January 30, 20161st2ndFinal
Stats at a GlanceETSUFUR
FG Percentage.390 (23-59) .500 (26-52)
3P FG Percentage.320 (8-25) .273 (6-22)
FT Percentage.727 (16-22) .842 (16-19)
Offensive Rebounds1110
Defensive Rebounds1829
Total Rebounds2939
Bench Points2310
PointsT.J. CROMER - 22
Stephen Croone - 21
ReboundsDEUCE BELLO - 7
Matt Rafferty - 10
AssistsT.J. CROMER - 3
Stephen Croone - 3
Daniel Fowler - 3
Matt Rafferty - 1
Geoff Beans - 1
Larry Wideman - 1
Matt Rafferty - 1
Daniel Fowler - 1
Kris Acox - 1
Kendrec Ferrara - 1
ETSU men look to bounce back Saturday at Furman
Head coach Steve Forbes and the Buccaneers are just a half-game back of first place in the SoCon despite a loss Thursday night at Wofford.
ETSU men look to bounce back Saturday at Furman
Friday, January 29, 2016

GREENVILLE, S.C. (Jan. 29, 2016) – Having won eight of its last 10 games but coming off an 87-73 road loss at Wofford on Thursday night, the ETSU men’s basketball team will be looking to get back on track Saturday afternoon when the Buccaneers travel to face Southern Conference rival Furman in Greenville, S.C.

Tip is set for 4 p.m., and the game will air on ESPN3 as well as the Buccaneer Sports Network’s radio and audio streaming outlets.

The Bucs, who will enter the game at 13-8 overall, 6-2 in SoCon play, dropped into sole possession of second place in the conference standings after the loss to the Terriers, and are a half-game back of Chattanooga for first place. Meanwhile, the third-place Paladins enter the game a half-game back of the Bucs at 6-3 in league play and are 12-10 overall.

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

SPARTANBURG, S.C. (Jan. 28, 2016) – With a defensive effort that held the ETSU men’s basketball team to a season low three 3-pointers and using a 28-7 offensive run to close out the first half, the Wofford Terriers dropped the Buccaneers 87-73 Thursday evening inside Benjamin Johnson Arena. ... With the loss, the Bucs dropped to 13-8 overall, 6-2 in Southern Conference play, while Wofford improved to 9-12, 5-3. It was only the second loss for ETSU in its last 10 games. ...

The Bucs did play well in the early going, building a 21-16 advantage over the first 12 minutes of game play. However, at that point, the game seemed to turn after ETSU failed to grab a defensive rebound and Wofford’s Jaylen Allen was fouled after making a 3-point shot. While Allen missed the free throw, the ball was rebounded once again by Wofford’s Ryan Sawvell, who then scored to give the Terriers a five-point swing on one possession, making it 21-21. ... The Terriers used that sequence to launch what would become a 28-7 run over the final eight minutes of the half and ended with Wofford leading 44-28 at the break. ... After the intermission, the Bucs scored seven straight points and cut the lead to 12 at 47-35, but ETSU’s defensive effort was still lacking as the Terriers answered with its own offensive run and ultimately moved back ahead by as many as 21 at 70-49 with 8:15 left in regulation. ... ETSU battled back with a full-court press defense and got to within 11 at 81-70 with 1:56 left, but that would be as close as the Bucs could get to the Terriers. ... A bright spot for ETSU was the play of sophomore guard Desonta Bradford (Humboldt), who finished with a career high 17 points on 7-of-9 shooting from the floor. Meanwhile, senior guard Ge’Lawn Guyn (Lexington, Ky.) finished with a team-high 18 points, while both seniors Lester Wilson (Knoxville) and Petey McClain (Mobile, Ala.) had 10 points apiece. ... For Wofford, guard Spencer Collins scored a game-high 24 points, while forward Justin Gordon netted 15, guard Eric Garcia pitched in 12, and guard Fletcher Magee added 10.


The series vs. Furman

The Bucs and Paladins have a long history dating back to 1962, with most of the games played during ETSU’s previous tenure in the SoCon ... In all, the Bucs lead the series 25-24 ... The Bucs won the last meeting 66-59 back on Feb. 14, 2015 in Johnson City.


Last time out against Furman

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Feb. 14, 2015) – Playing without the services of several key contributors, freshman Desonta Bradford (Humboldt) took the opportunity to give ETSU fans a glimpse of the future. ... Bradford hit a pressure-packed 3-pointer and scored seven straight points down the stretch, lifting the ETSU men’s basketball team to a 66-59 win over Furman in Southern Conference play Saturday afternoon at Freedom Hall. ... The Bucs were without senior guard Jalen Riley (Racine, Wis.) and sophomore guard Devin Harris (Tampa, Fla.). Riley missed the game to attend his grandmother’s funeral back home in Milwaukee, while sophomore guard Devin Harris (Tampa, Fla.) suffered a knee injury in pregame warm-ups. The Bucs played even more short-handed when sophomore post Isaac Banks (New Orleans) fouled out early in the second half. ... Bradford finished the game with 12 points – nine of which came in the final five minutes of play. Meanwhile, Wilson had a team-high 20 points and seven rebounds, while Merriweather and Rembert added 18 and 14 points, respectively. ... The Bucs finished the game shooting 48.8 percent from the floor, collecting 14 assists and forcing Furman into 14 turnovers. Furman was led offensively by a game-high 29 points from guard Devin Sibley, while post Kris Acox had a double-double effort with 17 rebounds and 14 points.


