|March 28, 2016||1st||2nd||Final|
|Stats at a Glance||ETSU||TECH|
|FG Percentage||.435 (30-69)||.414 (29-70)|
|3P FG Percentage||.379 (11-29)||.364 (8-22)|
|FT Percentage||.739 (17-23)||.567 (17-30)|
HOLDEN - 1
BOYKINS - 1
MCCREE - 1
LAS VEGAS (March 27, 2016) – For the 14th time in school history, the ETSU men’s basketball team will participate in postseason basketball, as the Buccaneers open play in the quarterfinals of the inaugural Vegas 16 Tournament Monday evening against Conference USA opponent Louisiana Tech.
Tip against the Bulldogs is set for 11:30 p.m. (EST) at Mandalay Bay, and the game will air live on the CBS Sports Network. Fans can also listen live to the Buccaneer Sports Network broadcast of the game on any of the network’s affiliated stations.
First-year head coach Steve Forbes has made good on his promise of having ETSU play important games in the month of March, as the Bucs – who are 23-11 on the year and have won 18 of their last 23 games – advanced to the finals of the Southern Conference Tournament earlier this month. The Bucs also finished with a national RPI in the mid-80s, which ranks among the Top 25 percent of Division I teams throughout the nation.
Meanwhile, Louisiana Tech ended the year at 23-9 overall.
For more on Monday’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 postseason, 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.
Bucs add to postseason resume
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 also made two appearances in the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament (CIT) in 2011 and 2014 ... With this trip to the Vegas 16, the Bucs will have reached postseason play 14 times in program history.
The series for Lousiana Tech
The Bucs are 1-1 all-time against Lousiana Tech, having played the Bulldogs during the 1973-74 and 1976-77 seasons ... ETSU won the Dec., 29, 1973 matchup 82-70, but dropped a 78-72 contest on Dec. 29, 1976.
ETSU and Louisiana Tech football connection
While this will be the third meeting on the hardwood between ETSU and Lousiana Tech, the Bucs and Bulldogs also met in the most historic football game in ETSU history ... The Bucs defeated the Terry Bradshaw-led La. Tech team 34-14 in the 1969 Grantland Rice Bowl in Baton Rouge, La., which was one of four regional title games played in the Collegiate Division of the NCAA back in that era ... That 1969 ETSU team posted a 10-0-1 record for the only undefeated season in school history. ... The Bucs sacked Bradshaw multiple times in that game and also intercepted a pair of passes from the future NFL Hall of Famer and multiple Super Bowl champion.
Last time out
ASHEVILLE, N.C. (March 7, 2016) – Down 12 points at halftime, the No. 2 seeded ETSU men’s basketball team fought valiantly to within one point of No. 1 seed Chattanooga in the second half, but the Buccaneers’ fell short in their bid for a 10th trip all-time to the NCAA Tournament, falling 73-67 to the Mocs in the finals of the Southern Conference Tournament inside the U.S. Cellular Center. ... Trailing 38-26 at halftime, the Bucs pulled to within one possession on multiple occasions in the second half. However, with the score 62-57 and four minutes left in regulation, ETSU junior guard T.J. Cromer (Albany, Ga.) attempted a 3-pointer and believed he was fouled on the play. Instead, after a no call, Cromer was assessed a technical foul, and in the wake of that play, Forbes was also called for a second technical. Chattanooga hit three of the four technical free throws, building their lead to 65-57 and the Mocs never looked back. ... For the game, UTC went 26-of-31 from the foul line compared to a 6-of-13 clip for the Bucs. ETSU was also whistled for 25 fouls compared to 16 for the Mocs. ... The Bucs were led by a game-high 14 points from sophomore guard Desonta Bradford (Humboldt), while Cromer scored 13 and senior guard Ge’Lawn Guyn (Lexington, Ky.) added 11. For Chattanooga, Greg Pryor and Tre’ McLean each had a team-high 13 points. ... The first half did not go well for the Bucs, who led 9-8 but then watched Chattanooga use a 10-0 run to take a 21-13 advantage with 9:27 left before the break. The UTC lead grew to 12 moments later and stayed there at half as the Mocs left the floor up 38-26. ... UTC out-rebounded the Bucs 21-13 in the first half and shot 50 percent from the field and 89 percent from the foul line (8-of-9). Meanwhile, ETSU struggled offensively, shooting 37 percent from the field and 33 percent from 3-point range. ... In the second half, ETSU surged back into the game thanks to a 12-2 run midway through the half that was powered by six straight points from junior forward A.J. Merriweather (Jackson). Despite even getting to within one at 50-49, the Bucs were never able to gain a lead in the second half. ... The Bucs defensive effort was much better in the second half, as they held the Mocs to 32 percent shooting from the floor and a 23.1 percent clip from beyond the arc. ... For the game, the Mocs out-rebounded the Bucs 37-33, but ETSU outscored UTC in most other statistical categories, including points in the paint (30-20), points off turnovers (18-2), fast break points (11-5 and bench points (32-19). ... The Bucs are now 3-3 all-time against Chattanooga in SoCon final games, and dropped to 32-20 all-time in the league tourney.
