|February 20, 2016||1st||2nd||Final|
|Stats at a Glance||ETSU||MER|
|FG Percentage||.481 (26-54)||.458 (27-59)|
|3P FG Percentage||.500 (14-28)||.412 (7-17)|
|FT Percentage||.688 (11-16)||.722 (13-18)|
- 32||Jordan Strawberry
- 7||Stephon Jelks
- 7||Jordan Strawberry
- 3||Phillip Leonard
DESONTA BRADFORD - 2
Ethan Stair - 1
MACON, Ga. (Feb. 20, 2016) – The ETSU men’s basketball team will play its final road game of the regular season on Saturday, as the Buccaneers visit Southern Conference rival Mercer at 4:30 p.m. inside the University Center.
The Bucs, who are 18-10 overall, 11-4 in SoCon play, will be looking to maintain their second place position in the league standings. Meanwhile, the Bears have struggled in recent outings and have fallen to fifth place in the league at 18-10, 8-7.
The game will air live via web streaming on ESPN3.com and the Watch ESPN App, and the Buccaneers Sports Network will also have the live radio feed on its affiliated stations. Across the region, the Bucs’ flagship radio station is AM 640 WXSM, and the game can also be heard on FM 104.9 NASH Icon. In addition, ETSUBucs.com will provide a live audio stream of the contest.
For more on the Mercer 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.
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
CHARLESTON, S.C. (Feb. 18, 2016) – With the top two scoring teams in the Southern Conference facing off Thursday night at McAlister Fieldhouse, one may have expected a shootout. Instead, the ETSU men’s basketball team put together a defensive gem. ... Holding The Citadel 20 points below its lowest point production of the season and 37 points below its scoring average – which leads the country at 88.1 points per game – the Buccaneers rolled to a defensively impressive 67-51 win over the Bulldogs. ... Individually, the Bucs got a career high 18 rebounds and a double-double effort thanks to 10 points from junior post Isaac Banks (New Orleans, La.), while junior guard T.J. Cromer (Albany, Ga.) and senior guard Deuce Bello (Greensboro, N.C.) netted 17 and 15 points, respectively. ... With the win, the Bucs improved to 18-10 overall and 11-4 in SoCon play. Meanwhile, The Citadel dropped to 10-18, 3-12. ... The game ended with a truckload of lop-sided statistics for the Bucs, who out-rebounded the Bulldogs 58-36, held a 26-3 advantage in second chance points, and outscored The Citadel 28-14 in the paint. ETSU also held the Bulldogs to just 27.9 percent shooting from the floor and a 17 percent clip from 3-point range. ... The Citadel was stymied by the Bucs’ defense early and often in the first half. ETSU held the Bulldogs to just 27 percent shooting from the floor and only 2-of-12 from 3-point range, outrebounding The Citadel 32-18 prior to the intermission. That defensive effort resulted in a solid half for the Bucs, who finished the first 20 minutes with a 33-23 lead on the Bulldogs’ home floor. ... After the break, The Citadel showed some life offensively early in the second half, outscoring ETSU 9-2 to cut the Bucs’ lead to 37-34 with 16 minutes left in regulation. However, at that point the Bucs’ defense clamped down again, holding the Bulldogs scoreless over the next five minutes of game play and pulling back ahead by 11 at 46-35. ... While The Citadel once again cut the Bucs’ lead to four at 52-48, Banks responded with four straight points and Cromer followed with five straight to power a 9-3 run for the Bucs and make it 59-48 with less than four minutes left in the game. ETSU was not threatened the rest of the way. For the Bulldogs, Quayson Williams and Derrick Henry were the only players to reach double figures with 11 points apiece.
The series vs. Mercer
The Bucs lead the all-time series over Mercer 14-8 ... The majority of the past 22 matchups were played over a nine-year span from 2005-2014, as the two teams were previously members of the Atlantic Sun Conference ... The Bucs won the last meeting between the two teams 65-63 in overtime back on Jan. 21, 2016.
