December 10, 20161st2ndFinal
East Tennessee State253661
Stats at a GlanceETSUUD
FG Percentage.364 (20-55) .500 (30-60)
3P FG Percentage.389 (7-18) .167 (3-18)
FT Percentage.737 (14-19) .667 (12-18)
Offensive Rebounds78
Defensive Rebounds2631
Total Rebounds3339
Bench Points3020
COOKE - 24
BlocksT.J. CROMER - 1
Bucs face challenge Saturday at Dayton
Junior guard Julian Walters helps anchor a deep ETSU bench that has provided the Bucs depth this season.
Bucs face challenge Saturday at Dayton
Friday, December 9, 2016

DAYTON, Ohio (Dec. 10, 2016) – Facing what may be its toughest three-game road trip of the season, the ETSU men’s basketball team will open this challenging stretch of games Saturday afternoon, as the Buccaneers travel to face Atlantic 10 Conference preseason favorite Dayton at 2 p.m., inside UD Arena.

The Bucs, who enter the game at 7-1 and off to their best start since 1990-91, will face a Flyers team with an equally impressive 6-2 record so far this season. ETSU fans wishing to watch the game on Saturday can do so on television via Fox Sports Southeast or via streaming service courtesy of the Fox Sports Go App. In addition, the Buccaneer Sports Network will have the live radio call of the game on its local affiliated stations such as 640 WXSM-AM and 104.9 NASH ICON-FM.

Channels in the Tri-Cities Region that will carry the game on television depending on individual service plans will include the following: Direct TV (649, 608-2, 660, 661); Charter (37, 306); Comcast (725) and Dish Network (425, 427, 437).

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 2016-17 season, visit 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.


Buc bits

In his first season as head coach of the ETSU men’s basketball program in 2015-16, Steve Forbes wasted little time reinvigorating the Buccaneers’ program with an energetic style of play, an engaging approach with the fan base, and plenty of success on the court … In all, the Bucs finished the with 24 wins – which marks the program’s third highest win total in the modern era – and collected 14 victories in Southern Conference play, which is second only to the 15 collected by the Bucs’ 2003-04 squad … ETSU also reached the Southern Conference Tournament finals, which marked the 12th time the program has played in a conference championship game, and the team also earned a postseason tournament berth for the 14th time with an invite to the inaugural Vegas 16 Tournament … Heading into the 2016-17 season, the Bucs will be losing players such as first-team All-SoCon performer Ge’Lawn Guyn (Lexington, Ky.), 1,000-point club member Lester Wilson (Knoxville), high-flying dunk specialist Deuce Bello (Greensboro, N.C.), and steady point-guard presence Petey McClain (Mobile, Ala.) … Last year, Guyn averaged 18.3 points per game, while Bello and Wilson combined for another 16 points a contest … However, not all of the production from a year ago is gone, as All-SoCon selection T.J. Cromer (Albany, Ga.) returns after averaging 14.9 points and a team high 3.1 assists per game a year ago … In addition, players such as All-SoCon Tournament selection Desonta Bradford (Humboldt), who averaged 7.6 points and 2.9 rebounds a year ago, and veterans like A.J. Merriweather (Jackson) and Isaac Banks (New Orleans, La.) will be back on the court for the Bucs … Post Peter Jurkin (Juba, South Sudan) will also return after a season in which he showed marked improvement throughout and finished averaging 5.3 points and 3.1 rebounds per game … Fans will also get to see two new players on the floor this year that sat out as redshirts a year ago … This duo includes transfers Hanner Mosquera-Perea (Istmina, Colombia) from Indiana and Tevin Glass (Norcross, Ga.) from Wichita State … Perea and Glass are both post players who will quickly add depth and talent in the paint … Along with these eight returning players, the Bucs will also be adding six new recruits to the team, a group that includes a couple of Junior College All-Americans and a great deal of offensive firepower … The class is comprised of guards Devontavius Payne (Carbondale, Ill.), Julian Walters (Madison, Wis.), Jason Williams (Detroit), Jermaine Long (New Orleans) and transfer Kanayo Obi-Rapu (Greensboro, N.C.), along with forward David Burrell (Milwaukee).


The series vs. Dayton

The Bucs are 1-1 all-time against the Flyers, with ETSU having won the last meeting between the two schools 73-68 back on Dec. 1, 2010 ... In that game, the Bucs snapped a 40-game home winning streak against non-conference opponents for the Flyers.


