January 25, 20171st2nd1OT 2OT Final
ETSU353581896
Samford28428886
Stats at a GlanceETSUSAM
FG Percentage.470 (31-66) .412 (28-68)
3P FG Percentage.250 (5-20) .286 (6-21)
FT Percentage.744 (29-39) .750 (24-32)
Offensive Rebounds1215
Defensive Rebounds2726
Total Rebounds3941
Turnovers1920
Steals712
Bench Points2125
LeadersETSUSAM
PointsT.J. CROMER - 27
D. Denzel-Dyson - 26
ReboundsDESONTA BRADFORD - 10
Wyatt Walker - 11
AssistsT.J. CROMER - 4
JERMAINE LONG - 4
Josh Sharkey - 4
StealsDESONTA BRADFORD - 2
A.J. MERRIWEATHER - 2
Josh Sharkey - 4
BlocksDESONTA BRADFORD - 3
Wyatt Walker - 2
Road game at Samford awaits Bucs Wednesday night
The ETSU men's basketball team will face SoCon foe Samford at 8 p.m. (EST) on Wednesday night.
Road game at Samford awaits Bucs Wednesday night
Tuesday, January 24, 2017

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (Jan. 24, 2017) – With the race for a Southern Conference regular season title heating up, the ETSU men’s basketball team will look to stay in contention near the top of the standings when the Buccaneers travel to face Samford Wednesday night.

Tip is set for 8 p.m. (EST) in the Pete Hanna Center and the game will air via live video streaming courtesy of ESPN3.com. In addition, 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 Bucs, who are 15-5 overall and 5-2 in SoCon play, remain just one game back of first place in the loss column of the SoCon standings and are currently ranked 15th in the CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major poll. Meanwhile, the Bulldogs are also in contention for the league title, standing at 13-7 overall and 4-3 in SoCon play.

For more on Wednesday’s matchup, 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. Samford

The Bucs are 6-1 all-time against Samford ... In a series that dates back to 1979, the Bucs won the first four contests before dropping a home game to the Bulldogs during the 2014-15 season ... The Bucs won the last meeting between the two schools 94-90 in overtime at Freedom Hall back on Feb. 11, 2016.

 

Last time out vs. Samford

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Feb. 11, 2016) – With a matchup against rival Chattanooga looming on Saturday, the ETSU men’s basketball team needed overtime but managed to outlast Samford 94-90 in Southern Conference action inside Freedom Hall. ... Despite watching Samford’s freshman post Wyatt Walker score a career high 30 points and basically take over the game in the second half, the Buccaneers overcame that individual performance by placing four of their own players in double figures, led by a team high 25 points from senior guard Ge’Lawn Guyn (Lexington, Ky.). Guyn finished the game with nine of the Bucs final 11 points in overtime and hit four straight free throws in the waning seconds to ice the win. ... Along with Guyn, the Bucs got 17 points from junior guard T.J. Cromer (Albany, Ga.), 12 from junior post Isaac Banks (New Orleans, La.) and 10 from sophomore guard Desonta Bradford (Humboldt). For the Bulldogs, Walker was joined in double figures by teammate Christen Cunningham with 26 points and Matt Rose with 10. ... In overtime, both teams traded a pair of baskets before a 3-pointer and two free throws from Guyn made it 88-83 in favor of ETSU. Samford still kept the game within two points from there, but Guyn made four straight at the line to keep the Bucs ahead. ... ETSU finished the game shooting 50 percent from the field and 55 percent (11-of-20) from the 3-point line. At the foul line, the Bucs were equally good, hitting 76 percent of their shots (19-of-25) at the charity stripe compared to a 68.3 percent mark for the Bulldogs.

 

Last time out

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Jan. 22, 2017) – Guards T.J. Cromer (Albany, Ga.), Desonta Bradford (Humboldt) and A.J. Merriweather (Jackson) combined to go 17-of-26 from the field and scored 50 points as ETSU held off a stingy Wofford squad 79-72 Sunday afternoon in Southern Conference men’s basketball action at Freedom Hall. ... The Bucs – who shot 58 percent from the floor and out-rebounded the Terriers 31-23 for the game – improved to 15-5 overall and 5-2 in SoCon play. Meanwhile, Wofford dropped to 8-12, 3-4. ... Cromer and Bradford finished with a team high 17 points each, while Merriweather finished with a season high 16, while dishing out four assists and grabbing two steals. That Buc trio helped turn back an impressive effort from Wofford guard Fletcher Magee, who finished with a game high 24 points.  ... Turnovers also became a huge factor in the outcome. After committed 15 turnovers in the opening half but still holding a four-point lead at the break, the Bucs only turned the ball over four times after the intermission. Those numbers helped the Bucs build a comfortable lead and hold on for the win. Along with Cromer, Bradford and Merriweather, the Bucs also got 12 points from junior forward David Burrell (Milwaukee).

 

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 15-5 so far this season, the Bucs are off to the their best start since the 2003-04 ETSU team finished the regular season and tournament with five losses ... That group -- led by the trio of Zakee Wadood (Lonoke, Ark.), Jerald Fields (Gainesville, Fla.) and Tim Smith (Newport News, Va.)  went 15-0 in SoCon play before falling to College of Charleston in the regular season finale ... The 2003-04 Bucs went on to win the SoCon Tournament and gave Cincinnati a scare in the NCAA Tournament, losing to the Bearcats by three and finishing the year at 27-6 overall, one of the best seasons in school history.

 

Bucs currently ranked 12th by CollegeInsider.com

With their 15-5 start, the Bucs are currently ranked 12th in the most recent CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Poll, which was released on Monday ... The Bucs are joined in the ranking by fellow SoCon members Chattanooga (7th) and UNCG (23rd).

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 22nd nationally at 48.9 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 scoring margin, free throws attempted, scoring offense, and steals per game 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 915 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 40-for-56 for a 71 percent shooting mark  ... Along with Banks, players like senior Hanner Mosquera-Perea (Istmina, Colombia) is 62-of-100 for a 62 percent mark, while junior David Burrell (Milwaukee) is 65-of-120 for a 54 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 20 games of the year, the Bucs’ bench players have outscored their opponents in 14 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 7.6 points per game this year, and David Burrell (Milwaukee), who is averaging 8.4 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 20 games this season, the Bucs have dished out 312 assists on 556 total made baskets ... In other words, over 56 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.