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Bucs set to face Tennessee Tech on Homecoming
Friday, November 19, 2010
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 team only added to its rich history of success during the 2009-10 season, capturing its second straight Atlantic Sun Conference Championship and earning the program's ninth trip all-time to the NCAA Tournament ... Posting the program's fourth 20-win season in the past seven years, the Bucs overcame multiple challenges during the season before dropping Mercer in the A-Sun finals ... The Bucs were led by a team of "role" players that included forward Tommy Hubbard (Boston), guard Justin Tubbs (Trussville, Ala.), guard Micah Williams (Manchester), guard Adam Sollazzo (Tampa, Fla.), post Isiah Brown (Miami, Fla.), and post J.C. Ward (Marietta, Ga.) ... Hubbard finished the year as a second team All ASun player after leading the Bucs in both scoring (13.9 ppg) and rebounding (8.2 rpg), and was named to the league's All-Tournament squad ... Meanwhile, Williams finished the year on a tear, scoring in double figures in 11 straight games, including a 32-point effort against Campbell en route to being named the A-Sun Tournament MVP ... Only losing senior guard Jocolby Davis off the roster from 2009-10, the Bucs will add Smith back to the mix after receiving a medical redshirt a year ago, and a trio of incoming recruits will also add to the talent pool ... For those reasons, there is certainly reason to be excited and expectations will be high.
The series versus Tennessee Tech
The Buccaneers and Golden Eagles have a long history, having played as rival members of the Ohio Valley Conference for over two decades ... The two teams have also faced off in multiple non-conference battles, with the Bucs holding a slight 35-33 advantage in the series ... ETSU has won five straight, including a 78-65 victory back during the 2008-09 season.
Last time out against Tennessee Tech
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. (Nov. 24, 2008) - Building a 14-point halftime lead and surviving a second half rally which cut that advantage to just three points, the ETSU men's basketball team picked up a win in its first non-conference road game of the season, downing in-state and former Ohio Valley Conference rival Tennessee Tech 78-65 inside the Eblen Center. ... A short-handed Buccaneer squad - now playing without senior guard Jocolby Davis (wrist/hand) and freshman Seth Coy (foot), who was injured over the weekend when a teammate stepped on his foot in practice - got a game-high 23 points from senior forward Kevin Tiggs (Flint, Mich.), 22 points from senior guard Courtney Pigram (Memphis), and junior guard Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.) picked up his second career double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds to pick up the win. ... While that trio spurred the offensive effort, the Bucs' defense was equally impressive, holding the Golden Eagles to 33 percent shooting from the floor and 22 percent from beyond the 3-point line. On the glass and in the paint, ETSU dominated 42-31 and grabbed 30 defensive boards to just 18 for Tennessee Tech. Offensively, the Bucs hit on 46 percent of their shots and were 78 percent from the foul line. ... But even with the strong statistical numbers, the Bucs still had to battle for the win. ... After getting the lead to 16 on an early bucket by Brown in the opening seconds of the second half, the Bucs were unable to keep the Golden Eagles down. After a basket by Smith made it 46-34 with 16:11 remaining in regulation, Tennessee Tech put together a 10-1 run to make it 47-44 with 11:15 remaining on the clock. However, from there Tiggs scored 10 of his 23 to stop the Eagle run and build the lead back to 13 at 67-54 with 3:34 left on the clock. The Bucs iced the game at the foul line at that point, and never allowed Tech to threaten.
