January 09, 20161st2ndFinal
UNCG394483
ETSU404686
Stats at a GlanceUNCGETSU
FG Percentage.477 (31-65) .528 (28-53)
3P FG Percentage.417 (10-24) .600 (15-25)
FT Percentage.733 (11-15) .625 (15-24)
Offensive Rebounds95
Defensive Rebounds2628
Total Rebounds3533
Turnovers910
Steals22
Bench Points730
LeadersUNCGETSU
PointsFrancis Alonso - 21
GE'LAWN GUYN - 28
ReboundsRJ White - 7
PETEY MCCLAIN - 6
AssistsDemetrius Troy - 7
T.J. CROMER - 6
PETEY MCCLAIN - 6
StealsDemetrius Troy - 1
Francis Alonso - 1
ISAAC BANKS - 1
T.J. CROMER - 1
BlocksRJ White - 1
Lloyd Burgess - 1
Demetrius Troy - 1
LESTER WILSON - 1
ETSU men to debut
The ETSU men's basketball team will debut new gold uniforms on Saturday against UNC Greensboro.
ETSU men to debut "new look" Saturday against UNC Greensboro
Friday, January 8, 2016

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Jan. 8, 2016) – Returning home for a pair of Southern Conference games, the ETSU men’s basketball team will try to keep its current three-game winning streak intact when UNC Greensboro visits at 4 p.m. Saturday inside Freedom Hall.

The Buccaneers, who now stand at 8-6 overall, 1-0 in SoCon play, have enjoyed wins over Morehead State, Western Carolina and North Carolina Central in their last three games. Meanwhile, the Spartans enter Saturday’s matchup at 5-10 overall, 1-1 in league play.

In their last two games, the Bucs have appeared to be adjusting to first-year head coach Steve Forbes’ style and philosophy. In those two games, the Bucs combined to dish out 35 assists, held both opponents to low shooting percentages, and even outrebounded N.C. Central by a 42-32 margin.

For more on Saturday’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

DURHAM, N.C. (Jan. 4, 2016) – Junior forward Isaac Banks (New Orleans, La.) posted a double-double effort and sophomore guard Desonta Bradford (Humboldt) made clutch plays down the stretch, as the ETSU men’s basketball team dropped North Carolina Central 72-68 in non-conference play inside McDougald-McLendon Gymnasium. ... With the win, ETSU improves to 8-6 on the year, while N.C. Central drops to 5-10. This was the final non-conference game of the regular season for the Bucs. ... While Banks finished with 12 points and 12 rebounds, teammates T.J. Cromer (Albany, Ga.) and Ge’Lawn Guyn (Lexington, Ky.) also posted 12 and 11 points, respectively. As a team, the Bucs out-rebounded the Eagles 42-32 on the evening and dished out 16 assists on 25 made field goals. ... Despite all those team numbers, it was Bradford’s individual effort down the stretch that proved to be the game-deciding factor. ... First, Bradford was fouled while going hard to the basket with 2:49 left and the score just 63-61 in favor of ETSU. The player that committed the foul, Dante Holmes, was then called for a technical foul following the play. The result was two made free throws by Cromer on the technical and another two makes from Bradford on the original play, which pushed the score to 67-61 in favor of the Bucs. ... Bradford then grabbed a pair of steals in the closing minutes to thwart two Eagle possessions, and later – after a 3-pointer by the Eagles made it 71-68 with just seconds remaining – Bradford hit one of two free throws to give the Bucs their final four-point advantage at 72-68.

 

The series vs. UNC Greensboro

The Bucs hold an 12-9 lead in the all-time series against the Spartans, having won the last meeting between the programs 65-62 back on Feb. 12, 2015 in Greensboro, N.C.

