East Tennessee State basketball coach Murry Bartow would like to see more of Isiah Brown.
Specifically, he’d like to see more of the senior forward taking the ball to the basket.
“Isiah Brown has gotta get more shots,” Bartow said Friday. “It’s important for our team that he get a lot of shots because he’s a high-percentage guy. We have to do a better job getting him the ball.”
The Bucs will keep working on it tonight when they host Carson-Newman in their final exhibition of the preseason. Tipoff is set for 4 o’clock.
Brown, a fifth-year senior from Miami, has shot 54.9 percent from the field for his career. Last season he ranked sixth in the Atlantic Sun Conference, at 51.4.
The assertion that he needs more shots appeals to Brown.
“You gotta love trying to score the ball,” he said. “It’s what the game is all about and makes it fun. Ever since I came here, I’ve been a high-percentage scorer. With the guys we lost, there are more shots to be taken.”
Brown attempted eight in the team’s first exhibition, a 101-72 victory over Tusculum, and made five. He got in foul trouble and played just 20 minutes.
That certainly figured in the Bucs being outrebounded 42-40 by the Pioneers. They also committed 30 fouls that led to 37 Tusculum free throws.
“Offensively, we scored a lot of points,” said Bartow, “but there were a lot of things we weren’t doing as well. We committed way too many fouls, and our rebounding on both ends was very sub-par. We’ve always been a good offensive rebounding team, but we didn’t see that the other night, and we were pitiful on the defensive glass.
“That’s been a major theme in practice this week.”
The overriding theme, perhaps, has been injuries.
Shooting guard Marcus Dubose, who scored 30 points in his debut, suffered a broken rib in a fall and hasn’t been able to practice this week. Point guard Adam Sollazzo rolled his ankle in practice on Monday and is wearing an orthopedic boot.
Both players will be re-evaluated the first of next week.
“They definitely can’t play tomorrow and we’ll take Sunday off and then see what the doctors say on Monday,” said Bartow. “Both guys are feeling a lot better. We’re hopeful we’ll hear something good the first of the week.”
The news continues a disturbing trend of preseason injuries to key players at ETSU. It seems like at least one is hurting in early November every year.
Last year it was Tommy Hubbard, who limped through four games with knee troubles before redshirting. Two years ago it was Mike Smith.
“I don’t know what to say about that. It’s disappointing,” said Brown. “But other guys are going to get more minutes, so it’s an evaluation time. We have to make the best of it.”
Sheldon Cooley will start at point guard tonight, with Jarvis Jones at shooting guard. The starting frontcourt will include Hubbard, Brown and Lukas Poderis.
The Bucs will be facing a Carson-Newman team that gave Tennessee problems for much of their exhibition matchup Thursday night in Knoxville. The Vols pulled away late to win 73-52, holding the Eagles to four field goals in the second half.
Forward Antoine Davis, with 13 points, was the only C-N player to score in double figures. The Vols held a 51-32 rebounding edge; both teams committed 22 turnovers.
Davis was one of three sophomores in Carson-Newman’s starting lineup Thursday night. Guard Ishmael Sanders is a preseason All-South Atlantic Conference selection but managed just seven points on 3-of-14 shooting against the Vols.
Shane Williams, the former Science Hill and UT standout, is now part of coach Chuck Benson’s staff at Carson-Newman.