JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Jan. 24, 2013) – Currently just one game back of the conference leaders in the loss column, the ETSU men’s basketball team will play four of its next five games at home beginning with a matchup against Jacksonville Thursday night at 7 p.m. inside the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center.
The Buccaneers are coming off a 70-60 win over Atlantic Sun Conference foe Kennesaw State in their last outing, which improved them to 5-14 overall, 3-3 in league play. Meanwhile, Jacksonville stands at 10-10 overall, 5-2 in A-Sun action.
ETSU continues to be led on the offensive end of the floor by freshman forward Lester Wilson (Knoxville), who is averaging 15.3 points per game. Meanwhile, teammates like senior guard Jarvis Jones (Memphis) and freshman point guard Petey McClain (Mobile, Ala.) have helped the Bucs to two victories in their last three games.
For more on Thursday night’s game, read the game notes below or click on the game notebook link to the right. For more on ETSU men’s basketball throughout the 2012-13 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 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 entered this 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 were guards Sheldon Cooley (Tampa) and Marcus Dubose (Hartsville, S.C.), who both combined to score 19.7 points per game a year ago. ... However, both Cooley and Dubose have been dismissed from the team for violation of team rules and policies ... Along with those two, fellow guard Jarvis Jones (Memphis) and forward Lukas Poderis (Port Richey, Fla.) are the only other ETSU seniors 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 missed the first seven games of the year for academic reasons ... Jones returned against Ole Miss on Dec. 14 ... With so few returning, experienced players, ETSU has looked 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) have increased their production this year, while true freshmen guards Petey McClain (Mobile, Ala.), Mario Stramaglia (Birmingham, Ala.), and Yunio Barrueta (Miami, Fla.) are blossoming into early contributors. ... On the interior, Walton has been getting help from junior college transfers Kinard Gadsden-Gilliard (Georgetown, S.C.) and Hunter Harris (Nashville).
Last time out
KENNESAW, Ga. (Jan. 19, 2013) – Shooting a blistering 69 percent from 3-point range and an equally impressive 63 percent from the field, the ETSU men’s basketball team enjoyed their 14th straight victory over Kennesaw State since the 2005-06 season, dropping the Owls 70-60 inside the KSU Convocation Center. ... The Buccaneers got a game-high 19 points from freshman forward Lester Wilson (Knoxville, Tenn.), a career best 14 points from junior Kinard Gadsden-Gilliard (Georgetown, S.C.), and 15 points from senior guard Jarvis Jones (Memphis) en route to the victory. ... ETSU improves to 5-14 overall, 3-3 in Atlantic Sun Conference play with the victory. Meanwhile, KSU drops to 2-17, 1-6. ... In the early going, it was ETSU’s outside shooting and Kennesaw State’s offensive ineptitude that highlighted the game. The Buccaneers hit on 8-of-11 shots from 3-point range in the opening 20 minutes, while holding the Owls to 33 percent shooting from the floor. ... The result was a 37-24 halftime lead for the Bucs, which was powered by a 16-5 run to open the game and an 8-3 spurt at the end of the half. ... After the break, the Bucs continued to play well offensively and built a lead of 16 points at 54-38 with just over 10 minutes left in the contest. However, Kennesaw State answered at that point with an 8-0 run to make it 54-46 with seven minutes left on the clock. ... From there, the Bucs responded with a 7-0 run to regain a 15-point advantage with 3:42 left in the game. KSU never really got within striking distance from there, shooting just 39 percent for the game. The Owls got a double-double effort from forward Aaron Anderson, who scored 13 points and grabbed a career high 14 rebounds in the loss.
The series versus Jacksonville
The Bucs are 11-5 all-time against the Dolphins, having split in the two meetings a year ago ... JU won the final meeting a year ago, 61-55 on the Dome floor.
Last time out versus Jacksonville
JOHNSON CITY (Feb. 13, 2012) – Shooting just 50 percent from the foul line and looking on as Jacksonville’s Aloys Cabell scored a game-high 26 points, the ETSU men’s basketball team fell to the Dolphins 61-55 in Atlantic Sun Conference play Monday evening at the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center. ... ETSU led for most of the game and actually held a 45-44 edge with just over eight minutes left in the game after a 3-pointer from junior guard Jarvis Jones (Memphis). However, from there the Dolphins put together a 9-0 run to build a 53-45 advantage and never relinquished the lead. ... While Cabell’s 26 points was the story of the game for Jacksonville, it was ETSU’s lack of offensive firepower and poor free throw shooting that doomed any chance of a Buccaneer victory. For the game, ETSU hit on just 36 percent of its shots from the floor, while going just 11-of-22 from the free throw line. ... The Bucs were even worse from long range, going just 4-of-19 (21 percent) from beyond the arc. ETSU did pick up 12 steals and forced 14 Jacksonville turnovers, but most of that damage came in the first half. Even so, the Buccaneers were unable to pull away to a significant lead before the intermission. ... As for the Dolphins, they shot a strong 52 percent from the floor and were 5-of-13 from 3-point range – going 4-of-8 from long range in the second half. Along with Cabell’s strong effort, JU also got 13 points from Tevin Galvin, which included a basket as the shot clock expired to make it 59-55 in favor of the Dolphins with just over 20 seconds left in the game. ... Junior guard Marcus Dubose (Hartsville, S.C.) scored a team-high 20 points from the Bucs, while senior guard Tommy Hubbard (Boston) posted his fifth double-double of the season with an 18-point, 13-rebound effort.
