December 30, 20151st2ndFinal
Morehead State215172
ETSU393675
Stats at a GlanceMORETSU
FG Percentage.438 (28-64) .468 (22-47)
3P FG Percentage.300 (6-20) .294 (5-17)
FT Percentage.526 (10-19) .722 (26-36)
Offensive Rebounds2010
Defensive Rebounds2022
Total Rebounds4032
Turnovers1314
Steals78
Bench Points2630
LeadersMORETSU
PointsMOON - 20
T.J. Cromer - 25
ReboundsMARRERO - 10
Isaac Banks - 5
Abednego Lufile - 5
AssistsCOLLINS - 8
Petey McClain - 5
StealsCOLLINS - 4
Deuce Bello - 3
BlocksMARRERO - 3
Nigel Holley - 1
Desonta Bradford - 1
Petey McClain - 1
ETSU men back home to face Morehead State Wednesday at 7 p.m.
The ETSU bench celebrates as the Bucs led Tennessee late in the contest last week in Knoxville.
ETSU men back home to face Morehead State Wednesday at 7 p.m.
Tuesday, December 29, 2015

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Dec. 29, 2015) – After an eight-day break to celebrate the holidays, the ETSU men’s basketball team will return to action at home Wednesday night, hosting non-conference opponent Morehead State inside Freedom Hall at 7 p.m.

ETSU enters the game at 5-6 on the season with a 4-1 record in home games, while Morehead State – a former rival of the Bucs during their time in the Ohio Valley Conference back in the 1960s and 1970s – will bring a 6-5 mark into the contest. The two teams have one common opponent on the season, with the Bucs beating Green Bay at home 103-90 back on Nov. 17, while Morehead State dropped a home contest to the same team 78-72 on Monday night.

This will be the last non-conference home game for the Bucs before beginning Southern Conference play on the road Saturday at Western Carolina.

For more on Wednesday night’s game, read the game notes below or click on the game notebook link to the right. For more on ETSU men’s basketball throughout the 2015-16 season, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the men’s hoops link.

 

Game Notes

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 University 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 Steve Forbes era begins

It seems like only yesterday that Steve Forbes was named the 16th head coach in the history of ETSU basketball back on March 30, 2015 ... But seven months later and the Bucs are ready to begin the Forbes’ era ... Having most recently served two seasons as an assistant coach at Wichita State where he helped take the Shockers to the Sweet 16 in 2014-15, Forbes has been heralded for his recruiting ties and his extensive background as an assistant coach at the NCAA Division I level – which included a five-year stop at the University of Tennessee ... Complete bio information on Forbes can be found at ETSUBucs.com and general coaching records and other statistics are available on Page 2 and Page 5 of this media notes package.

 

Last time out

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Dec. 22, 2015) – For 36 minutes, the ETSU men’s basketball team put itself in position to enjoy a holiday victory over the Tennessee Volunteers. Unfortunately for the Buccaneers, the final four minutes of the game did not go as planned. ... Leading the Vols 65-61 with 4:35 left in regulation, the Bucs looked on as Tennessee closed the game with a 15-2 offensive run to take a 76-67 win over ETSU Tuesday evening inside Thompson-Boling Arena. ... The Bucs got a game-high 22 points from senior guard Ge’Lawn Guyn (Lexington, Ky.), while junior guard A.J. Merriweather (Jackson) pitched in 11. In addition, senior forward Lester Wilson (Knoxville) had his best game of the year so far with nine points and five rebounds in just nine minutes of action. ... Early in the game, Guyn provided the Bucs with their offense, scoring the Bucs’ first 11 points of the contest and helping ETSU stay close at 14-11 with 14 minutes left before the break. ... The Bucs kept the deficit in single digits the rest of the first half, but still trailed 42-33 at the break. However, before leaving the floor, Forbes was called for a technical foul following a brief conversation with an official. That technical would provide inspiration for the Bucs in the second half. ... After Tennessee made one of two free throws on the technical foul, the Bucs found a renewed energy and opened the second half by outscoring the Vols 14-4 to take the lead 47-46 on a thunderous dunk by Deuce Bello (Greensboro, N.C.) with 14 minutes to go in the game. ... Both teams went back-and-forth from there, but with four minutes left back-to-back jumpers by T.J. Cromer (Albany, Ga.) lifted the Bucs to a 65-61 lead. From there, the Vols regained the advantage with a 6-0 run, but a layup by Bello made it 67-67 with two minutes remaining. After trading possessions, UT had the ball with 1:11 left and got guard Detrick Mostella open for a made 3-pointer on the right wing.

