MACON, Ga. (March 1, 2012) – The ETSU men’s basketball team will be attempting to win its third Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament title in the last four years this week, as the Buccaneers begin play Thursday in the General Shale Brick A-Sun Championships.
The No. 4-seeded Buccaneers will take on No. 5-seeded North Florida beginning at 2:30 p.m., inside the University Center on the campus of Mercer University.
The Bucs, who defeated UNF twice during the 2011-12 regular season, will be looking to avenge its only loss ever to the Ospreys, which occurred during the semifinals of last year’s A-Sun Tournament.
For more on Thursday’s game, click on the game notebook link to the right or read the game notes located below. Fans can also get up-to-the-minute coverage of the entire tournament, by clicking on the official A-Sun Tournament homepage link also located to the right.
For more on ETSU men’s basketball throughout the year, 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 Bucs in the A-Sun Tournament
Entering just their seventh Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament, the Buccaneers are 10-4 all-time and have won seven of their last eight games in tournament play ..Recently, ETSU enjoyed a perfect 3-0 run through the tournament back in 2010 ... The Bucs’ previous trips included a loss in the first round of the event in 2006, advancing to the finals in 2007, falling in the semifinals in 2008, and winning the tournament in both 2009 and 2010 ... In 2011, the Bucs lost to UNF in the semifinals. ... In conference tournaments all-time (including the Southern and Ohio Valley), the Bucs are 40-22, having gone 8-3 in league championship final games.
Bucs hoping to add one more NCAA trip
Having already made nine trips to the NCAA Tournament in its history, the ETSU men’s basketball team would like to add another conference tournament trophy to the case in the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center ... The Bucs’ current stretch of success under head coach Murry Bartow is arguably the second best run in ETSU hoops history ... The most memorable stretch was from 1989 to 1992, when the Bucs made four straight trips to the NCAAS, were ranked in the Top 10 nationally (1991), and defeated Arizona in the NCAA first round in 1992 ... The Bucs only other trip prior to that run came in 1968 ... While head coach Ed DeChellis took the Bucs to the tournament in 2003, Bartow has taken the Bucs to the tournament three times (2004, 2009 and 2010), while also leading ETSU to the 2007 NIT and the 2011 CIT.
Last time out at the A-Sun Tournament
MACON, Ga. (March 4, 2011) - The ETSU men’s basketball team had never lost to North Florida. Unfortunately for the Buccaneers, that is no longer the case. ... Despite struggling offensively throughout the contest and trailing by as many as nine points in the second half, junior guard Adam Sollazzo (Tampa) still had a potential game-tying attempt miss the mark with 20 seconds left and the Bucs fell to North Florida 59-55 in the semifinals of the General Shale Brick Atlantic Sun Conference Championships at Mercer’s University Center. ... The Bucs, who were 11-0 all-time against UNF entering Friday’s game, dropped to 22-11 overall and will now wait to see if there will be another postseason opportunity for them this season. Meanwhile, North Florida improved to 15-18 on the season. ... Senior guard Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.) did all he could to break the Bucs out of their offensive funk, scoring a game-high 20 points. However, it was not enough to overcome a 35.2 percent shooting percentage and hitting on just 12.5 percent from 3-point range. ... UNF ultimately led by five at 55-50 with 2:02 left, but ETSU managed to cut the lead to one at 56-55 with 32 seconds on the clock. After Juene hit one of two free throws, Sollazzo raced to the other end of the floor and put up a shot from in front of the rim, but with 14 seconds on the clock it rimmed out. ... Juene then iced the game with a pair of makes at the free throw line.
The series versus
ETSU and North Florida have met 14 times, with ETSU leading the all-time series 13-1 ... UNF picked up their first and only win over ETSU in the semifinals of last season’s A-Sun Tournament, dropping the Bucs 59-55 ... The Bucs avenged that loss earlier this season, dropping the Ospreys 64-63 on their home floor back on Jan. 16, and then defeating UNF 65-50 in Johnson City on Feb. 11.