Bucs playing well inside Freedom Hall this season

Having posted a 9-1 record at home this year, the ETSU men’s baskteball team has shown a propensity to play well inside Freedom Hall ... A look at the team’s home statistics show the Bucs shooting 49 percent from the floor and 40 percent from 3-point range as a team, while out-rebounding opponents 399-358 and posting an impressive scoring margin of +15.1 ... Individually, several Bucs having enjoyed playing in Freedom Hall ... In particular, senior guard Ge’Lawn Guyn (Lexington, Ky.) has shot 51 percent from both the field and 3-point range, and is averaging 19.7 points per game at Freedom Hall ... In addition, junior guard T.J. Cromer (Albany Ga.) is shooting 50 percent from the floor, while senior forward Lester Wilson (Knoxville) has posted a 44 percent clip from 3-point range at home.


SoCon POTW Ge’Lawn Guyn doing it all for Bucs

The reigning SoCon player of the week for Jan. 19-25, senior guard Ge’Lawn Guyn’s game-winning shots at Georgia Tech (11/22) and at home in the Bucs’ win over Mercer (1/21) are just two of the most obvious indictations of the play and leadership he has displayed so far at ETSU ... Heading into the Wofford matchup, Guyn leads the Bucs in scoring (17.4 ppg), blocks (0.8 bpg) and steals (1.1), and is third in rebounding (3.9 rpg) and assists (2.0 apg) ... In the Bucs’ wins over UNC Greensboro, Mercer and The Citadel, Guyn made several clutch shots, including game-saving baskets in regulation and game-winning scores in overtime.


Cromer meeting expectations, earns SoCon POTW

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 15.8 points per game and is leading the team with 2.9 assists per contest ... Recently, Cromer hit the game-winning shot against UNC Greensboro (1/9), scoring 20 points and dishing out a career high six assists ... He then followed up that performance with a game-high 23 points and tied the school record for 3-point field goal percentage in a game with a 6-of-7 effort (.875) from outside the arc in the win over VMI (1/11) ... He also score a game-high 19 points in the win over Samford (1/14) and 20 in the win over Mercer (1/21) ... These numbers also helped lead Cromer to earning SoCon Player of the Week honors for the week of Jan. 5-12.


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 ... Most recently, he posted a double-double with 11 rebounds and a career high 20 points in the win over The Citadel (1/23) ... He also had a career high 14 rebounds in the win over Mercer (1/21), a double-double effort of 12 points and 12 rebounds in the win over N.C. Central (1/4), and a 10-point, seven-rebound showing in the win over Western Carolina (1/2) are showing that Banks’ output may be a trend and not a fluke ... In the Bucs win over Samford (1/14), Banks had 11 points and nine rebounds ... For the year, Banks is averaging 6.4 points and a team-high 5.8 rebounds.



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 an eight-game stretch from 12/30 to 1/21, the Bucs enjoyed an efficient offensive approach, dishing out a total of 114 assists, for an average of 14.2 assists per game during that time. ... Prior to those eight outings, ETSU had averaged just over 12 assists per game. ... The team dished out a season-high 19 assists against Western, followed by 16 against N.C. Central, and 18 each in wins over UNCG and VMI.


Wilson waking up offensively, eyes 3-point record

It was a slow start to the year for senior forward Lester Wilson (Knoxville), but fortune has taken a turn for the veteran player in recent games ... Scoring 77 points in his last seven games, Wilson is averaging 11.0 points per contest and has hit 19 3-pointers in that span, regaining an opportunity to become the program’s leader in 3-point baskets ... With a total of 245 makes from Wilson finds himself 31 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 was averaging just 1.0 3-pointer a game prior to his last five outings ... Now, his average has moved up to 1.7 a game ... He would have to average 3.1 makes during the remainder of the regular season to catch Pigram on the all-time list.


Powering up in the Paint

Rebounding concerns weighed on the Buccaneers earlier this season, but in recent games the Bucs have appeared to make significant strides on the glass ... In particular, ETSU dominated the paint in the 88-51 win over VMI, outrebounding the Keydets 46-26 ... In that game, the Bucs held a 33-21 on the defensive glass and a 13-5 advantage on the offensive boards ... In the Bucs’ 13 wins this season, the team holds an overall +4.8 rebound advantage, compared to a -7.6 margin in their six losses.


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.


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 880 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.


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.


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.) … 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.