January 05, 20171st2ndFinal
ETSU5659115
The Citadel383371
Stats at a GlanceETSUCIT
FG Percentage.545 (42-77) .313 (21-67)
3P FG Percentage.435 (10-23) .182 (6-33)
FT Percentage.600 (21-35) .657 (23-35)
Offensive Rebounds1713
Defensive Rebounds3827
Total Rebounds5540
Turnovers1220
Steals155
Bench Points5342
LeadersETSUCIT
PointsT.J. CROMER - 19
DEVONTAVIUS PAYNE - 19
Brian White - 15
ReboundsDAVID BURRELL - 8
Brian White - 9
AssistsJASON WILLIAMS - 5
JERMAINE LONG - 5
Warren Sledge - 3
StealsT.J. CROMER - 4
Tom Koopman - 2
BlocksT.J. CROMER - 1
DEVONTAVIUS PAYNE - 1
ISAAC BANKS - 1
DAVID BURRELL - 1
PETER JURKIN - 1
Warren Sledge - 1
Ezekiel Balogun - 1
Bucs begin two game SoCon swing Thursday
ETSU's senior class will be called upon to lead the Bucs as they hit the road in SoCon play this weekend.
Bucs begin two game SoCon swing Thursday
Wednesday, January 4, 2017

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Jan. 4, 2017) – Having posted an 11-3 overall record so far this season and winning its first Southern Conference game last week over VMI, the ETSU men’s basketball team will embark on an important two game road swing in SoCon play starting Thursday in Charleston, S.C.

The first stop on the trip is a visit to The Citadel, where the Buccaneers will face the Bulldogs at 7 p.m. inside McAlister Field House. The game will air on via live video streaming courtesy of ESPN3.com, and the Buccaneer Sports Network will have the live broadcast of the game on its radio affiliates and via the live link at ETSUBucs.com. The Bucs will follow that stop with a trip to Macon, Ga., and a matchup with longtime rival Mercer Saturday at 4:30 p.m.

For the Bucs, who enter the game ranked 11th nationally in the most recent CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Poll, the next two games offer an opportunity to pick up a pair of road wins in conference play. However, it won’t be easy, as The Citadel (8-8) possesses the highest scoring offense in the league and their potent 3-point attack could pose a threat to the Bucs.

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. The Citadel

The Bucs and Bulldogs have met 54 times on the hardwood, with ETSU holding a 38-16 advantage in the all-time series ... Most of those games were played between 1962 and 2005 ... The two teams renewed their SoCon series in 2014-15, with ETSU having won two straight in the series, including a 75-61 win in the last meeting back on Feb. 18, 2016.

 

Last time out vs. The Citadel

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. ... 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.

 

Last time out

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Dec. 31, 2016) – Prior to Saturday’s Southern Conference opener against VMI, the storyline coming from the ETSU men’s basketball team had been that this game with the Keydets was the most important game so far this season. The Buccaneers certainly played like it. ... With a relentlessly hounding defensive effort and an offensive showing that included multiple dunks along with long-range 3-pointers, the Bucs rolled in dominating fashion to a 102-75 win over the Keydets. With the victory, ETSU improved to 11-3 overall, 1-0 in SoCon play, while VMI dropped to 3-9, 0-1. ... The final statistics certainly backed up Forbes’ comments, as the Bucs dominated in nearly every part of the game. Shooting 56 percent from the floor and 77 percent at the foul line, the Bucs also out-rebounded the Keydets 37-24, collected 14 steals, forced 20 turnovers, dished out 18 assists, and outscored VMI 48-18 in the paint and 30-7 in points off turnovers. In fact, every player on the Bucs’ bench played and scored. ...      Senior guard T.J. Cromer (Albany, Ga.) led the way with 21 points for the Bucs, while juniors David Burrell (Milwaukee) and Devontavius Payne (Carbondale, Ill.) posted double figures with 12 and 10 each.

 

Cromer named SoCon Player of the Week

SPARTANBURG, S.C. (Jan. 3, 2017) – Senior guard T.J. Cromer (Albany, Ga.) has been named the Southern Conference Men’s Basketball Player of the Week for all games played Dec. 20 through Jan. 2, as he led the ETSU men’s basketball team to a 2-1 record over the holidays by averaging over 21 points per game. ... The guard scored in double figures in all three games for ETSU, including a season-high 30 points in a 92-71 win over Savannah State on Dec. 29.  The Bucs began Southern Conference play with a 102-75 victory over VMI on Dec. 31, and Cromer once again paced the Bucs with 21 points. ... The senior connected on 50 percent of his field goals over the three games and was 12-of-24 from 3-point range. He shot 73 percent from the free-throw line and added 11 rebounds and nine assists during that three-game stretch. ... Currently, Cromer leads the SoCon in scoring (18.5 ppg).

 

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

At 11-3 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 the win over Savannah State in their non-conference finale, the Bucs also became the first team since that same 1990-91 squad to secure 10 non-conference wins in a season.

 

Bucs currently ranked 11th by CollegeInsider.com

With their 11-3 start, the Bucs are currently ranked 11th in the most recent CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Poll.

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 44th nationally at 48 percent ... 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 ... The Bucs currently rank in the Top 50 in multiple categories nationally, including rebound margin, scoring margin, free throws attempted, and 3-point percentage. 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 909 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 this season and that trend has continued, thanks in much part to the accurate efforts of the team’s inside players ... For instance, entering the The Citadel game, senior post Isaac Banks (New Orleans) is 31-for-42 from the field this season, ranking first in the country at 74 percent from the field ...  Along with Banks, players like junior forward David Burrell (Milwaukee) is 48-of-81 for a 59 percent clip from the field, while senior post Hanner Mosquera-Perea (Istmina, Colombia) is 47-of-80 for a 59 percent mark.

 

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 14 games of the year, the Bucs’ bench players have outscored their opponents in 10 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 7.9 points per game this year, and David Burrell (Milwaukee), who is averaging 8.7 points and 3.9 rebounds a game, have also provided much-needed production.

 

ETSU offense thrives on assists, unselfish approach

With a season high 24 assists in the win over Savannah State, the Bucs continued to post strong numbers in that statistical category ... Through 14 games this season, the Bucs have dished out 231 assists on 388 total made baskets ... In other words, 60 percent of the time a made shot by the Bucs is coming off an assist ... Four times this season, the Bucs have eclipsed 20 assists, with those games coming against Fordham, Detroit Mercy, South Dakota State and Savannah 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.