JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Feb. 14, 2013) – As the stretch run of regular season conference games approaches, the ETSU men’s basketball team will once again look to put together its first winning streak of the season Thursday night when Atlantic Sun Conference foe Kennesaw State invades the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center.
Tip is set for 7 p.m. on Valentine’s Day evening.
The Buccaneers (8-18 overall, 6-7 A-Sun) are coming off an impressive come-from-behind win over Stetson in their last game, rallying from 20 points down to drop the Hatters on the road. ETSU has now come back from 19 or more points three times this season, and the Bucs have also overcome five second-half deficits to win this year.
For more on Thursday’s game, read the game notes below or click on the game notebook link above. 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
DELAND, Fla. (Feb. 9, 2013) – Saturday magic struck again for the ETSU men’s basketball team. ... Down 20 points with just 12 minutes left in their game with Stetson, the Buccaneers rallied to close the contest on a 28-7 offensive run and ultimately grabbed the lead courtesy of a 3-pointer by sophomore guard Rashawn Rembert (Tampa) with six seconds left, dropping the Hatters 62-61 in Atlantic Sun Conference action at the Edmunds Center. ... The win marks the fourth Saturday victory in league play for the Bucs this season, as well as the fourth time this year that the team has rallied from a double-digit, second-half deficit to win. With the victory, ETSU improved to 8-18 overall, 6-7 in A-Sun play, while Stetson dropped to 10-14, 7-6. ... The Bucs certainly made plays during the final minutes, but things didn’t start out well at all. ... In the first half, Stetson hit on 8-of-16 shots from 3-point range and abused ETSU’s defensive pressure to take a 38-26 lead at the break. ... Things only got worse in the opening moments of the second half, as Stetson manufactured a 10-0 offensive run to make it 54-34 with just over 12 minutes left in the game. At that point, the Bucs switched a full-court press defensive scheme which included a trapping half-court strategy as well. ... That switch helped make Stetson ineffective offensively, while leading to several easy buckets for the Bucs as ETSU went on a 15-1 run to make it 55-49 with just over four minutes left. From there, it appeared Stetson would hold on as they scored the next three points to regain a nine-point edge. ... However, the Bucs closed on another 11-3 run to get the win. Rembert’s game-winning shot came after the Bucs inbounded the ball with 16 seconds left and senior guard Jarvis Jones (Memphis) avoided the Hatters’ defensive pressure to find Rembert open in the right corner. ... With 5.4 seconds left, Stetson’s Joel Naburgs attempted to force the ball up the floor for the win, but the Bucs stopped his progress and his pass attempt was intercepted by ETSU’s sophomore post John Walton (Memphis) as time expired. ... For the game, Jones finished with a game-high 17 points, while Rembert netted 16. Junior forward Hunter Harris (Nashville) also had a strong game with a double-double effort thanks to his 12 points and 10 rebounds.
The series versus Kennesaw State
The Bucs are 14-1 all-time against KSU, including a 70-60 win in their last game back on Jan. 19, 2013 ... ETSU has won 14 straight.
Last time out against Kennesaw State
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. ... 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.
Bucs earning reputation as “Comeback Kids”
With their comeback from 20 points down to beat Stetson on Feb. 9, the Buccaneers just continue to build a reputation as a team that won’t go away no matter the score ... The Bucs have now won five of their eight games after being down significantly ... In wins over Charleston Southern (Nov. 20), FGCU (Jan. 12) and Stetson (Feb. 9), the Bucs were down by as many as 19 points and still won ... ETSU also came back from second-half deficits to drop North Florida (Jan. 26) and Lipscomb (Feb. 2).
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.
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. … Recently, Jones almost single-handedly won the game for the Bucs against Lipscomb (Feb. 2), scoring a career high 36 points and hitting three straight 3-pointers in overtime -- including the game winner ... Since returning to the team in the middle of December, Jones has averaged a team-best 16.3 points per game.
Rembert heating up from outside, nearing national mark
Sophomore guard Rashawn Rembert (Tampa) has made the most of his increased playing time this season, having made a 3-pointer in 23 straight games and currently ranks third in the A-Sun in 3-point field goal percentage at 42 percent on the season ... Against Jacksonville, he gave ETSU’s coaches even more reason to utilize him ... Hitting on 5-of-7 attempts from 3-point range against the Dolphins and counting the six games since that time, Rembert has made 46 3-pointers on the year. ... He is chasing the national record for consecutive games with a 3-pointer held by Steve Kerr of Arizona, who hit 3s in 38 straight games dating from Nov. 27, 1987 to April 2, 1988.
Shuffling starters the “new normal” for Bucs
ETSU head coach Murry Bartow has used 17 different starting lineups in the team’s 26 games this season ... Injuries and dismissals have left the ETSU’s coaches searching for the right combination, as the team currently stands at 8-18.
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 790 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.
ETSU picked among nation’s best “Prestige” programs
In 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 Bucs -- who have enjoyed nine NCAA 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 team, as well as former SoCon rivals Appalachian State, Western Carolina, Georgia Southern and UNC Greensboro. In addition, at that time 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 Notre Dame, DePaul, Bradley, Clemson and Fla. State.