Last time out
MURRAY, Ky. (Nov. 15, 2010) - Suffering through its worst offensive output in well over a decade, the ETSU men's basketball team was unable to upend one of best mid-major programs in the country Monday night, as the Murray State Racers took a defensive battle 50-39 inside the CFSB Center. ... The Bucs' 39 points was the lowest offensive output for an ETSU team since falling 54-40 to Tennessee during the 1996-97 season. ... Indeed, while the offense was struggling, the ETSU defense was a bright spot. The Bucs held what has been a traditionally strong shooting team to a 37.8 percent clip for the game, outrebounding the Racers 39-30, and forcing 16 turnovers. However, the Bucs were equally bad offensively, shooting just 33 percent from the floor, 10 percent from 3-point range, and committing 25 turnovers. ... In the first half, ETSU attempted a 3-2 zone to stymie the Murray State offense, and the plan worked as the Racers managed just four points over the first 12 minutes of game play. However, the Bucs were not exactly efficient on the offensive end either and only led 10-4 at that point. ... The offensive issues ultimately cost the Bucs, as the Racers woke up and managed a 12-0 run over a two-minute stretch to build a 16-10 advantage with just over five minutes left in the half. Senior guard Micah Williams (Manchester) finally ended the Bucs drought - which lasted from the 9:40 mark to the 4:58 point of the half - with a lay up to make it 16-13. Both teams basically traded baskets the rest of the way and Murray State led 22-17 at the break. ... The Bucs were no better offensively in the second half, scoring just 11 points during the first 12 minutes of play and trailing 40-28 with eight minutes left in the game.
ETSU duo chasing 1,000-point mark
While senior Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.) is already a member of the 1,000-point club, two other seniors have outside shots at making it to the group:
Name Current Points
Tommy Hubbard 567
Micah Williams 700
With those point totals, Hubbard would have to average just over 14 points a game this season to reach 1,000, while Williams would need to average 10 points a game to reach the mark.
Defense shines despite offensive woes
While much has been made of the Bucs poor offensive effort against Murray State, the squad's defensive effort was superb and encouraging ... Utilizing a new 3-2 zone, the Bucs held Murray State to just 50 points, which is the second time this "calendar" year the Bucs have held a team to less than 50 -- the last time coming Feb. 25, 2010at North Florida (61-46) ... The Bucs are currently allowing 69 points per game in two contests, but gave up 88 against Kentucky ... Against the Racers, the Bucs also forced 16 turnovers, out-rebounded Murray State 39-30, and held them to 37.8 percent shooting.
Home Sweet Dome
Since the 1996-97 season, the Buccaneers are an amazing 139-45 inside Memorial Center, good for a winning percentage of 77 percent ... The Bucs had won five straight at Memorial Center during the 2006-07 season before a loss to Belmont (1/2) ... The Bucs then rattled off 10 straight at home to stand at 15-1 on the Memorial Center floor that season, but fell to Belmont in the championship of the A-Sun Tourney... In 2007-08, the Bucs were 11-2 at Memorial Center ... In 2008-09, the Bucs were again 11-2 at home, and last year the team was 9-5 at the Dome ... At 0-2 on the year with a pair of road games so far, the Bucs are pleased to be back in their "friendly confines."
Bucs counting on
If the Bucs will be looking for any edge this season, they will find it in the experience department ... All told, the Bucs have 33 years of previous college experience on its 15-man roster, a group that includes players with multiple years of experience, including three fifth-year seniors (Mike Smith, Micah Williams and Justin Tubbs), and a fourth-year junior (Isiah Brown).
Smith happy to be back on the floor with Bucs
One year ago, the Bucs were forced to play all put four games without the services of guard Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.) due to an injury … However, Smith is back and brings his 1,182 career points with him … Without Smith, the Bucs struggled to score points last season (69.3 points per game) and relied heavily on its defensive efforts to win games … This year, the Bucs hope to continue to hold team's down offensively, while returning to their normal "high scoring" ways ... In his return game against Kentucky, Smith netted 15 points.
Sollazzo continues number change in honor of Coy
When ETSU's rising sophomore forward Seth Coy (Montgomery, Ind.) was tragically killed in a car accident during the summer of 2009, 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 junior 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 played the 2009-10 season in honor of his friend ... In addition, the Bucs were a special "43" batch on their uniforms this season in honor of their fallen friend and teammate … Sollazzo and the team have chosen to continue to honor Coy in this manner this season.
ETSU the "only" A-Sun team 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 eight NCAA Tournament trips, one NIT berth, nine 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. The Bucs also were placed ahead of every current member of the Colonial Athletic Association with the exception of Old Dominion ... In addition, the Bucs ranked ahead of SEC schools such as Tennessee, Vanderbilt, South Carolina, Mississippi State, Georgia, Mississippi and Auburn, as well as other major programs such as Virginia Tech, Notre Dame, DePaul, Bradley, Clemson, California and Florida State.