JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Nov. 30, 2013) – Returning home after a disappointing trip to Tennessee Tech, the ETSU men’s basketball team hopes the success its enjoyed on the floor at the Freedom Hall Civic Center will continue on Saturday, as the Buccaneers take on former rival Marshall at 4 p.m.
This will be the third of three scheduled games inside Freedom Hall as part of the First Bank and Trust Company Roundball Showcase, and so far the Bucs are 2-0 in the building. However, the Bucs’ former Southern Conference rival and current Conference USA member Marshall will provide a serious test to that unblemished mark when the Thundering Herd stampede into Johnson City.
Fans are encouraged to bring their children to games this year to take advantage of the special Sweet Frogs $5 kids’ ticket during men’s basketball games. In addition, the Bucs will have multiple other promotions for tickets during games at Freedom Hall. For more information on these special discounts, click on the Freedom Hall game information tab located on the right.
The ETSU Department of Intercollegiate Athletics will also be collecting toys for its “Buccaneer Christmas” community service outreach program at both Friday’s women’s game and Saturday’s men’s game. Fans who bring a toy to the game for the “Buccaneer Christmas” – which will be held on Tuesday, Dec. 3 at 6 p.m. – will receive admission to the women’s game for just $1. Similarly, fans can receive a ticket to Saturday’s men’s game inside Freedom Hall for only $5.00.
For more on Saturday’s matchup with Marshall, read the game notes below or click on the game notebook link to the right. For more on ETSU men’s basketball throughout the 2013-14 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.
The ETSU men’s basketball program was glad to see the 2012-13 campaign come to an end, following a season which saw the team face multiple obstacles and challenges -- such as a brutal schedule that featured the likes of North Carolina, Arizona,
Virginia Tech, Georgia and Hawaii ... Other issues for the team included senior post Lukas Poderis (Port Richey, Fla.) missing the
ankle injury that he suffered in
the preseason, senior guard Jarvis Jones (Memphis) being academically ineligible for the first two months of the year, and two other senior guards who were expected to be major contributors were dismissed from the team in early November for violations of team rules … This left head coach Murry Bartow and his coaching staff with a young, inexperienced group of underclassmen, several true freshmen, one redshirt freshman and a pair of junior college transfers … Those obstacles proved to be tough to overcome, as the Buccaneers posted a 10-22 record and finished 8-10 in Atlantic Sun Conference play … It was the toughest campaign in Bartow’s 10 seasons at ETSU, a tenure that has produced many championships, postseason tournament appearances and 20-win campaigns … In all, Bartow’s teams have earned three NCAA Tournament invitations (2004, 2009 and 2010), one NIT appearance (2007), and one CIT berth (2011), and the Bucs have eclipsed 20 wins five times. … This year, the Bucs will once again take to the floor with a young squad made up of several new faces … In fact, despite the return of the 6-fooot-9 Poderis, the Bucs have just five players back this season who played significant minutes a year ago.
The series vs. Marshall
With a series history that dates back to a time when the Bucs and Thundering Herd were rivals in the Southern Conference, these two teams have met a total of 46 times, with ETSU holding an edge in the overall series 25-21 ... The teams last met during the 2008-09 season, a 76-72 win for ETSU on the road in Huntington, W.Va.
Last time out against Marshall
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (Dec. 2, 2008) - Make no mistake, ETSU senior forward Kevin Tiggs (Flint, Mich.) loves playing the Marshall Thundering Herd. ... Though junior guard Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.) iced the Buccaneers 76-72 win over Marshall thanks to a pair of free throws with 5.6 seconds left Tuesday night inside Cam Henderson Center, it was Tiggs’ game and career-high 31 points that powered ETSU to the victory. In three career games against the Thundering Herd, Tiggs - who was heavily recruited by Marshall - has scored 81 points, having combined to score 50 against Marshall in two meetings during the 2007-08 season. ... Led by Tiggs’ 13-of-18 shooting effort, the Bucs hit an impressive 55 percent of their shots from the field, and were 46.7 percent from beyond the 3-point arc. ... Tiggs was joined in double figures by Smith, who finished with 16 points and six rebounds, while senior guard Courtney Pigram (Memphis) had a game high six assists. ... Leading 42-33 at the half, the second half started in nightmare fashion for the Bucs, with Marshall going on a 16-4 run to take the lead 49-46 on a 3-pointer by Damier Pitts with 13:20 left in the game. The Bucs responded and retook the lead thanks to a pair of 3-pointers from freshman guard Jarvis Jones (Memphis), with the second coming at the 11:52 mark and making the score 52-50 in favor of ETSU ... The Herd edged back and later took the lead 65-64 on a 3-pointer by Shaquille Johnson with 3:41 left. ... The Bucs responded though, going on a 7-0 run to make it 71-65 when a layup by freshman post Isiah Brown (Miami, Fla.) found the bottom of the net with 39 seconds remaining. From there, Tiggs scored on a layup, hit a foul shot, and Smith ended the game with two from the charity stripe.