Last time out against Dayton

DAYTON, Ohio (Dec. 1, 2010) - Behind the brilliant offensive performances of senior guards Justin Tubbs (Trussville, Ala.), Micah Williams (Manchester) and Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.), the ETSU men’s basketball team began a month-long road trip in style, handing Atlantic 10 Conference member Dayton its first non-conference home loss since 2005 with a 73-68 win inside the UD Arena. ... Tubbs posted a career-best seven 3-pointers on way to a season high 26 points, while Smith pitched in 17 points and Williams added 16. Smith’s 7-of-8 effort from the foul line in the final 42 seconds iced what was a two-point game at 66-64. ... Dayton (5-2) was held to just 33 percent shooting on the night ... The Bucs raced out to an early 17-3 lead over the first five minutes, as Tubbs and Smith combined to sink three straight 3-pointers and ETSU’s zone defense stymied the Flyers’ offense. However, with the score 22-8,  Dayton woke up in a big way, hitting six straight 3-pointers and holding the Bucs scoreless during an 18-0 run that made it 26-22 with 7:24 left before the intermission. ... The Flyers went on to hit two more of their nine first half 3-pointers and led by as many as nine with 4:14 left before the break, but the Bucs managed to claw their way back in it thanks to another pair of 3-pointers from Tubbs to make it 38-33 at the half. At this point, Williams took over. ... Scoring 10 straight points in the opening minutes of the half, Williams’ solo attack made it 43-40 with 16:48 left and forced a Dayton timeout. But just as in the first half, Dayton responded to the Bucs’ offensive rush with a pair of threes from Chris Johnson and enjoyed an 8-0 run to make it 51-48 with just over 10 minutes left. ... ETSU weathered that storm and slowly built a lead of as many as nine at 64-55 with 1:35 left, but Dayton put the Bucs at the line. Poor foul shooting down the stretch allowed the Flyers to get to within two at 66-64 with 44 seconds left, but at that point Smith would hit 7-of-8 foul shots and ETSU got the defensive stops it needed to get the win.


Last time out

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Dec. 4, 2016) – It’s been 26 years since ETSU men’s basketball fans have seen a start like this. ... With an 85-57 win over Limestone College inside Freedom Hall, the 2016-17 Buccaneers moved to 7-1 on the season, marking the program’s best start to a year since the 1990-91 squad opened at 14-1. Senior guard T.J. Cromer (Albany, Ga.) led the way for ETSU on this day, scoring a game high 21 points, while fellow seniors A.J. Merriweather (Jackson) and Isaac Banks (New Orleans) added 11 and 10 points, respectively. ... After having trailed Lees-McRae at halftime on Thursday night, the Bucs fared much better against their second straight opponent from Conference Carolinas. This time, the Bucs jumped ahead early and led by as many as 16 late in the half, taking a 41-30 advantage into the break. ...    For the contest, the Bucs held advantages in most every statistical category, including points in the paint (36-24), points off turnovers (17-14), second chance points (22-4), fast break points (19-4), and bench points (51-29).


Off and running: Bucs’ start one of the best ever

At 7-1 so far this season, the Bucs are off to their best start since the 1990-91 ETSU team opened the year at 14-1 ... That group -- led by ETSU legend and current Lees-McRae assistant coach Keith “Mister” Jennings   -- went on to go 21-2 through their first 23 games and reached No. 10 in the national rankings ... That team also won a third straight Southern Conference Tournament title and advanced to the NCAAs for the third of four straight trips to March Madness.


Bucs currently ranked 9th by

With their 7-1 start, the Bucs have moved up to No. 9 in the most recent Mid-Major Poll, which was released last Monday.


Bucs picked second; Cromer, Mos.-Perea earn honors

SPARTANBURG, S.C. (Oct. 26, 2016) – The ETSU men’s basketball team was picked to finish a close second behind Chattanooga in both the preseason coaches and media polls released earlier in the year by the Southern Conference. ... ETSU was slotted second (74) and received two first-place votes in the coaches poll, along with four first place votes in the media poll. Head coach Steve Forbes led the Bucs to a 24-12 mark in his first season at ETSU. The Bucs went 14-4 in league play and advanced to the title game of the league tournament. ETSU advanced to the postseason in 2016 and participated in the Vegas 16 tournament. ... In addition, the Buccaneers’ placed senior guard T.J. Cromer (Albany, Ga.) and senior post Hanner Mosquera-Perea (Istmina, Colombia) on the preseason All-SoCon team. Cromer was an all-conference selection a year ago, while Mosquera-Perea is entering his first season at ETSU.

