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Bad weather forces changes in ETSU basketball schedule

Kelly Hodge • Jan 29, 2014 at 5:47 PM

The heavy dose of winter weather in the South this week has forced East Tennessee State to take a step back with its home basketball schedule.The Bucs were supposed to host Mercer, the Atlantic Sun Conference leader, Thursday in the Dome, but that game has been pushed back to Friday night at 7. The Bears are 8-1 in the conference and have won seven in a row; they’re three games up on the Bucs in the loss column. Meanwhile, the Kennesaw State game originally scheduled for Saturday will now be played Sunday at 2.USC Upstate, the only conference team the Bucs have yet to see this season, was supposed to be in town Monday night to finish a five-game homestand. That game has now been postponed and will be rescheduled at a later date.A broad swath of the South, including the Atlanta metro area of which Mercer and Kennesaw State are a part, was virtually brought to a standstill Tuesday by ice and snow.Kennesaw State was supposed to play Upstate in Spartanburg tonight before traveling to Johnson City. That contest has also been reset for Friday night.———ETSU is planning a festive evening on national signing day to celebrate its first football recruiting class in more than a decade.Head coach Carl Torbush and assistants Billy Taylor and Teddy Gaines will host a ceremony at the Millennium Center next Wednesday. It begins with a meet-and-greet at 5 p.m., followed by the announcement of signees at 5:30.The coaches will discuss the new commitments – more than 40, counting walk-ons, could be on the list – and talk about the future of ETSU football.This class of players will redshirt and then be ready to go next year as the Bucs gear up for a September 2015 start.The public is invited to attend Wednesday’s event. There is no charge.———The women’s basketball team is trying to find some sort of consistency as it wraps up the first half of its A-Sun schedule this week in Florida.The Lady Bucs (6-12, 2-5) play tonight at Jacksonville and then Saturday at North Florida. They have yet to win back-to-back games in the new year.Coach Brittney Ezell’s team was poised to do so last Saturday, leading Mercer by five with three minutes left, but it ended up with a 57-52 loss. The Bears scored seven of the game’s last nine points.The going doesn’t figure to get any easier tonight.Jacksonville (8-10, 5-2) currently stands fourth in the A-Sun. The Dolphins built a five-game win streak before losing to league leaders Florida Gulf Coast and Stetson on the road.They’re now back at home, where they’re 5-0 this season.———The men’s tennis team is seeing some different parts of the country this winter -- and some pretty stiff competition.The Bucs have faced four nationally ranked programs in their first five matches. They haven’t managed to beat any of them but haven’t gone down easily either.They lost to Oklahoma State 4-2 and Arkansas 4-3 last weekend in Stillwater, Okla. Previously, the Bucs fell at Wake Forest 5-3 and at Tennessee 5-2.This weekend they’ll be in the Northeast for matches at Dartmouth and Yale.The Bucs got off to a strong start against Arkansas by taking the doubles point. They then got straight-sets singles victories from freshmen David Biosca, at No. 1, and Ismael Merino, at No. 4, but it wasn’t quite enough.“I hate that we’re having to learn the hard way, but in every success story there’s a little bit of pain,” said coach Yaser Zaatini. “We are a little better than our record shows.”ETSU won’t play a home match until Appalachian State visits on March 4. The conference schedule begins here 10 days later against Florida Gulf Coast.The Bucs have won seven straight A-Sun championships.———The track and field athletes get back to business this weekend after a two-week pause in the indoor schedule.The Bucs will compete Friday and Saturday at the Hilton Garden Invitational in Winston-Salem, N.C., hosted by Wake Forest. It’s the same JDL Fast Track venue where the Atlantic Sun championships will be conducted on Feb. 21-22.The ETSU teams haven’t competed since hosting the Niswonger Invitational. Miler Simeon Roberts and pole vaulter Brett Squibbs earned weekly A-Sun honors for their efforts in that meet.———Men’s golf opens its spring schedule on an iconic track next week in Florida.The Bucs are in the field for the fifth annual Sea Best Seafood Invitational on the TPC Stadium Course at Ponte Vedra. It’s a 54-hole event, with two rounds on Monday and the final one on Tuesday.The 16-team field includes nine in the top 100 of the latest Golfstat.com rankings. Tennessee (No. 50) is the defending champion.

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