Bucs, Ospreys to meet in A-Sun semifinals Friday night
Senior Mike Smith had a career high 29 points in the Bucs' last game against UNF.
Senior Mike Smith had a career high 29 points in the Bucs' last game against UNF.

Friday, March 04, 2011


MACON, Ga. (March 4, 2011) -- Continuing its quest for a third straight Atlantic Sun Conference title, the ETSU men's basketball team will take on North Florida Friday in the semifinals of the General Shale Brick Atlantic Sun Conference Championship at Mercer's University Center. Tip is set for 9 p.m. and the game will air on regional cable courtesy of CSS.

The Buccaneers (22-10) advanced to the semifinals by surviving a scare from No. 7 seed Campbell 54-53 in the quarterfinals on Wednesday night. Meanwhile, No. 6 seed North Florida earned its spot in Friday's game by upseting No. 3 seed Jacksonville on Thursday afternoon.

For more on ETSU men's basketball and its continued run in the A-Sun Tournament, read the game notes below or click the game notes link above.

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 sixth Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament, the Buccaneers are 10-3 all-time and are currently on a seven-game winning streak in tournament play ... Most recently, ETSU enjoyed a perfect 3-0 run through the event a year ago en route to a second straight conference title and trip to the NCAAs ... 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 conference tournaments all-time (including the Southern and Ohio Valley), the Bucs are 40-21, 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 of the tournament 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.

 

The series versus North Florida

ETSU and North Florida have met 11 times, with ETSU a perfect 11-0 ... The Bucs won the last meeting between the two schools last month, winning 75-53 in Johnson City, Tenn. ... The two teams have never played in A-Sun Tournament action.

 

Last time against North Florida

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Feb. 13, 2011) - Senior guard Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.) scored a career high 29 points in a double-double effort, and his fellow classmates enjoyed a victorious Senior Day as the ETSU men's basketball team cruised to a 75-53 win over North Florida in Atlantic Sun Conference play inside the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center. ... In the 2010-11 home finale for the Buccaneers, Smith and fellow seniors Micah Williams (Manchester), Justin Tubbs (Trussville, Ala.) and De'Shaud Johnson (Riverdale, Ga.) were all in the starting lineup and blitzed out to a 28-11 lead. ... While Smith finished with 29 points and 11 rebounds to pick up his 14th career double-double, junior Isiah Brown (Miami, Fla.) netted 18 points, and Williams pitched in 15. As a team, the Bucs shot 46 percent from the floor and held UNF to 33 percent from the field - and just 19 percent from 3-point range. ... The Bucs forced 16 UNF turnovers and ETSU shot an impressive 19-of-21 (91 percent) from the free throw line.

 

Last time out

MACON, Ga. (March 2, 2011) - Senior Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.) made a game-saving steal with three seconds left and scored a game-high 24 points, as the ETSU men's basketball team survived a major scare and dropped Campbell 54-53 during quarterfinal play in the General Shale Brick Atlantic Sun Conference Championship at the University Center. ... In a one-point game with just seconds remaining, Campbell's senior guard Junard Hartley dribbled into the lane while attempting to make a game-winning play. Smith, the 2011 Atlantic Sun Conference Player of the Year, came from behind Hartley and stole the ball away to save the victory. ... Leading by as many as 15 points in the second half, the Bucs were not able to put Campbell away and looked on as the Camels ultimately cut the lead to 54-53 on a pair of free throws from Rico Ferguson. The Bucs had possession of the ball with 35 seconds left and were attempting to milk the clock when sophomore guard Sheldon Cooley (Tampa) committed an offensive foul away from the ball. That set up Campbell's final attempt to win the game, but Smith wouldn't allow it. ... For the game, Smith finished with 24 points and six rebounds, and was the only ETSU player in double figures. Meanwhile, Campbell's Eric Griffin led the way with 16 points, while Amir Celestin and Martell Jackson had 10 points apiece. ... ETSU struggled to get comfortable in the first half, hitting on just 7-of-18 shots from the field and committing 10 turnovers before the intermission. Campbell took advantage and led by as many as four at 16-12 with just over nine minutes left before the break. ... The Buccaneers did respond, using a 16-of-18 clip from the free throw line to ultimately go on a 9-3 run in the final two minutes and lead 31-24 at the break. Smith had 10 points in the first half to lead all scorers, while sophomore forward J.C. Ward (Marietta, Ga.) came off the bench to score five points and grab a pair of rebounds. ... In the second half, ETSU rediscovered its offensive rhythm early on and used a 10-2 run to build a 41-26 advantage with 14:23 left in the game. However, Campbell did not go away and quickly produced an 14-3 run of its own to cut the lead back to four at 44-40 with eight minutes on the clock. ... During the Campbell run, the Achilles heel for the Bucs was their foul shooting. After doing so well at charity stripe in the first half, the Bucs hit on just two of its first eight free throws in the second half. Ultimately, Smith scored 10 of the Bucs final 12 points and got the play of the game with his steal in the final seconds.

 

Bucs get first win in the 50s

Entering Wednesday's quarterfinal matchup with Campbell, the Bucs were 0-5 this season in games which they scored in the 50s ... That ended against the Camels, as the Bucs held on for a one-point win 54-53.