Last time out
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. (Nov. 27, 2013) – Dominated physically inside the paint and under the basket, the ETSU men’s basketball team had no answers for Tennessee Tech’s big men as the Buccaneers fell to the Golden Eagles 98-83 in non-conference hoops action inside the Eblen Center. ... Tennessee Tech out-rebounded ETSU 45-26 overall and 17-5 on the offensive glass, and the Golden Eagles got a combined 62 points from its posts and forwards en route to the runaway victory. With the loss, ETSU drops to 2-5 overall, while Tech improved to 4-4 on the year. ... Tennessee Tech forward Dennis Ogbe scored a career-high and game-high 27 points, and was joined in double figures by fellow forwards Dwan Caldwell and Ladon Carter with 16 and 13 points, respectively. ... For the Bucs, senior forward Kinard Gadsden-Gilliard (Georgetown, S.C.) had a team-high 20 points, while junior guard Rashawn Rembert (Tampa, Fla.) added 14. ... The Bucs did shoot well from the field, but that could not offset the issue of keeping the Golden Eagles off the glass. ... In the first half, Tennessee Tech dominated the paint and used their athleticism to out-rebound the Bucs 21-13 overall, including an 8-3 edge on the offensive glass. The result was a TTU lead of as many as nine points at 26-17 with just under 10 minutes left before the intermission. ... While the Bucs managed to cut the deficit to six at 45-39 by halftime, the story did not get any better for the Bucs in the second half, as the Golden Eagles built a lead of as many as 16 points at 66-50 with 12:37 left. From there, the Bucs would cut the lead to nine at 78-67 following a basket by junior guard Jalen Riley (Racine, Wisc.), but that would be as close as ETSU would get the rest of the way.
Giplaye makes return following open heart surgery
Earlier this year, the Buccaneers got a serious scare when junior forward Ron Giplaye (Lowell, Mass.) had to undergo open heart surgery for a condition that was described as “life threatening.” Following the successful procedure, Giplaye has slowly regained his strength and was able to play two minutes against Tennessee Tech (11/27), marking his first competitive compeition since the 2011-12 season when he played at Providence.
Bucs improve defensively, but inside game struggling
A year ago, ETSU allowed teams to shoot a high percentrage from the field and from the 3-point line ... This year, ETSU’s defensive efforts have paid off as the Bucs have held teams to 42 percent shooting from the field and 29 percent from 3-point range ... However, as the Bucs have improved on the perimeter, the team has struggled in the paint ... Currently, ETSU’s rebound margin is -6.2, and the Bucs have been out-rebounded by a total of 274-230 ... Those numbers have led to more second chance points for opponents and the reason for two close losses for the team.
Merriweather continues to shine, posts double-double
Freshman guard A.J. Merriweather (Jackson, Tenn.) has certainly made an impression in the early going this season, and he continued to make more news against Morehead State (11/12) ... The 6-2 guard collected his first career double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds, to go along with a pair of assists, a block and a steal in 35 minutes of play ... His current team ranks are first in rebounding (7.1 rpg), third in steals (1.0 spg), third in scoring (10.3 ppg), and third in minutes played (28.4).
All-around effort by Gadsden-Gilliard impressive
Setting new personal bests with 12 rebounds and six assists in the win over Samford (11/21), senior forward Kinard Gadsden-Gilliard (Georgetown, S.C.) had people thinking “triple-double” when he added an 18-point effort to his statistical line ... The Bucs hope that KGG can make these types of efforts more consistent ... So far this year, KGG has games of 31, 20, 18, 16, and 10 points, to go along with outings of just two and four points of output.
KGG, Merriweather enjoy strong debuts at Charlotte
With his career-high, 31-point effort in the loss at Charlotte (11/8), senior forward Kinard Gadsden-Gilliard (Georgetown, S.C.) certainly made an impression on those inside Halton Arena. ... Along with KGG’s showing, freshman A.J. Merriweather (Jackson, Tenn.) did not shy away from the challenge of his first college game and the assignment of defending Charlotte guard Pierria Henry ... While KGG finished with career bests for points (31), field goals made (10) and 3-pointers made (4), Merriweather finished with 10 points to go along with team highs for rebounds (7) and steals (3) in 29 minutes of play.
Young Bucs still face obstacles with experience
The last two seasons, ETSU head coach Murry Bartow has faced the challenge of developing a roster with minimal experience ... As the 2013-14 Buccaneers begin play, Bartow is once again looking at a team with several new faces and limited playing time ... In all, the Bucs return just six players who saw time on the floor last sesaon, while there are a total of seven newcomers to the program ... When counting the entire 15-man roster, the Bucs have a total of just 11 varsity seasons between the team for an average of less than a season per player.
Shuffling starters the “new normal” for Bucs
Last season, ETSU head coach Murry Bartow used 17 different starting lineups in the team’s 32 games ... Injuries and dismissals left the ETSU’s coaches searching for the right combination all season. ... Bartow hoped to find more stability with his rotation in 2013-14, however he has now used five different starting lineups in seven games so far this season.
Rembert hoping to stay hot as 2013-14 season begins
Junior guard Rashawn Rembert (Tampa) has made the most of his increased playing time over the last two seasons, having made a 3-pointer in 36 straight games dating back to last season ... Last season, Rembert ranked fourth in the A-Sun in 3-point field goal percentage at 39.7 percent for the year. ... This year, Rembert has shown signs of expanding his offensive productivity, as he averaged 21.0 points per game in the Bucs’ exhibitions against Milligan (10/29) and Mars Hill (11/2) ... In fact, he put up a stunning 33 points on nine made 3-pointers in the win over Milligan.
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.
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 801 consecutive games. ... ETSU was 0-for-8 in that 1987 game.
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.