Bucs take unblemised A-Sun mark on the road to USC Upstate
Junior guard Micah Williams had a team high 17 points in the win over Jacksonville
Junior guard Micah Williams had a team high 17 points in the win over Jacksonville

Sunday, January 03, 2010

SPARTANBURG, S.C. (Jan. 4, 2010) -- After a 14-day break from action, the ETSU men's basketball team will look to stay perfect in Atlantic Sun Conference play when the Buccaneers meet the USC Upstate Spartans inside the G.B. Hodge Center Monday afternoon. Tip is set for 2 p.m.

The Bucs, 6-7 overall, 2-0 in A-Sun play, will look to shake off any post-holiday rust after finishing the 2009 calendar year with a 93-70 trouncing of preseason A-Sun favorite Jacksonville back on Dec. 21 inside the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center.

ETSU continues to play without the services of preseason All A-Sun pick Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.), who continues to deal with nagging injuries. Even so, the Bucs are finding multiple answers on the floor, with both upper classmen and newcomers filling the void, and helping put the Bucs back on top in the league.

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

 

Buc bits

The ETSU men's basketball team returns from a 14-day holiday break to return to Atlantic Sun Conference action Monday afternoon at USC Upstate ... The Bucs, 6-7 overall, 2-0 in league play, are coming off an impressive 93-70 win over preseason A-Sun pick Jacksonville in their last game on Dec. 21 ... ETSU is now 5-1 inside the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center this season, but are just 1-6 on the road this year ... Preseason All Atlantic Sun Conference pick Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.) remains doubtful  for the  USC Upstate game after having missed the Bucs last four 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 seven of his last 12 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 14.8 points per game, and Tubbs pitching in 14.2 a contest.

 

The series against USC Upstate

The Bucs are 4-0 all-time against the Spartans, which includes a  66-61 road win over Upstate in their last meeting back on Feb. 19, 2009 ... ETSU and Upstate just began playing regularly when the Spartans moved up to Division I during the 2007-08 season.

 

Last time against USC Upstate

SPARTANBURG, S.C. (Feb. 19, 2009) - Junior guard Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.) eclipsed the 1,000-point mark with a free throw late in the game and senior forward Kevin Tiggs (Flint, Mich.) matched his career high with 32 points as the ETSU men's basketball team snapped a three-game losing streak and remained in the thick of the Atlantic Sun Conference title hunt with a 66-61 win over USC Upstate inside the G.B. Hodge Center ... Smith, whose 1,000th point came on a critical free throw with 2:06 left in the game, finished with 20 points and 11 rebounds for his sixth double-double of the season and the seventh of his career ... An unusual first half was highlighted by Tiggs' fantastic play, as the senior scored 23 of ETSU's 29 points and helped power a 17-2 run to close out the first 20 minutes, giving the Bucs a 29-20 advantage at the break ... In the first half, the Bucs shot just 41 percent from the floor and trailed by as many as nine points at 14-5 with 11:25 before the break. However, from there the Spartans did not hit another field goal until the final second of the half and were outscored 24-6 over the final 11 minutes of the half. The Spartans finished the first half shooting just 27 percent from the floor and were 0-of-10 from the 3-point line ... Upstate certainly didn't stay cold in the second half, going on an 11-4 run to make it 33-31 with 16:45 left in the game. The Spartans later tied the game at 48-48 and then took the advantage at 54-53. However, with the score 57-56 in favor of ETSU at the 3:50 mark, the Bucs got a pair of free throws and a layup from Smith. Later on, Tiggs stole a pass and went coast to coast for the layup to power a 6-0 run and make it 63-56 with 52 seconds left in regulation ... For the game, ETSU committed just 11 turnovers and shot a solid 44 percent from the floor and 70 percent from the foul line. Meanwhile, Upstate scored just 61 points on 40 percent shooting for the game and the Spartans were out-rebounded by the Bucs 38-31.

 

Last time out

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Dec. 21, 2009) - Trailing by five at 27-22 with 6:39 left in the first half, the ETSU men's basketball was able to find its stride offensively and ultimately outscored Jacksonville by 28 points the rest of the game, winning 93-70 Monday evening in a key early season Atlantic Sun Conference matchup at the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center ... A crowd of 3,271 looked on as four ETSU players scored in double figures, while junior forward Tommy Hubbard (Boston) posted his seventh double-double of the season with 15 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Buccaneers' attack ... While Hubbard finished with yet another double-double, junior guard Micah Williams (Manchester) pitched in a team high 17 points, junior guard Justin Tubbs (Trussville, Ala.) tossed in 16, and sophomore guard Jarvis Jones (Memphis) added 14 in the winning effort. Meanwhile, freshman point guard Bruce Grimm (Rochester, Ind.) made just his second career start and responded with six points, six assists and four steals, while turning the ball over just twice ... For Jacksonville, A-Sun preseason player of the year Ben Smith finished with a game high 32 points, while Travis Cohn netted 15 ... Early on, this meeting of regular A-Sun contenders and a rematch of the 2009 league tournament title game looked liked the battle that was expected. Both teams traded the lead in the opening 14 minutes and the Dolphins even pushed out to their largest advantage of the contest at 27-22. However, the Bucs answered that charge by outscoring JU 19-5 to close out the half and lead 41-32 at the break ... After the intermission, the Bucs kept the pressure on and never let up, outscoring the Dolphins 25-12 over the first 10 minutes of the second half, and ultimately holding a lead of as many as 35 at 93-58 with 2:32 left ... ETSU shot 56 percent from the floor and an impressive 48 percent from 3-point range, outrebounded JU 43-24 and forcing 18 Dolphin turnovers on 11 steals. The Bucs outscored the Dolphins 29-8 on second chance points, and also held a 28-14 edge in the paint ... Meanwhile, the ETSU defense held the Dolphins to 39 percent shooting from the floor, but Jacksonville did manage strong numbers from beyond the arc (48 percent) and at the foul line (78 percent).

 

Smith's 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 ... Currently, Williams is one of three Bucs averaging double figures scoring this year with 10.5 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 ... In his last three games, Grimm has scored 11, 12 and six points, respectively, and in his last game against Jacksonville he posted a career best six assists ... He has started the last two games for the Bucs.

 

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 most recently led to being selected A-Sun Player of the Week one week ago ... 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 14.8 points per game and 8.2 rebounds a contest ... while he has posted double-doubles in seven of the last 11 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.

 

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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