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Marcus Dubose was a prolific scorer in junior college, and the East Tennessee State basketball team needs him to return to form.
Dubose averaged 10.8 points a game in his first season with the Bucs. The 6-2 guard was a leader some nights, fairly invisible others.
Now, with three double-figure scorers gone from that team, Dubose is looking to be more like the 23-ppg. scorer he was two years ago at Mendocino Community College in northern California.
“Last year was an adjustment,” he said Wednesday. “I had to get accustomed to a new system, the speed of the game here and just playing at another level. I know for us to beat people this year, I have to be able to score more.”
Coach Murry Bartow wouldn’t argue with that, but he wants to see more than just points from Dubose, one of four seniors on the team.
“Consistency. He’s gotta be more consistent,” said Bartow. “My message to Marcus is, you gotta score the basketball, we need a few more assists and a lot less turnovers, and you need to play good defense, too.”
Dubose, a Hartsville, S.C., native, raised eyebrows in his first outing last fall when he tossed in 30 points in an exhibition win over Tusculum. But he also broke a rib during that game and missed some time.
He was hit or miss the rest of the way, ending up as the Bucs’ third-leading scorer behind Adam Sollazzo and Isiah Brown. Dubose was a 40 percent shooter (28 percent from 3-point range) and had just 15 assists against 63 turnovers.
Now he’s supposed to be a senior leader on a team with six newcomers on the roster.
“Marcus has a tremendous upside,” said Bartow, “but he has to be mentally ready every game. And I have to be sure he’s getting good looks.
“Usually junior-college guys are up and down in year one. Last year there were six or seven times where Marcus scored over 20, and then there were times where he’d go for two or four.”
Dubose will likely be in the starting lineup Saturday when the Bucs host Carson-Newman in their first exhibition.
The Bucs tip off with the Eagles at 4 o’clock in the Dome, after a women’s game between the schools at 1:30.
Bartow said he had not decided on a starting five yet and wanted to see the next two days of practice. Senior guard Sheldon Cooley and junior forward Kinard Gilliard-Gadsden have probably also secured starting spots.
No one in the Atlantic Sun Conference has been able to put the brakes on the Florida Gulf Coast volleyball team this fall. ETSU gets its second chance Friday night.
The Eagles stand atop the league at 14-0, including a 3-0 sweep of the Bucs in Ft. Myers on Sept. 28. ETSU coach Lindsey Devine hopes to see a much better effort from her team in Brooks Gym.
“We just have to get over the fact that it’s Florida Gulf Coast and play with confidence,” Devine said Wednesday. “Sometimes we play young when we meet up with opponents like them. We have to play our style, show a competitiveness and enjoy being in the comforts of Brooks Gym.”
The Bucs (17-10 overall) are 8-5 in the A-Sun and trying to hold on to third place, behind Gulf Coast and three-time defending champion Lipscomb (12-2). Northern Kentucky (8-6) and North Florida (8-7) are on their heels with five matches left in the regular season.
ETSU won at Northern Kentucky, 3-2, its last time out. A home match Tuesday night against Gardner-Webb was cancelled by snowfall in the North Carolina mountains.
The men’s soccer team is trying to secure the No. 2 seed for the conference tournament.
The Bucs (5-2-0) currently stand second as they head to South Carolina Upstate to close the regular season Saturday. Mercer (6-1-0) leads the way, and Florida Gulf Coast (4-1-1) also has just one loss with two matches remaining.
If the Bucs win at Upstate (3-3-0), Gulf Coast will have to win its last two matches to pass them. And it finishes with Mercer, so the Eagles could claim the regular-season title and home field in the playoffs.
Coach Scott Calabrese’s team got a split in Florida last weekend, losing 1-0 at Gulf Coast to snap a five-match unbeaten streak before winning by the same score at Stetson. The former was a disappointing rematch with the team that knocked the Bucs out of the A-Sun tournament on their home field last season.
“We gave up a fluky goal, just misjudged a ball that took a bad bounce and got around our defender,” said Calabrese. “It wasn’t like any goal we’ve conceded this year. I think we were so motivated to beat Florida Gulf Coast that maybe we were just a little too on edge. The guys wanted that game really badly.
“There’s no doubt we’d like to see them again – them and Mercer both.”
The Bears handed the Bucs their other conference loss, 1-0 here on Sept. 28 to start the A-Sun schedule.