 

Smith named A-Sun POTY, Williams second team

The Atlantic Sun Conference office announced Tuesday that senior guard Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.) was a unanimous pick as the 2010-11 Atlantic Sun Conference Player of the Year, while fellow senior guard Micah Williams (Manchester) was a second team pick ... Smith becomes the ninth ETSU players all-time to win a conferenc POTY honor, and he is the fourth player to do so under head coach Murry Bartow ... He joins former Bucs Zakee Wadood (2004), Tim Smith (2006) and Courtney Pigram (2007) to win the honor under Bartow's direction ... This year, Smith led the Bucs in points (16.9 ppg), while finishing second in rebounds (6.9 rpg) ... Meanwhile, Williams finished second on the team with 14.9 points per game, and the 2010 A-Sun Tournament MVP posted 24 double-figure scoring efforts.

 

Brown making a name as a "blocking machine"

With his six-block performance against Belmont, ETSU junior forward Isiah Brown (Miami, Fla.) matched the program's single-game record ... He since picked up four blocks in the win over Campbell, giving him 64 for the season and ranking him third on the ETSU all-time single season block list ... Brown joins 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. ... He is currently two back of Zakee Wadood for second on the single season list ... Wadood also holds first place on that page, with 70 during the 2003-04 season.

 

Buccaneers place two plays on Sportscenter

The ETSU men's basketball team is making a habit of garnering airtime on ESPN Sportscenter's Top Plays. ... Just three weeks ago, senior Justin Tubbs (Trussville, Ala.) was selected as the No. 1 play of the day with his 360 degree slam dunk against Lipscomb on Jan. 21 in the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center. Well, the Buccaneers took it a step further against Jacksonville, placing two plays in the Top 10 and once again taking No. 1 ... Senior Micah Williams (Manchester) threw down a one-handed, alley-oop. That play was picked fourth in the countdown. ... Meanwhile, Tubbs again took the show after receiving a pass from junior guard Adam Sollazzo (Tampa). ... Tubbs again executed the same 360-degree slam with even more flair. The Sportscenter hosts described it as a Winter X Games style dunk.

 

Williams eclipses 1,000; Smith moving up list

While senior Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.) was already a member of the 1,000-point club, fellow senior Micah Williams (Manchester) joined his roommate on the list against Kennesaw State (1/29) ... With a 3-pointer from the left wing at the 17:55 mark of the second half, Williams went over 1,000 for his career, becoming the 33rd ETSU player all-time to reach that number ... Meanwhile, Smith joined another select group by eclipsing 1,500 points for his career in the win over USC Upstate (1/25). Here is where they stand:

Name Place Points

Mike Smith No. 7 1,689

Micah Williams No. 33 1,141

 

Sollazzo rolling in last 22 games for ETSU

Junior guard Adam Sollazzo (Tampa) has really found his rhythm in the last 22 games, leading the team with 4.3 assists per game, and ranking third on the team with 11.8 points per game ... He has netted double figures in 13 of those 22 games ... In those contests, Sollazzo is shooting an impressive 84-of-159 from the field for a 53 percent clip ... he is also averaging 3.5 rpg in this stretch ... The Bucs are 18-4 in this span.

 

Smith's 20/20 vision leads Bucs over FGCU

With his 20-point and 20-rebound effort against Florida Gulf Coast on Jan. 8, 2011, senior guard Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.) made history ... According to the statistics available to the ETSU media relations office, Smith was the first Buccaneer since Feb. 14, 1959 to post a 20/20 effort ... The last was Buc great Tom Chilton, who scored 35 points and grabbed 25 rebounds in a win over Wofford during the 1959 season.

 

Bartow gets wins No. 250 overall and 150 at ETSU; ranks among best coaches in last five years

With his team's win over Florida Gulf Coast on Jan. 8, ETSU head coach Murry Bartow picked up his 250th career victory ... He then collected his 150th win at ETSU when the Bucs downed Jacksonville on Jan. 15 ... When looking at coaches across the country, ETSU head coach Murry Bartow stands among a select group ... Of those coaches that have been at their current school for at least five years, only 24 have averaged better than 20 wins a season ... That list includes coaches such as Dayton's Brian Gregory, Syracuse's Jim Boeheim, UConn's Jim Calhoun, Florida's Billy Donovan, Michigan State's Tom Izzo, Duke's Mike Kryzewski, Louisville's Rick Pitino, Kansas' Bill Self, Maryland's Gary Williams and North Carolina's Roy Williams ... The list also includes Bartow, who is average 20.2 wins a year since 2005-06.

 

ETSU in conference finals

The Buccaneers have played in 10 previous tournament finals and hold an impressive 7-3 mark ... The following is a breakdown of those games:

1983 -- vs. Chattanooga, 70-62 (L)

1989 -- vs. Marshall, 96-73 (W)

1990 -- vs. Appalachian State, 96-75 (W)

1991 -- vs. Appalachian State, 101-82 (W)

1992 -- vs. Chattanooga, 74-62 (W)

1993 -- vs. Chattanooga, 86-75 (L)

2003 -- vs. Chattanooga, 97-90 (W)

2004 -- vs. Chattanooga, 78-62 (W)

2007 -- vs. Belmont, 67-94 (L)

2009 -- vs. Jacksonville, 85-68 (W)

2010 -- vs. Mercer, 72-66 (W)

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