Down 70-67, the Bucs designed a play to try and tie the game with a 3-pointer, but a turnover by Guyn led to a dunk by Punter with 39 seconds left. Down five, the Bucs were unable to muster a comeback at that point.

 

The series vs. Morehead State

The Bucs and Eagles have met 53 times, with most of those games being played during ETSU’s time in the OVC ... The Eagles leads the series 28-25 but the Bucs won the last meeting 63-59 last season in Morehead, Ky.

 

Last time out against Morehead State

MOREHEAD, Ky. (Dec. 1, 2014) – Despite losing its starting point guard to an injury early in the game, having its back-up point guard in foul trouble throughout the second half, and shooting just 35.7 percent from the field for the game, the ETSU men’s basketball team still found a way to drop Morehead State 63-59 inside Johnson Arena. ... The Buccaneers can thank junior forward Lester Wilson (Knoxville) and senior guard Jalen Riley (Racine, Wis.) for overcoming all those odds. Wilson made multiple defensive plays down the stretch and hit three straight 3-pointers over the final four minutes to finish with 18 points, while Riley scored a team-high 21 despite playing much of the second half with four fouls. ... Junior guard Petey McClain (Mobile, Ala.) departed the game early in the first half after apparently injuring his left ankle. But fortunately for the Bucs, it was a struggle for both teams offensively before the break. ... ETSU did not have a made field goal until a 3-pointer by Riley with 10:48 left before the intermission, but the Eagles were equally ineffective and allowed the Bucs to stay in the game. ... ETSU’s scoring attack finally found some rhythm midway through the half and managed a 7-0 run to take a 20-14 lead with 5:30 left before the break. However, Morehead State regained the advantage at 21-20 before the Bucs got a layup from sophomore guard Devin Harris (Tampa, Fla.) with 54 seconds left that made it 22-21 at halftime. ... After the break, the Bucs continued to have a hard time scoring the basketball and fell behind by four at 47-43, but after a pair of free throws from Riley, Wilson blocked a shot on one end of the floor and then sprinted to the other end to sink a corner 3-pointer that gave the Bucs a 48-47 lead with 3:20 left in the game. Wilson followed with two more long range bombs, including one that came with 42 seconds on the clock and made it 59-54 and the Bucs never looked back.

 

Ge’Lawn doing it all for Bucs

Senior guard Ge’Lawn Guyn’s game-winning shot at Georgia Tech (11/22) is just the most obvious indictation of the play and leadership he has displayed so far at ETSU ... Heading into the Morehead State matchup, Guyn leads the Bucs in scoring (18.4 ppg), blocks (0.9 bpg), and steals (1.2 spg), is tied for second in assists (2.2 apg), and tied for third in rebounding (3.8 rpg) ... The rebound and block numbers are most impressive considering Guyn plays primarily the point guard position.

 

Cromer meeting expectations as offensive threat

When transfer junior guard T.J. Cromer (Albany, Ga.) joined the Buccaneers, he was touted as a scoring threat and a player that would provide some offensive bunch ... Cromer has lived up to that billing, and is currently second on the team with 14.3 points per game. ... In the Bucs’ win over Eastern Kentucky, Cromer showed a balanced offensive attack, setting or matching career highs for points (22), assists (5), rebounds (7) and free throws (8).

 

Bucs make history with win at Georgia Tech

While ETSU has enjoyed its share of wins over “major” opposition in the past, the Bucs’ win over Georgia Tech earlier this season marked the programs first win over an Atlantic Coast Conference school since defeating N.C. State back in 1991 ... It was also the team’s first win over a “Power 5” Conference team since dropping Arkansas back during the 2009-10 season, and the first win over Georgia Tech since the 1978-79 campaign.

 

Buc bits

It is a new day for the ETSU men’s basketball program, as the Buccaneers welcome first-year head coach Steve Forbes and his assistant coaching staff to the program for the 2015-16 season ... Forbes, a highly successful assistant coach at the Division I level at programs such as Tennessee, Wichita State and Texas A&M, wasted no time revamping the ETSU roster, as the program’s lineup has not seen this much restructuring since the start of the 1997 season ... Returning just six players from last season’s squad, Forbes and company have utilized their vast recruiting ties to bring in 10 new players to the program … This group of 10 will include four transfers from Division I programs such as Cincinnati, Indiana, Missouri and Witchita State, along with four junior college transfers and two incoming high school prospects.