 

Last time out against UNC Greensboro

GREENSBORO, N.C. (Feb. 12, 2015) – It may not have been pretty at times, but somehow, someway the ETSU men’s basketball team got it done. ... Despite being outscored 30-7 during one stretch in the middle of the game, the Buccaneers never relented, methodically battling back and overcoming a 12-point second half deficit to down UNC Greensboro 65-62 in Southern Conference hoops action at the Greensboro Coliseum. ... Utilizing a smaller lineup and going to its pressure defensive package seemed to energize the Bucs midway through the second half, as ETSU rallied from a 42-30 deficit to pick up the victory. The Bucs were led by a game-high 21 points from senior guard Jalen Riley (Racine, Wis.), while sophomore guard Devin Harris (Tampa, Fla.) finished with 13 points and 10 rebounds for his third career double-double effort. ... After Riley made a pair of free throws and then hit a 3-pointer to make it 63-58 with 2:30 left in the game, the Bucs still had to hold on for the win. With the game 63-62 in favor of ETSU, senior guard Rashawn Rembert (Tampa, Fla.) was fouled and hit a pair of free throws to make it a 65-62 contest. UNCG had two opportunities to hit a 3-pointer in the final 10 seconds, but both shots missed the mark. ... In the first half, the Bucs played a solid 15 minutes and led by as many as 11 at 23-12. During that stretch, ETSU controlled the glass and held a 19-12 rebounding on the boards at halftime. ... However, after struggling with their outside shooting early in the game, the Spartans began connecting from the outside over the last five minutes of the half, scoring on six straight possessions. In the end, UNCG enjoyed an 18-5 run that included five straight 3-pointers and a four-point play on the final long range shot of the burst. When the smoke cleared, the Spartans took a 30-28 lead into the locker room. ... It didn’t get any better for the Bucs in the early going of the second half, as UNCG outscored ETSU 12-2 in the first eight minutes and led 42-30 with 12 minutes left in the game. In all, the Spartans outscored the Bucs 30-7 over 18 minutes of game play covering two halves. ... However, at that point Riley hit a pair of free throws to make it 42-32 and from there the Bucs went on a 15-5 run to tie the game at 47. It was a back and forth game at that point before Riley went on a 10-2 run on his own, capped by the 3-pointer that made it 65-62.

 

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 UNC Greensboro matchup, Guyn leads the Bucs in scoring (17.2 ppg), blocks (0.9 bpg) and steals (1.2 spg) ... He is also third in assists (2.4 apg), and fourth in rebounding (3.7 rpg).

 

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 ... He has lived up to that billing, and is currently second on the team with 15.0 points per game. ... Cromer scored a career high 25 points in the Bucs’ win over Morehead State (12/30), and in the Bucs’ win over Eastern Kentucky, he showed a balanced offensive attack with 22 points, five assists, seven rebounds and eight free throws. ... In ETSU’s last two outings -- both wins -- Cromer scored a team-high 16 points in a win over Western Carolina and team-high 12 in the win over N.C. Central

 

Bucs “bank”ing on production from junior Isaac Banks

In recent games, junior forward Isaac Banks (New Orleans, La.) had definitely stepped up his production ... With a double-double effort of 12 points and 12 rebounds in the win over N.C. Central (1/4), Banks showed that his 10-point, seven-rebound showing in the win over Western Carolina (1/2) may be a trend and not a fluke ... For the year, Banks is averaging 5.9 points and a team-high 5.2 rebounds per game, but he is averaging 11 points and 9.5 rebounds in his last two outings.

 

Dishing out the assists

As the Bucs adjust and learn the new offensive system of first-year head coach Steve Forbes, the “buy-in” is starting to show up on the stat sheets ... In ETSU’s last two games against Western Carolina and N.C. Central, the team has combined for an impressive 35 assists ... The team dished out a season-high 19 assists against Western, followed by 16 in the win over Central ... For the year, the team is averaging 12.9 assists per contest, but averaged 17.5 a game in its last two outings.

 

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 873 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.

 

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 ... Wilson recently passed ETSU legend Keith “Mister” Jennings for sole possession of third place on the all-time list with 226 makes from beyond the arc ... Wilson finds himself 50 makes behind the program leader Courtney Pigram (Memphis), who had 276 3-pointers during his career from 2005-09 ... Wilson has averaged 70 makes a year during his previous three seasons at ETSU, but is averaging just over one a game this year.