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 12 months later and the Bucs are well into the Forbes’ era and have enjoyed quite a successful season ... 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.
Guyn, Cromer earn All-SoCon from coaches/media
ETSU senior guard Ge’Lawn Guyn (Lexington, Ky.) and junior guard T.J. Cromer (Albany, Ga.) earned All SoCon honors from both the league’s coaches and the Southern Conference Sports Media Association. ... Guyn, who currently leads the Buccaneers and is second in the SoCon with 18.2 points per game, was selected to the coaches’ team and the media’s first-team squad. Meanwhile, Cromer, who ranks second on the squad with 15.0 points per game, was also selected to the coaches’ team and was named to the media’s second team. ... Both players also earned All SoCon Tournament honors, along with sophomore guard Desonta Bradford (Humboldt).
SoCon first-teamer Ge’Lawn Guyn doing it all for Bucs
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 ... In all, Guyn has made game-deciding plays in the final seconds of nine of ETSU’s 23 wins this season ... Heading into the Vegas 16 Tournament, Guyn leads the team in scoring (18.2 ppg), is second in blocks (0.8), steals (1.0) and rebounding (3.7), and is fourth in assists (1.7 apg).
Three-point streak for Bucs dates back nearly 30 years
Since Feb. 16, 1987 in a game against Davidson, the Bucs have made at least one 3-pointer in 893 consecutive games. ... ETSU was 0-for-8 in that 1987 game. ... The Bucs currently rank as the 7th longest streak in the NCAA.
Bello to compete in College Slam Dunk championships on ESPN
ETSU senior guard Deuce Bello (Greensboro, N.C.) has been selected to compete in the 28th annual State Farm College Slam Dunk & 3-Point Championships at the Berry Center in Cypress, Texas on March 31. ... Bello is one of eight men’s college basketball players chosen for the event that will air live on ESPN at 9 p.m. (EST). He was invited to take part in the Slam Dunk Championship after being recognized among the nation’s finest slam dunk performers. Bello continues a proud tradition of ETSU players competing in the Slam Dunk Championships. In fact, ETSU great Calvin Talford (Tazewell, Va.) won the event back in 1992 and former Buc Justin Tubbs (Trussville, Ala.) competed in the event in 2011.
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.
Cromer has met expectations in first year at ETSU
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 and is leading the team with 3.1 assists per contest ... Earlier this year, 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’ win over Western Carolina (2/15), 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. ... In fact, Bradford scored 15 of 23 points for ETSU during one a decisive stretch during the second half. ... Both players have continued to play well throughout the end of the season, including Bradford making the SoCon All Tournament team after averaging over 12 poitns and three assists per game during the Bucs three-game showing in the event.
Bucs “bank”ing on production from junior Isaac Banks
Junior forward Isaac Banks (New Orleans, La.) has definitely stepped up his production this season ... In fact, he 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 evidence 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 6.2 rebounds per game.
Dishing out the assists
As the Bucs adjusted and learned the new offensive system of first-year head coach Steve Forbes throughout the year, the “buy-in” started 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.
Powering up in the Paint
Rebounding concerns weighed on the Buccaneers earlier this season, but during conference play 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 ... Then, the Bucs out-rebounded The Citadel 58-36 on Feb. 18 ... In the Bucs’ 23 wins this season, the team holds an overall +3.3 rebound advantage, compared to a -7.4 margin in their nine losses.
Forbes and company revamp Bucs’ lineup for 2015-16
The Bucs added a wealth of talent to their roster this year with players like Division I senior transfers Ge’Lawn Guyn (Lexington, Ky.) from Cincinnati and Deuce Bello (Greensboro, N.C.) from Missouri … 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.