In 2011, the Bucs made their first ever appearance in the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament, winning twice and advancing to the semifinals of that event ... It was the program’s 12th postseason tournament appearance all-time.
Bucs ink Merriweather for 2013-14
ETSU men’s basketball head coach Murry Bartow announced last Thursday that the Buccaneers have made their first signing for the 2013-14 recruiting class. A.J. Merriweather, a 6-foot-4, 195-pound swingman from South Side High School in Jackson, Tenn., signed his national letter of intent with the Bucs on Wednesday. Merriweather – who averaged 12 points and 10 rebounds a game as a junior – was an all-district and all-region selection a year ago, while also posting the highest grade point average on his team.
Since the 1993-94 season, the Bucs have made at least one 3-pointer in 577 consecutive games.
Wilson gives Bucs spark off the bench early on
After red-shirting the 2011-12 season, Lester Wilson has been a pleasant surprise for the Blue and Gold in 2012-13 ... in his first two collegiate games, Wilson is averaging 16 points and five rebounds ... the Knoxville, Tenn. native scored 20 points in his debut at Virginia Tech and followed that effort up with a 12-point performance Saturday vs. Tennessee Tech.
ETSU picked among nation’s best “Prestige” programs
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 … The Buccaneers -- who have enjoyed nine NCAA Tournament trips, one NIT and one CIT berth, 14 20-win seasons, and a slew of conference regular season and tournament championships since 1984-85 -- 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 every current Atlantic Sun Conference team, as well as 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 programs such as Virginia Tech, Notre Dame, DePaul, Bradley, Clemson, California and Florida State.