|January 14, 2017||1st||2nd||Final|
|Stats at a Glance||WCU||ETSU|
|FG Percentage||.362 (17-47)||.571 (28-49)|
|3P FG Percentage||.333 (4-12)||.222 (4-18)|
|FT Percentage||.636 (14-22)||.652 (15-23)|
Onno Steger - 9
Adam Sledd - 9
Adam Sledd - 4
Devin Peterson - 1
Onno Steger - 1
Charlendez Brooks - 1
Marc Gosselin - 2
Onno Steger - 2
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Jan. 12, 2017) – Having come up short in a hard-fought battle with UNCG on Thursday night, the ETSU men’s basketball team will look to regroup and remain in the hunt for the Southern Conference regular season title when they host longtime league foe Western Carolina Saturday afternoon.
Tip for this SoCon matchup is set for 4 p.m. inside Freedom Hall, and the game will air via live video streaming courtesy of ESPN3.com. The Buccaneer Sports Network will also have the live broadcast of the game on its radio affiliates and via the live link at ETSUBucs.com.
The game day promotion for Saturday is “Bring Your A Game,” as students 8th grade and under will receive a complimentary ticket when they present their grade card with an A.
The Bucs, who are 13-4 overall and 3-1 in SoCon play, remain tied for first place in the loss column of the league standings. Meanwhile, the Catamounts have struggled to a 5-12 overall record and a 0-4 mark in league play so far this season.
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 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.
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. Western Carolina
ETSU leads the all-time series 50-24 and had won 17 straight matchups with the Catamounts before losing to Western Carolina 67-61 in the first round of the 2015 SoCon Tournament. ... The Bucs avenged that loss with a pair of wins over the Catamounts last season, including an 83-77 victory in the last meeting on Feb. 15, 2016 at Freedom Hall.
Last time out vs. Western Carolina
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Feb. 15, 2016) – The usual suspects gave way to a trio of breakout performances, as the ETSU men’s basketball team overtook Western Carolina in the second half and dropped the Catamounts 83-77 in Southern Conference action at Freedom Hall. ... Both senior guard Deuce Bello (Greensboro, N.C.) and sophomore guard Desonta Bradford (Humboldt) posted career high scoring nights – with Bello netting 20 and Bradford 18 – while junior post Peter Jurkin (Juba, South Sudan) scored 10 as the Bucs improved to
17-10 overall, 10-4 in the SoCon. ... Bradford’s night was particularly impressive, as he scored 15 of the Bucs’ 23 points during one stretch in the second half, helping ETSU overcome the Catamounts’ 48-42 lead
and turn the score into a 65-59 game in favor of the Bucs. ... Along with Bello, Bradford and Jurkin, the Bucs also got 14 points from senior guard Ge’Lawn Guyn (Lexington, Ky.), while junior guard T.J. Cromer (Albany, Ga.) added 11. The Bucs out-rebounded the Catamounts 34-24 and shot 55 percent from the field and 42 percent from 3-point range for the game. ... For Western Carolina, Mike Brown finished with a team high 18 points, while Torrion Brummitt had 17 and Justin Browning added 14.
Last time out
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Jan. 12, 2017) – It took a uncharacteristically good shooting performance and an individual player hitting more threes in a single game than he had all season, but the UNCG Spartans were glad to take the effort in a hard fought 83-79 win over the ETSU men’s basketball team Thursday night at Freedom Hall. ... In a matchup of teams atop the Southern Conference standings, the Spartans connected on 13 3-pointers, shot a remarkable 65 percent (13-of-20) from beyond the arc, and got five 3-pointers from post R.J. White – a player who had made three 3-pointers all season – to improve to 13-5 overall and 4-1 in SoCon play. Meanwhile, the Buccaneers – who entered the game in first place – remain tied for first in the loss column, dropping to 13-4 overall and 3-1 in league action. ... While White finished with 18 points on a 6-of-13 effort from the field – 5-of-7 from 3-point range – the Spartans also got a game-high 23 points from guard Francis Alonso. For the Bucs, junior guard Desonta Bradford (Humboldt) scored a team high 17, junior forward David Burrell (Milwaukee) had 15, senior guard A.J. Merriweather (Jackson) added 12, and senior post Tevin Glass (Norcross, Ga.) netted 10. ... UNCG finished the game shooting 50 percent from the floor, 65 percent from 3-point range, and 82 percent from the charity stripe, but the Bucs countered with stats that are normally good enough to win. ETSU finished at 49 percent from the field, 44 percent from beyond the arc, and 81 percent at the free throw line.
Cromer named SoCon Player of the Week over holidays
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.
Off and running: Bucs’ start one of the best ever
At 13-4 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 9th by CollegeInsider.com
With their 13-4 start, the Bucs are currently ranked 9th in the most recent CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Poll, which was released on Monday ... The Bucs are now the highest ranking SoCon team, followed by Chattanooga who dropped to No. 10.
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 26th nationally at 48.7 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, among others. A complete list of the Bucs’ current position in the national statistics can be found 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 912 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 UNC Greensboro game, senior post Isaac Banks (New Orleans) is 34-for-47 from the field this season, ranking first in the country at 72 percent ... Along with Banks, players like senior Hanner Mosquera-Perea (Istmina, Colombia) is 55-of-92 for a 60 percent mark, while junior David Burrell (Milwaukee) is 57-of-98 for a 58 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 17 games of the year, the Bucs’ bench players have outscored their opponents in 12 of those contests ... For instance, in the road win over The Citadel, Jermaine Long (New Orleans) put together season highs for points (11), rebounds (5) and assists (5) in 20 minutes of play. ... Other players like Devontavius Payne (Carbondale, Ill.), who is averaging 8.1 points per game this year, and David Burrell (Milwaukee), who is averaging 8.6 points and 4.1 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 17 games this season, the Bucs have dished out 276 assists on 476 total made baskets ... In other words, over 58 percent of the time a made shot by the Bucs is coming off an assist ... Five times this season, the Bucs have eclipsed 20 assists, with those games coming against Fordham, Detroit Mercy, South Dakota State, Savannah State and The Citadel.
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.