 

 

Three-point streak for Bucs dates back nearly 20 years

Since Feb. 16, 1987 in a game against Davidson, the Bucs have made at least one 3-pointer in 870 consecutive games. ... ETSU was 0-for-8 in that 1987 game. ... The Bucs currently rank as the 7th longest streak in the NCAA.

 

Bucs postseason resume ranks among mid-major bests

The ETSU men’s basketball team has enjoyed its share of postseason success and ranks as one of the nation’s most prestigious basketball programs ... The Buccaneers have earned berths to the NCAA Tournament nine times (1969, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 2003, 2004, 2009, 2010) and NIT twice (1983, 2007) ... The Bucs made their second trip all-time to the CIT Postseason Tournament in 2014, marking the program’s 13th postseason tournament appearance all-time ... In the Bucs first CIT appearance in 2011, ETSU went 2-1 with wins over Furman and Ohio, advancing to the tournament semifinals before losing to Iona in a hard-fought 83-80 contest at the Dome ... In 2014, the Bucs went 1-1, defeating fellow Southern Conference member Chattanooga before falling to Towson in the quarterfinals.

 

Bucs picked 4th; Merriweather named All-SoCon

The ETSU men’s basketball team has been picked to finish fourth in the Southern Conference standings by both the league’s coaches and media, according to the preseason polls released by the league office on Thursday. ... While Chattanooga was tabbed as the preseason favorite to win the league and the Mocs’ Casey Jones was selected as the preseason player of the year, ETSU junior guard A.J. Merriweather (Jackson) was named to the SoCon preseason all-conference team. Coaches were not allowed to vote for their own teams or student-athletes.

 

Returning players to be counted on in ’15-16

As for returning players from last year’s squad who are expected to provide valuable minutes this year, junior forward A.J. Merriweather (Jackson) leads the group after averaging 10.3 points and 6.1 rebounds a year ago, while providing the Bucs valuable defensive skills with a 1.3 steals per contest … Along with Merriweather, the Bucs also return senior forward Lester Wilson (Knoxville), who averaged 12.6 points a game last season, senior guard Petey McClain (Mobile, Ala.), who finished with a team-high 3.1 assists per contest, sophomore guard Desonta Bradford (Humboldt), who averaged 4.1 points per game, and junior forward Isaac Banks (New Orleans, La.), who finished with 2.9 points and 4.9 rebounds a game in limited action a year ago.

 

Newcomers galore for Forbes and company

While Merriweather, McClain, Wilson and Bradford return in the backcourt, the Bucs have also added a wealth of talent at those positions with the addition of a pair of Division I senior transfers Ge’Lawn Guyn (Lexington, Ky.) from Cincinnati and Deuce Bello (Greensboro, N.C.) from Missouri … Both Guyn and Bello completed their degrees at their previous schools, meaning both are eligible to compete immediately at ETSU, and both are expected to play extensive minutes this season … In addition, junior college transfer T.J. Cromer (Albany, Ga.) joins the Bucs after a successful career as a point producer at Columbia State, and true freshman Shemar Johnson (Columbus, Miss.) brings exceptional height to the wing position at 6-foot-6 … In the frontcourt, Banks is the lone returning player but is joined by 7-foot center Peter Jurkin (Juba, South Sudan), who sat out last season with ETSU after transferring from Indiana … Along with those two, the Bucs have also added help for the inside game this season by signing junior college transfers Nigel Holley (Wilmington, N.C.) and Abednego “Benny” Lufile (Burlington, Ontario, Canada), as well as true freshman post Toriano Stokes (Memphis, Tenn.) … Beyond those players that will be eligible this season, the Bucs have also added Indiana transfer Hanner Mosquera-Perea (Istmina, Colombia) and Wichita State transfer Tevin Glass (Greensboro, N.C.) who will miss this season due to NCAA transfer rules.

 

Wilson eyeing program’s 3-point record

Already a 1,000-point scorer, senior forward Lester Wilson (Knoxville) has an opportunity to put his name in the ETSU basketball record books again this season as the most prolific 3-point shooter in school history ... Currently tied for fourth on the career list with 221 makes from beyond the arc, Wilson finds himself 55 makes behind the program leader Courtney Pigram (Memphis), who made 276 3-pointers during his career from 2005-09 ... Wilson has averaged 70 makes a year during his previous three seasons at ETSU, meaning if he can replicate his “average” this year he should have a shot to take the top spot. ... Unfortunately for Wilson, at this point of the season he is averaging just one 3-pointer a game.