January 14, 20161st2ndFinal
ETSU404181
Samford383977
Stats at a GlanceETSUSAM
FG Percentage.518 (29-56) .534 (31-58)
3P FG Percentage.391 (9-23) .333 (4-12)
FT Percentage.636 (14-22) .550 (11-20)
Offensive Rebounds98
Defensive Rebounds2625
Total Rebounds3533
Turnovers2014
Steals711
Bench Points3017
LeadersETSUSAM
PointsT.J. CROMER - 19
Darius Jones-Gibson - 17
ReboundsISAAC BANKS - 9
Iman Johnson - 8
AssistsT.J. CROMER - 6
Christen Cunningham - 7
StealsGE'LAWN GUYN - 3
Marcus Johnson - 3
BlocksPETER JURKIN - 3
Jamal Shabazz - 1
Dakota Quinn - 1
ETSU men hit the road for two-game SoCon trip
The Buccaneers have been all smiles of late, having won five games in a row and sitting atop the SoCon standings at 3-0.
ETSU men hit the road for two-game SoCon trip
Wednesday, January 13, 2016

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (Jan. 13, 2016) – Having risen to first place in the Southern Conference standings, the ETSU men’s basketball team will try to defend its position on a two-game road trip this weekend, starting Thursday night as the Buccaneers travel to face SoCon foe Samford at 8 p.m. inside the Pete Hanna Center.

The Buccaneers (10-6 overall, 3-0 SoCon) are riding high with a five-game winning streak, while Samford is 10-7 overall, but just 1-3 in league play.

Along with clutch play from multiple players, another key to the Bucs’ success in recent games has been a more efficient and unselfish style of play on offense. The team has combined for a total of 71 assists over the last three games, an average of 17.8 assists per game. Prior to those four outings, ETSU had averaged just over 12 assists per game.

In addition, the Bucs’ rebounding numbers have improved a great deal recently, as ETSU out-rebounded VMI in its last game an impressive 46-26.

For more on Thursday’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. (Jan. 9, 2016) – Junior guard T.J. Cromer (Albany, Ga.) connected on a game-winning 3-pointer with eight seconds left to lift the ETSU men’s basketball team past UNC Greensboro 86-83 in a hard fought Southern Conference battle inside Freedom Hall. ... While Cromer’s 3-pointer ignited a bolstrous ETSU crowd of 3,078 fans, his shot was just one of a program record-tying 15 threes made by the Buccaneers on a night that saw ETSU’s perimeter shooting outlast the strength and efficiency of UNCG’s post players. ... Though Cromer finished as a hero with 20 points on 3-of-5 shooting from 3-point range and a game-high six assists, teammate and senior guard Ge’Lawn Guyn (Lexington, Ky.) kept the Bucs in the contest throughout the second half with several clutch shots down the stretch and finished with a career-high 28 points on six made 3-pointers. Meanwhile, senior forward Lester Wilson (Knoxville) came off the bench to go 5-of-9 from behind the arc and scored 17 points, while senior point guard Petey McClain (Mobile, Ala.) matched Cromer’s game-high six assists, including the decisive pass on the final play. ... In the final minutes of the game, it was clearly a battle of ETSU’s outside shooting against UNCG’s post players. Behind the play of junior post Kayle Locke – who scored the final 10 points of the game for the Spartans – UNCG held a lead of four points twice in the final three minutes of regulation. However, the Bucs responded with 3-pointers on four straight possessions, with one from Wilson, two from Guyn, and the game-winner from Cromer.

 

The series vs. VMI

The Bucs and Keydets have met 55 times in a series that dates back to 1953, with the Bucs holding a 44-11 advantage all-time ... The Keydets snapped a nine-game losing streak to the Bucs last season thanks to an 85-79 win over ETSU back on Jan. 17, 2015.

 

Last time out against VMI

LEXINGTON, Va. (Jan. 17, 2015) – A season high 25 turnovers and poor offensive execution doomed the ETSU men’s basketball team inside Cameron Hall, as the Buccaneers fell to Southern Conference foe VMI 85-79. ... Despite playing without their leading scorer QJ Peterson – who was announced as having left VMI for a medical furlough prior to the game – the Bucs were unable to take advantage of the Keydets’ personnel issues. For the game, the Bucs shot just 36 percent from the floor and were out-rebounded 55-48 on the glass. ... ETSU (10-6 overall, 5-3 SoCon) led by as many as 14 in the second half, but watched as VMI used a 19-3 run to take a four-point deficit at 68-64 and lead 83-71 with 55 seconds left in the game. With the win, the Keydets (7-12, 3-5) snapped a nine-game losing streak to ETSU, picking up their first win over the Bucs since 1999. ... From the outset the Bucs’ offensive rhythm was disrupted by the Keydets’ swarming full-court defense. ETSU’s guards struggled to even get the ball up the floor and those issues resulted in 13 turnovers before the intermission, as well as a 32 percent shooting percentage from the field. ... Despite those offensive troubles, the Bucs still managed to keep the game tied at 32-32 by the intermission. This was in part due to the fact the Keydets were equally inept on the offensive end, as they played for the first time this season without Peterson. ... For the Bucs’ offense, the start of the second half looked much better than the first half. ... Opening with a 13-0 run powered in part by two 3-pointers from senior guard Rashawn Rembert (Tampa, Fla.) and one from junior forward Lester Wilson (Knoxville), ETSU built a 45-32 lead in just two minutes of play. The Bucs’ advantage grew to 14 at 49-35 before VMI responded with its own 11-0 spurt to make it 49-46 with 14 minutes left in regulation. ... The game stayed close for the next nine minutes of game play and ETSU was leading 68-64 at the 5:03 mark. However, at that point the VMI pressure again stymied the Bucs, helping the Keydets manufacture a 19-3 run over the next four minutes to ultimately lead 83-71 with one minute left in the contest.

 

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 VMI matchup, Guyn leads the Bucs in scoring (17.9 ppg) and blocks (0.9 bpg), is second in steals (1.1 spg), and is third in assists (2.2 apg) and rebounding (3.7 rpg). ... In the Bucs’ last game against UNC Greensboro, Guyn made several clutch shots and finished with a career high 28 points.

 

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 15.3 points per game. ... Most recently, Cromer hit the game-winning shot against UNC Greensboro (1/9), scoring 20 points and dishing out a career high six assists. ... 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.

 

Bucs “bank”ing on production from junior Isaac Banks

In recent games, junior forward Isaac Banks (New Orleans, La.) has 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 5.1 rebounds per game.

 

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 three games against Western Carolina, N.C. Central and UNC Greensboro, the team has combined for an impressive 53 assists ... The team dished out a season-high 19 assists against Western, followed by 16 in the win over Central, and 18 in the victory over UNCG ... For the year, the team is averaging 12.9 assists per contest, but averaged 17.7 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.

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 231 makes from beyond the arc ... Wilson finds himself 45 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 1.4 a game this year.

 

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 874 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.