Last time out against North Florida
JOHNSON CITY (Feb. 11, 2012) – Senior forward Isiah Brown (Miami, Fla.) scored a career high 27 points and the ETSU men’s basketball team used a 19-0 offensive run in the second half to capture a 65-50 win over North Florida in Atlantic Sun Conference play Saturday afternoon at the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center. ... Brown – whose previous career high was 25 points against Kentucky back in 2010 – was joined in double figures by senior guard Adam Sollazzo (Tampa) with 16 points, while junior guard Sheldon Cooley pitched in 11. ... The Bucs shot 50 percent from the field and out-rebounded the Ospreys 31-23. ETSU also enjoyed a huge advantage in the paint, outscoring UNF 34-18 from close range. ... It was a back-and-forth contest until early in the second half. Leading 35-33, the Ospreys looked on as the Bucs put together a 19-0 run to take their largest lead of the contest at 52-35. From there, UNF could not get any closer than 11.
Last time out
JOHNSON CITY (Feb. 25, 2012) – With its three seniors scoring in double figures and junior guard Marcus Dubose (Hartsville, S.C.) posting a game-high 23 points, the ETSU men’s basketball team made sure 2012 Senior Day was remembered fondly, leading from wire-to-wire and dropping Florida Gulf Coast 84-7 in Atlantic Sun Conference action at the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center. ... Along with Dubose, senior guard Adam Sollazzo (Tampa) scored 19 points on the night and eclipsed the 1,000-point mark for his career thanks to a free throw with 1:09 left in the game. Meanwhile, senior forward Isiah Brown (Miami, Fla.) netted 20 points and senior guard Tommy Hubbard (Boston) pitched in 15. ... For the game, ETSU shot 51 percent from the floor and 54 percent from 3-point range (7-of-13). The Bucs also forced FGCU into 20 turnovers and collected 16 steals on the evening. ... The Bucs threw the first punch, scoring the initial 12 points of the game and never relinquished the lead the rest of the way. FGCU would get as close as nine at 27-18, but ultimately trailed 40-26 at the break. ... After the intermission, ETSU pulled away to hold an advantage of as many as 22 points at 66-43. The Eagles never surrendered the game though, and battled back to make it 78-69 with a minute left in the contest. However, from there ETSU pulled away for the 13-point victory. ... For FGCU, four players reached double figures with Bernard Thompson leading the way with 14 points. The Eagles will be the No. 6 seed in next week’s tournament, taking on No. 3 seed USC Upstate on Thursday evening.
Sollazzo named to 2011-12 All A-Sun First Team
MACON, Ga. (Feb. 27, 2012) – Following a regular season that saw him lead the ETSU men’s basketball team in scoring and assists, while also eclipsing 1,000 points for his career, senior guard Adam Sollazzo (Tampa, Fla.) was named to the Atlantic Sun All-Conference First Team, the league office announced Monday ... Picked in voting by the league’s coaches, Sollazzo scored in double figures 22 times and eclipsed 20 points on five different occasions. He finished the season averaging 15.5 points, 4.4 assists and 5.6 rebounds a game. While he led the team in scoring and assists, he ranked third in rebounding and third in steals (1.7 spg). ... He flirted with a triple-double in multiple games this season, including an impressive individual 19-point, seven-assist, seven-rebound effort against Tennessee back on Dec. 23, as well as another 19-point, eight-assist, and eight-rebound outing against Florida Gulf Coast in the Bucs’ last regular season game on Feb. 25. ...
He finished the year ranked in the A-Sun Top 5 for points (3rd), assists (3rd), steals (4th) and minutes played (4th).
Block party for Brown
With a block in last season’s finale against Iona, senior forward Isiah Brown (Miami, Fla.) set a new school record for blocks in a single season, swatting away a total of 71 shots on the year ... For his career, he is now second on the all-time list with 181 blocks, but is just one behind the program’s all-time leader Zakee Wadood ... In addition to those marks, Brown’s six-block performance against Belmont last year also matched the program’s single-game record ... At the time, Brown joined six other ETSU players who have had six-block games, including former standouts Brad Nuckles, Eryk Thomas, Jerald Fields, Zakee Wadood, Greg Dennis and Greg Hamlin.