Last time out against Mercer
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Jan. 21, 2016) – Trailing by eight points late in the second half, the ETSU men’s basketball team forced overtime and senior guard Ge’Lawn Guyn (Lexington, Ky.) connected on a game-winning shot with 2.6 seconds left on the clock to give the Buccaneers a dramatic 65-63 win over the Mercer Bears Thursday evening inside Freedom Hall. ... Guyn finished with 18 points, while junior guard T.J. Cromer (Albany, Ga.) posted a game-high 20. In addition, junior forward Isaac Banks (New Orleans, La.) had a career high 14 rebounds and senior guard Deuce Bello (Greensboro, N.C.) finished with three game-changing blocks to go with his impressive defensive play. The Bucs had 10 steals and forced 14 Mercer turnovers, while tying the Bears 37-37 on the boards. ... ETSU certainly needed some heroics, as the Bucs struggled in the first half, posting their lowest output of the year with only 23 points. Those numbers allowed the Bears to lead 27-23 at the break. ... After the intermission, the game stayed close until a 16-8 Mercer run made it 54-46 in favor of the Bears with 4:56 left in regulation. At that point, the Bucs rallied as Cromer and Guyn combined to score 9 of the Bucs’ last 11 points to finish on an 11-3 run and force the extra period with a 57-57 score. ... Guyn had also tied the game in regulation with a fall-away jumper with 28 seconds left, leaving Mercer with a chance to win the game on the last shot. However, the Bucs defense forced the Bears’ Jestin Lewis into a tough 3-point shot that missed the mark. ... In the extra period, Guyn opened the scoring with another basket and senior forward Lester Wilson (Knoxville) followed with a 3-pointer to give the Bucs a 62-59 lead. However, Mercer battled back to tie the game at 63 following Demetre Rivers’ offensive rebound and put back with 1:14 left. ... After the Bucs came up empty on the next possession, it was Bello’s block of a Phillip Leonard shot with 24 seconds left in overtime that set up Guyn’s decisive shot. After a timeout, Guyn let the clock roll down to eight seconds and then drove to the left of the lane, ultimately hitting a fade-away floater to win it.
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 UTC matchup, Guyn leads the the Southern Conference in scoring (17.7 ppg), while also leading the team in blocks (0.8 bpg) and steals (1.1), and is third on the squad in rebounding (4.0 rpg), and assists (1.8 apg) ... In multiple games this season, Guyn has 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 15.3 points per game and is leading the team with 3.1 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).
Bradford, Bello becoming “game changers” for Bucs
In the Bucs recent win over Western Carolina, both sophomore guard Desonta Bradford (Humboldt) and senior guard Deuce Bello (Greensboro, N.C.) showed a great deal of development and potential ... Bello took advantage of his second start this season to set or match career highs for points (20) and rebounds (7), while Bradford posted a career high with 18 points, while also grabbing six rebounds and dishing out four assists ... In fact, Bradford scored 15 of 23 points for ETSU during one stretch in the second half that proved to be the difference in that game.
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 most recently posted a double-double with 10 points and a career high 18 rebounds in the win over The Citadel (2/18) ... He also had 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 6.6 points and a team-high 6.7 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 103 points in his last 14 games, Wilson is averaging just under 9.0 points per contest and has hit 30 3-pointers in that span, regaining an opportunity to become the program’s leader in 3-point baskets ... With a total of 256 makes from Wilson finds himself 21 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 1.8 a game.
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 ... Most recently, the Bucs out-rebounded The Citadel 58-36 on Feb. 18 ... In the Bucs’ 18 wins this season, the team holds an overall +5.7 rebound advantage, compared to a -7.6 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 887 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.
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, along with four junior college transfers and two incoming high school prospects.
Bucs playing well inside Freedom Hall this season
Having posted a 10-2 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 462-430 and posting an impressive scoring margin of +32.0 ... Individually, several Bucs having enjoyed playing in Freedom Hall ... In particular, senior guard Ge’Lawn Guyn (Lexington, Ky.) has shot 51 percent from the field and 49 percent from 3-point range, and is averaging 20.5 points per game at Freedom Hall ... In addition, junior guard T.J. Cromer (Albany Ga.) is shooting 49 percent from the floor, while senior forward Lester Wilson (Knoxville) has posted a 43 percent clip from 3-point range at home.