December 29, 20161st2ndFinal
Savannah State333871
ETSU444892
Stats at a GlanceSSUMETSU
FG Percentage.373 (22-59) .437 (31-71)
3P FG Percentage.395 (15-38) .359 (14-39)
FT Percentage.667 (12-18) .593 (16-27)
Offensive Rebounds813
Defensive Rebounds3033
Total Rebounds3846
Turnovers2111
Steals711
Bench Points1631
LeadersSSUMETSU
PointsMcCLANAHAN - 28
T.J. CROMER - 30
ReboundsGLENN - 9
H. MOSQUERA-PEREA - 8
DESONTA BRADFORD - 8
AssistsMANASSA - 3
SELLER - 3
FLOYD - 3
McCLANAHAN - 3
JASON WILLIAMS - 6
StealsSELLER - 2
McCLANAHAN - 2
A.J. MERRIWEATHER - 5
BlocksISAAC BANKS - 2
H. MOSQUERA-PEREA - 2
DESONTA BRADFORD - 2
ETSU men back in action Thursday at home vs. Savannah St.
The Bucs are 4-1 this season inside Freedom Hall and look to improve on that number Thursday night against Savannah State.
ETSU men back in action Thursday at home vs. Savannah St.
Wednesday, December 28, 2016

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Dec. 28, 2016) – After enjoying some time at home for the holidays, the ETSU men’s basketball team will return to action inside Freedom Hall on Thursday night, taking on non-conference foe Savannah State at 7 p.m.

The game will air live via video streaming courtesy of ESPN3.com, while the Buccaneer Sports Network will provide the radio call of the game on its flagship station WXSM-AM 640 and affiliate NASH ICON-FM 104.9. Live audio of the game will also be available at ETSUBucs.com.

This matchup with the Tigers will mark the final pre-conference game for the Bucs, who are looking to improve to 10-3 on the season. Already off to the best start to a season since the 1990-’91 campaign, a win on Thursday would give this year’s Bucs 10 non-conference wins, which would also be the first time the program has reached that number since 1990-’91.

Following the game with Savannah State, ETSU opens Southern Conference play at home on Saturday afternoon, taking on VMI at a special 2 p.m. start time.

For more on Thursday’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 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.

 

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 five 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.), Jason Williams (Detroit), Jermaine Long (New Orleans) and transfer Kanayo Obi-Rapu (Greensboro, N.C.), along with forward David Burrell (Milwaukee).

 

The series vs. Savannah State

This will be the first meeting between the Buccaneers and the Tigers.

 

Last time out

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Dec. 22, 2016) – Leading by one with two minutes left on its home floor, the ETSU men’s basketball team was poised to send a capacity crowd home with a special Christmas gift. Unfortunately for the Buccaneers, it did not work out that way. ... Outscoring ETSU 8-3 over the final two minutes and taking advantage of a controversial foul call that gave them a two-point lead with a minute left, the Tennessee Volunteers escaped Freedom Hall and a raucous crowd of 6,149 fans with a 72-68 win over the Buccaneers. With the loss, ETSU dropped to 9-3 on the year, while the Vols improved to 7-5 on the season.  ... For the second straight year, Tennessee guard Detrick Mostella haunted the Bucs. Exactly one year ago to the day, his 3-pointer late in the game and team high 17 points lifted the Vols to a win at Thompson-Boling Arena. On this night, his game high 25 points were a huge difference in the outcome. In particular, with the game tied at 65 and a minute left, he was fouled by ETSU senior guard A.J. Merriweather (Jackson) while driving the lane and hit both free throws. The Vols never relinquished the lead from there. ...        ETSU was led by a team high 14 points each from guards T.J. Cromer (Albany, Ga.) and Desonta Bradford (Humboldt), while Merriweather finished with 11 and junior forward David Burrell (Milwaukee, Wis.) came off the bench to net 10. Bradford also finished with a game high eight assists to go with five rebounds and two steals in 35 minutes of play. ...   Much of the first half was a defensive battle, with both teams struggling from the field. In fact, 13 minutes into the game, the Bucs were shooting just 19 percent compared to a 25 percent clip for the Vols. The results was a 19-16 Tennessee lead with under four minutes left before the intermission. ... However, at that point, Mostella scored the final 13 points of the half for UT– going a perfect 5-of-5 from the field – and singlehandedly giving Tennessee a 32-23 advantage at the break. In the first half, Mostella led all scorers with 13 points, while Cromer finished with 10. The Bucs shot just 25 percent before the break, compared to 44 percent for the Vols.

After the intermission, the Bucs came out with a renewed energy on offense, outscoring the Vols 13-4 to tie the game at 36 on a traditional 3-point play from Hanner Mosquera-Perea (Istmina, Coloimbia) with 16:27 left in regulation. Tennessee responded to the Bucs’ threat by outscoring ETSU 15-8 over the next four minutes to regain a 51-44 edge. ... However, at that point, the Bucs made the most dramatic surge of the game, outscoring the Vols 11-3 over the next three minutes of play to take the lead at 55-54 on a traditional 3-point play by Burrell. The lead changed hands five times the rest of the way before the Vols held on for the victory. ... Along with Mostella, the only other Tennessee player to reach double figures was Robert Hubbs III with 11 points. The Vols out-rebounded the Bucs 44-35 and held a 22-12 advantage in second chance points. 

 

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

At 9-3 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. ... With a win tonight against Savannah State, the Bucs would become the first team since 1990-91 to secure 10 non-conference wins in a season.

 

Bucs currently ranked 11th by CollegeInsider.com

With their 9-3 start, the Bucs are currently ranked 11th in the most recent CollegeInsider.com 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 50th nationally at 47.8 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 ... A complete list of the Bucs’ current position in the national statistics can be found in the column to the left of this note.

 

Back-to-back seasons with wins over “Major” opponents

While ETSU has enjoyed its share of wins over “major” opposition in the past, the Bucs’ have now posted back-to-back seasons with wins over teams from “Power 5” Conferences ... The Bucs dropped Atlantic Coast Conference foe Georgia Tech last season, and followed that victory with a win over Mississippi State earlier this year ... The win over GT  was the firs over an ACC foe since defeating N.C. State back in 1991 ... The MSU win was the first since dropping the same Bulldogs back in 2010.

 

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 907 consecutive games. ... ETSU was 0-for-8 in that 1987 game.  ... The Bucs currently rank as the 7th longest streak in the NCAA.

 

Banks money so far this season from the field

The Bucs posted high shooting percentages in two of their first three games theisseason, and much of that is due to the accurate efforts of the team’s inside players ... For instance, entering the Savannah State game, senior post Isaac Banks (New Orleans) is 28-for-37 from the field this season, ranking first in the country at 76 percent from the field ...  Along with Banks, players like fellow senior post Hanner Mosquera-Perea (Istmina, Colombia) is 42-of-70 from the field for a 60 percent clip from the field.

 

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 12 games of the year, the Bucs’ bench players have outscored their opponents in eight of those contests ... For instance, 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 7.0 points per game this year, and David Burrell (Milwaukee), who is averaging 8.4 points and 3.8 rebounds a game, have also provided much-needed production.

 

ETSU offense thrives on assists, unselfish approach

Through 12 games this season, the Bucs have dished out 189 assists on 323 total made baskets ... In other words, 59 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.