First-place Bucs head to Mercer for Saturday league battle
Junior Tommy Hubbard leads the Bucs with 15.5 points and 8.7 rebounds a game.
Junior Tommy Hubbard leads the Bucs with 15.5 points and 8.7 rebounds a game.

Friday, January 08, 2010

MACON, Ga. (Jan. 9, 2010) -- The ETSU men's basketball team will conclude a three-game road streak Saturday afternoon, as the Buccaneers invade Mercer's University Center at 3:30 p.m.

The Bucs, who are now 8-7 overall, 4-0 in Atlantic Sun Conference play, look to remain the only unbeaten team in league play and hold onto first place in the A-Sun. ETSU is also hoping to extend its current three-game winning streak.

ETSU is also defending a perfect record all-time against Mercer, owning an 8-0 mark against the Bears heading into Saturday's game.

For more on Saturday's game, click on the game notes link above or read the game notes below.

 

Buc bits

The ETSU men's basketball team hopes to keep its perfect conference record intact as the Bucs finish up a two-game road swing through Georgia ... The Bucs, 8-7 overall, 4-0 in league play, take on Mercer Saturday in Macon, Ga. ... ETSU is currently 5-1 inside the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center this season, but is just 3-6 on the road this year ... Preseason All Atlantic Sun Conference pick Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.) remains doubtful  for the  Mercer game after having missed the Bucs last six 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 eight of his last 14 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 15.5 points per game, and Tubbs pitching in 13.0 a contest.

 

The series against Mercer

The Bucs put an unblemished series record on the line today as they face the Mercer Bears ... ETSU is 8-0 all-time in the series, which dates back to 1971 ... The Bucs won the last meeting between the

 

Last time against Mercer

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Feb. 28, 2009) - Senior Courtney Pigram (Memphis) set a new ETSU single-game record for 3-pointers on his way to a game high 38 points and fellow senior Kevin Tiggs (Flint, Mich.) pitched in 24 points as the Buccaneers made Senior Day a memorable one with a 103-81 win over Mercer in front of 4,609 fans inside Memorial Center ...  Pigram hit a record 10 3-pointers in the game - with the record-setting shot coming with 6:49 left in regulation - as he moved to 1,972 points for his career. With the win, ETSU (20-10 overall, 14-6 A-Sun) earned the No. 2 seed in next week's Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament and will open that event in the 9:30 p.m. (EST) game Wednesday night against Stetson inside Lipscomb's Allen Arena ... ETSU head coach Murry Bartow pointed out his appreciation of the efforts given by each of the team's three seniors, which included senior Greg Hamlin (Flint, Mich.) ... Senior Day got off to a great start for Pigram and Tiggs, as the duo combined for 41 of the Buccaneers 59 first-half points. Powered by the swarming "black" fullcourt press, the offensive surge was impressive, especially from the 9:11 mark on, when ETSU took a 27-23 game and went on a 32-11 run to close out the half. The Bucs did not allow a Mercer field goal for the final 8:29 of the half ... Pigram finished with remarkable numbers in the half, going 7-of-12 from 3-point range and 9-of-16 from the field for 25 points in the half, while Tiggs tossed in 16. In the half, ETSU shot 58 percent from the field and was 53 percent from 3-point range, while holding Mercer to 39 percent from the floor and forcing 11 turnovers ... The Bucs kept the pressure on in the second half, moving their advantage out to 30 points at 69-39 with 16 minutes left, but Mercer showed some fight at that point, putting together a 16-2 run of its own to cut the ETSU advantage to 71-55 with just over 12 minutes left ... ETSU kept the Bears at bay from there on out, pulling away again and finishing with a 22-point margin. For the game, the Bucs outrebounded Mercer 41-35 and forced 24 turnovers on 13 steals. The Bucs also dished out 15 assists, while shooting 50 percent from the field, 41 percent from the 3-point line and 85 percent from the foul line. ... Junior guard Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.) joined Pigram and Tiggs in double figures with 17 points, while Mercer got a team high 27 from James Florence, 15 from Daniel Emerson and 13 from Michael Ellis ... Along with his new ETSU record, Pigram's 23 attempts from 3-point range set a new A-Sun single-game record, and it matched the mark for most in a single game this season in NCAA action. His 10 makes game up one shy of the conference record of 11, as well as one shy of the most makes in a single game this year in NCAA action.

 

Last time out

KENNESAW, Ga. (Jan. 7, 2010) - Junior forward Tommy Hubbard (Boston) posted his eighth double-double of the season and the ETSU men's basketball team's defensive efforts stymied the Kennesaw State Owls en route to a 63-46 victory in Atlantic Sun Conference action Thursday afternoon at the KSU Convocation Center ... Hubbard finished with a game-high 20 points and 14 rebounds, as the Bucs improved to 8-7 overall and a perfect 4-0 in A-Sun play. Meanwhile, KSU dropped to 5-10, 1-4 after being held to its lowest point total of the season and shooting just 31 percent from the field for the game. ... Along with Hubbard's efforts, the Bucs got double figure scoring from junior guard Justin Tubbs (Trussville, Ala.) with 10 points, while freshman guard Sheldon Cooley (Tampa) dished out six assists. The Owls were led by freshman Markeith Cummings, who finished with 17 points, while LaDaris Green pitched in 12. ... In a rather ugly first half offensively for both teams, the Owls were simply worse and unable to solve the ETSU zone. The Bucs held KSU to a season low 13 points in the first 20 minutes, as the Owls shot just 18 percent (5-of-28) from the floor. ETSU took advantage as Kennesaw sputtered, outscoring the Owls 14-4 in the paint and 12-4 on second chance points to take a 29-13 edge into the break ... Hubbard led the Bucs with 12 points and eight rebounds in the first half, and was the only ETSU player in double figures at the break ... The second half had the same look as the first, with the Bucs building their advantage to as many as 23 points and ultimately winning by 17. A huge edge for ETSU came in the paint, where the Bucs outscored the Owls, 34-18. ETSU also outrebounded the Owls 42-35 and grabbed 14 offensive boards ... ETSU shot 77 percent from the foul line and finished hitting 42 percent from the floor.

 

New-look zone defense powers win streak

Since developing a new, attacking-style zone defense, the Buccaneers have won three straight games ... The stats back up the zone's effectiveness, as ETSU has held opponents to 35 percent shooting from the floor and just 59.3 points per game ... In addition, the Bucs are also outrebounding opponents by more than seven boards a game in that stretch.

 

Smith 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 10.1 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 figures in two of the last fives games, and against Jacksonville he posted a career best six assists ... He has started the last four games at point for the Bucs, helping the Bucs to a 3-1 mark in those games.

 

Hubbard steps up his game, averaging

double-double

Much has been written and reported about junior forward Tommy Hubbard (Boston) and his efforts to improve his offensive game, and those strides have led to some solid numbers ... 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 15.5 points per game and 8.7 rebounds a contest ... while he has posted double-doubles in eight of the last 12 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.

 

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