New lighting system for the Mini-Dome
The game with VCU marked a new look for the Buccaneers home court inside the ETSU/MSHA Atheltic Center ... Over the holiday break, a new lighting system and championship banners were installed inside the Dome, creating a more “basketball friendly” environment ... Along with the new LED digital boards along the floor, a renovated “Courtside Club” for donors, and the team’s new practice facility which was completed earlier this year, there have been over $1 million in basketball improvements made to the Dome this year alone.
Home Sweet Dome
Since the 1996-97 season, the Buccaneers are an amazing 155-53 overall inside the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center, good for a winning percentage of 75 percent ... But when looking at the past 11 years, the Bucs are an even more impressive 47-8 against non-conference opponents ... Last year, the Bucs went 10-3 overall at the Dome and a perfect 4-0 against non-conference opponents.
Young Bucs still face obstacle with experience
At no time in the tenure of ETSU head coach Murry Bartow have the Buccaneers had less experience ... Currently, the team has 10 players who are eligible and healthy enough to play, and of that group there are only six total years of Division I experience ... On average, that’s less than a half year of experience per player ... With four freshmen and two junior college transfers that means 66 percent of the team is competing in their first season of Division I basketball.
Shuffling starters the “new normal” for Bucs
ETSU head coach Murry Bartow has used 14 different starting lineups in the team’s 19 games this season ... Injuries and dismissals have left the ETSU’s coaches searching for the right combination, as the team currently stands at 5-14.
Freshmen trio shine in win over FGCU
When Florida Gulf Coast built a 19-point lead over the Bucs back on Jan. 12, few would have thought a youthful ETSU team could pull off the victory ... However, a freshman trio that included redshirt freshman Lester Wilson (Knoxville), and true freshmen Petey McClain (Mobile, Ala.) and Mario Stramaglia (Birmingham, Ala.) had a different plan ... Helping power an ETSU comeback, the young Bucs ultimately came back and won 85-75 ... Wilson finished the game with a game-high 21 points, while McClain pitched in 10 points and eight assists at the point position, and Stramaglia came off the bench to score 14 points and grab five rebounds ... The question for ETSU fans is whether these youngters can continue to grow and become more consistent.
Gadsden-Gilliard shows signs of production
Early in the season, ETSU coaches spoke openly about the potential junior transfer Kinard Gadsden-Gilliard (Georgetown, S.C.) to produce quality numbers ... Thirteen games into the season KGG had struggled to meet those predictions, but that changed against Lipscomb (1/5) ... Setting or matching personal bests for points (13), rebounds (7), assists (3) and free throws (3) in 30 minutes of action, KGG played arguably his best game of the season so far. ... KGG has followed that game up with better performances, including another career high 14 points in the win over Kennesaw State (1/19).
Jones meeting expectations for Bucs
ETSU head coach Murry Bartow expected the return of senior guard Jarvis Jones (Memphis) would improve his team’s efforts on the offensive end of the floor … He was right. … After posting a career-high 21 points against No. 4 Arizona, followed by a team-high 14 against Hawaii and another team-best 17 against San Francisco, Jones is now averaging 14.3 points per game in his eight outings since returning from academic probation against Ole Miss back on Dec. 14. ... Jones is currently second on the team in scoring with 14.2 points a contest.
ESPN names Wilson to nation’s Top 25 freshmen list
While circumstances have forced the ETSU men’s basketball team to struggle in the early going this season, talented redshirt freshman forward Lester Wilson (Knoxville) has still given the Buccaneers reason for hope. ... Wilson, who is averaging 15.3 points per game, was listed as one of the Top 25 freshmen in college basketball Thursday by ESPN hoops writer John Gasaway. The list – which included players such as UNLV’s Anthony Bennett, UCLA’s Jordan Adams, Michigan’s Nik Stauskas and Duke’s Rasheed Sulaimon – had Wilson ranked at No. 25. ... Wilson has posted six 20-plus point games so far this season.
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 783 consecutive games. ... ETSU was 0-for-8 in that 1987 game.
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.