Brown, Sollazzo reach 1,000 points; Hubbard comes up short
As they began their seniors seasons, ETSU’s trio of Isiah Brown, Adam Sollazzo and Tommy Hubbard were all eying the 1,000 point mark for their careers ... While Brown and Sollazzo have both reached that mark, Hubbard remains the only senior short of that mark ... He currently stands at 851 points for his career.
Bucs 2nd nationally in steals, Cooley ranked 11th on list
Key to the Bucs’ wins this year has been the ability to swipe the ball from opponents ... Through games of Feb. 26, ETSU ranks No. 2 in the country in steals per game, averaging 10.4 steals a contest ... Meanwhile, junior Sheldon Cooley (Tampa) has been on a torrid pace this season and is a big reason for the Bucs’ success in the steals category, averaging a conference best 2.5 steals per game ... He currently ranks 11th nationally in steals per game. ... The Bucs have four players ranked in the Top 10 among A-Sun Conference players in steals: Cooley (1st, 2.5), Tommy Hubbard (2nd, 2.1), Adam Sollazzo (4th, 1.7), and Isiah Brown (8th, 1.5).
Rembert breaks out
Freshman guard Rashawn Rembert (Tampa), who was recruited for his ability to score the basketball, came off the bench to provide valuable minutes in the Bucs’ win over Kennesaw State (2/4) ... Going a perfect 4-for-4 from the field and 3-for-3 from 3-point range, Rembert netted 11 points for ETSU during a critical stretch midway through the game ... Afterwards, head coach Murry Bartow commented how Rembert was probably the player of the game.
Brown sets new career mark
With his 27-point effort in the win over North Florida, senior forward Isiah Brown (Miami, Fla.) set a new career high for single-game scoring ... Brown, who was honored prior to the UNF game for recently eclipsing 1,000 points for his career, put on an offensive show against the Ospreys ... For the 6-foot-8 senior, it was his best game since netting 25 points against Kentucky in the 2010-11 season opener.
Walton provides valuable minutes off the bench
Having waited patiently for an opportunity to contribute, freshman forward John Walton (Memphis) made the most of his opportunity in the Bucs’ win over Lipscomb (2/20) ... With senior guard Tommy Hubbard (Boston) out with an injury early in the game, Walton came on and set new career marks for minutes played (21), rebounds (3), blocks (3) and steals (4) ... He also pitched in a pair of free throws ... For the 6-foot-8 forward, it was a chance to show what he can bring to the Bucs’ lineup.
Poderis reaches career mark for rebounds -- twice
In recent weeks, junior forward Lukas Poderis (Port Richey, Fla.) has become a truly valuable part of the Buccaneers attack ... In the win over Mercer, Poderis picked up a career high 10 rebounds, and that effort came two days after he matched his career high for points with 14 against USC Upstate ... He rewrote the record books for his rebounding with a new personal best of 11 boards against Stetson (2/23) ... In the win over Kennesaw State, he posted another nine-rebound effort ... For the year, Poderis is averaging 4.1 points and 4.6 rebounds in 20.3 minutes a game.
Getting to the free throw line a key for the Bucs
In recent years, the Bucs have focused on playing stingy defense, but also driving to the basket on offense and trying to get “tough” points thanks to fouls ... One way for the ETSU coaching staff to determine how successful the Bucs have been is charting free throw attempts and makes ... Well if this statistic is a true indicator, then the Bucs did just as the coaches would like ... Last season, ETSU set a school record for free throw attempts, putting up a total of 856 free tosses ... The Bucs also made their share of those attempts, ranking second on the all-time list with 580 makes ... The 2010-11 edition of the Bucs came up just nine makes short of the all-time record, held by the 1991-92 Bucs at 589. ... This season, after starting out the year shooting poorly from the foul line, the Bucs are have improved those numbers and are now shooting 64 percent for the year as a team.
Bucs add to postseason resume
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
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.