Bucs ranking among nation’s best statistically

Entering November’s Sanford Pentagon Showcase, the Bucs led the nation in field goal percentage, shooting a blistering 58.8 percent from the floor three games into the season ... Currently, ETSU ranks 10th nationally at 50.9 perent ... With a 68.3 percent clip in the game against UDM, ETSU came up just half a percentage shy of the program’s single game record ... Other categories where the Bucs are excelling include rebound margin, assists per game, and free throws made and attempted, among others ... A complete list of the Bucs’ current position in the national statistics can be found in the column to the left of this note.


Banks money so far this season from the field

The Bucs posted high shooting percentages in two of their first three games the season, and much of that is due to the accurate efforts of the team’s inside players ... For instance, entering the Dayton game, senior post Isaac Banks (New Orleans) is 24-for-30 from the field this season, ranking first in the country at 80 percent from the field ...  Along with Banks, players like fellow senior post Hanner Mosquera-Perea (Istmina, Colombia) is 29-of-48 from the field for a .600 percentage.


Depth, bench play coming through in the clutch for Bucs

The depth of the ETSU bench is becoming more apparent with each game this season ... Through the first eight games of the year, the Bucs’ bench players have outscored their opponents in seven of those eight contests ... For instance, in the win over UC Irvine (11/27), junior guard Julian Walters (Madison, Wis.) came off the bench to hit three critical 3-pointers in the game, and in the win over South Dakota State Jermaine Long (New Orleans) entered the game to post five rebounds, five points and two asissts in just 11 minutes of game action. ... Other players like Devontavius Payne (Carbondale, Ill.), who is averaging 8.0 points per game this year, and David Burrell (Milwaukee), who is averaging 8.0 points and 3.9 rebounds a game, have also provided much-needed production.


ETSU offense thrives on assists, unselfish approach

Through eight games this season, the Bucs have dished out 137 assists on 227 total made baskets ... In other words, 60 percent of the time a made shot by the Bucs is coming off an assist ... Three times this season, the Bucs have eclipsed 20 assists, with those games coming against Fordham, Detroit Mercy  and South Dakota State.


Basketball Times’ ranks ETSU JuCo recruiting class #2

In a Basketball Times’ story by Tony Jimenez earlier this year, ETSU head coach Steve Forbes and his staff are were praised for their recruiting efforts at the junior college level. ... In fact, the Bucs’ 2016-17 recruiting class -- which includes JuCo first team All-Americans -- was ranked No. 2 in the nation behind only Southeastern Conference member Arkansas ... In all, the Bucs’ seven-player recruiting class for this year included five junior college additions.


Forbes makes USA Today list of “coaches on the rise”

ETSU head men’s basketball coach Steve Forbes was recently named to USA Today’s list of 10 coaches on the rise heading into the 2016-17 season. Below is an excerpt from the story by Jon Rothstein and a link to the entire list: Which coaches are on the rise in college basketball? Check out our list below as we look at 10 coaches in the sport trending upwards. In no particular order … Steve Forbes, East Tennessee State: Forbes won 24 games in his first season as a head coach in Division I and should be a perennial contender in the SoCon. A tenacious recruiter when he was an assistant at both Tennessee and Wichita State, Forbes knows how to find players. The Bucs currently have three players on their roster — Peter Jurkin (Indiana), Hanner Mosquera-Perea (Indiana), and Tevin Glass (Wichita State) that were all recruited to play at a significantly higher level before Forbes lured them to East Tennessee State.


Bucs continue on 3-point streak list

Since Feb. 16, 1987 in a game against Davidson, the Bucs have made at least one 3-pointer in 903 consecutive games. ... ETSU was 0-for-8 in that 1987 game.  ... The Bucs currently rank as the 7th longest streak in the NCAA.


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 last 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 Mississippi State back during the 2010-11 season, and the first win over Georgia Tech since the 1978-79 campaign.