February 11, 20161st2nd1OT Final
Samford33461190
ETSU44351594
Stats at a GlanceSAMETSU
FG Percentage.491 (28-57) .500 (32-64)
3P FG Percentage.462 (6-13) .550 (11-20)
FT Percentage.683 (28-41) .760 (19-25)
Offensive Rebounds1210
Defensive Rebounds2323
Total Rebounds3533
Turnovers119
Steals65
Bench Points1526
LeadersSAMETSU
PointsWyatt Walker - 30
Ge'Lawn Guyn - 25
ReboundsWyatt Walker - 8
Jamal Shabazz - 8
Isaac Banks - 9
AssistsDarius Jones-Gibson - 2
Iman Johnson - 2
Christen Cunningham - 2
T.J. Cromer - 6
StealsJamal Shabazz - 2
Petey McClain - 3
BlocksIman Johnson - 2
Isaac Banks - 2
Ge'Lawn Guyn - 2
Bucs open
Thursday night's matchup with Samford is the first of three critical home games for the Bucs this weekend.
Bucs open "Rivalry Week" at home against Samford
Thursday, February 11, 2016

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Feb. 10, 2016) – For the first time in nearly the three weeks, the ETSU men’s basketball team will be back home inside Freedom Hall when the Buccaneers host Southern Conference foe Samford Thursday night at 7 p.m.

The Bucs, who are currently in sole possession of second place in the SoCon standings at 15-9 overall, 8-3 in league play, are opening a critical three-game home stand that will also include matchups with first-place rival Chattanooga on Saturday at 4 p.m. and Western Carolina on Monday at 7 p.m.

Thursday’s game will be available via live web streaming courtesy of ESPN3.com and the Watch ESPN App, while the Buccaneers Sports Network will have the live radio broadcast on its affiliated stations, and ETSUBucs.com will carry the live audio feed of the contest. The Bucs’ flagship radio station is AM 640 WXSM, and the game can also be heard on FM 104.9 NASH Icon.

For more on the Samford matchup, 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.

$500 STUDENT CASH GIVEAWAY

 

Game Notes

Last time out

GREENSBORO, N.C. (Feb. 6, 2016) – Welcome home, Deuce Bello. ... The ETSU men’s basketball team’s senior guard – who grew up in Greensboro, N.C. – scored 10 of the Buccaneers’ final 15 points, helping power a game-defining 15-3 run to close out the contest and give ETSU a remarkable 68-65 comeback win over Southern Conference foe UNC Greensboro inside Fleming Gym. ... The Bucs, who trailed by nine points at 62-53 with 3:36 left in regulation, went to their full-court, pressure defense in the final minutes to secure the win and move to 15-9 overall, 8-3 in SoCon play. Meanwhile, UNC Greensboro dropped to 9-15, 5-6. ... During the final ETSU surge, Bello’s order of scoring plays included a made 3-pointer, a dunk, another made 3-pointer, and another dunk off a miss by fellow senior guard Ge’Lawn Guyn (Lexington, Ky.) that made it 68-65. On the possession prior to Bello’s final dunk, Guyn had given the Bucs the lead thanks to a traditional and-one play as he hit a layup, was fouled, and then sank a foul shot to make it 66-65. ... Bello finished with a game-high 16 points, while junior guard T.J. Cromer (Albany, Ga.) pitched in 11, and both sophomore guard Desonta Bradford (Humboldt) and Guyn finished with 11 points apiece. Guyn played 31 minutes despite suffering from a stomach virus. ... For the game, the Bucs shot 50 percent from the field and 56 percent from 3-point range, and held advantages in most all statistical categories including points in the paint (26-16), points off turnovers (19-7), fast break points (12-4) and bench points (37-17). .

 

The series vs. Samford

The Bucs are 5-1 all-time against Samford ... In a series that dates back to 1979, the Bucs won the first four contests before dropping a home game to the Bulldogs last season ... Earlier this year, ETSU outlasts Samford 81-77 in Birmingham, Ala.

 

Last time out against Samford

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (Jan. 14, 2016) – Despite turning the ball over 20 times and allowing Samford to shoot 53 percent from the floor, the ETSU men’s basketball team made plays down the stretch to win for the sixth straight time, dropping the Bulldogs 81-77 in Southern Conference action at the Pete Hanna Center. ... The Buccaneers were led by three players in double figures, as junior guard T.J. Cromer (Albany, Ga.) posted a game-high 19 points, senior guard Ge’Lawn Guyn netted 17, and senior forward Lester Wilson (Knoxville) pitched in 16 in the winning effort. ... For the game, ETSU shot 52 percent from the floor and out-rebounded Samford 35-33, outscoring the Bulldogs 24-12 in fast break points. However, Samford outscored the Bucs 46-33 in the paint and finished the game with 19 assists to just 14 turnovers. ... In the first half, the Bucs started out hot from 3-point range, as Cromer and Wilson combined to hit four threes in the opening seven minutes of play, as ETSU built a 23-14 lead with 11 minutes left before the break. ... Unfortunately for the Bucs, Samford would not go away and outscored ETSU 12-2 over the next four minutes to take the lead at 27-26. The game remained close throughout the remainder of the half, and the Bucs ended the opening period ahead 40-38 thanks to a layup by Guyn as the clock expired. ... After the break, the Bucs again used four 3-pointers to build a 59-48 lead with 12:18 left in the game. ... Samford rallied to outscore the Bucs 18-6 over the next seven minutes of action to take the lead 67-65. ... The game stayed close throughout the remainder of the contest, but a layup by Guyn with just seconds left made it 79-76. Followed by a defensive stop, the Bucs held on for the win after a pair of free throws from Cromer with 7.4 seconds left. There were 13 ties and 17 lead changes in the game.

 

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.

 

SoCon POTW Ge’Lawn Guyn doing it all for Bucs

The 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 Samford matchup, Guyn leads the Bucs in scoring (17.3 ppg), blocks (0.8 bpg) and steals (1.1), and is third on the team in rebounding (4.0 rpg), and assists (1.9 apg) ... In the Bucs’ wins over UNC Greensboro (twice), 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 ... 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 6.1 points and a team-high 6.2 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 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 89 points in his last 10 games, Wilson is averaging 8.9 points per contest and has hit 23 3-pointers in that span, regaining an opportunity to become the program’s leader in 3-point baskets ... With a total of 249 makes from Wilson finds himself 27 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 eight outings ... Now, his average has moved up to 1.6 a game ... He would have to average a healthy 3.8 makes per game 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’ 15 wins this season, the team holds an overall +4.8 rebound advantage, compared to a -7.8 margin in their nine 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 883 consecutive games. ... ETSU was 0-for-8 in that 1987 game. ... The Bucs currently rank as the 7th longest streak in the NCAA.

 

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.

 

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.

 

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.