February 06, 20171st2ndFinal
ETSU364076
Wofford304979
Stats at a GlanceETSUWOF
FG Percentage.509 (28-55) .453 (24-53)
3P FG Percentage.500 (9-18) .520 (13-25)
FT Percentage.786 (11-14) .750 (18-24)
Offensive Rebounds128
Defensive Rebounds2517
Total Rebounds3725
Turnovers2112
Steals59
Bench Points2412
LeadersETSUWOF
PointsT.J. CROMER - 24
Eric Garcia - 28
ReboundsTEVIN GLASS - 8
Ryan Sawvell - 5
AssistsDESONTA BRADFORD - 7
Eric Garcia - 5
StealsA.J. MERRIWEATHER - 1
DAVID BURRELL - 1
TEVIN GLASS - 1
ISAAC BANKS - 1
T.J. CROMER - 1
Cameron Jackson - 5
BlocksH. MOSQUERA-PEREA - 2
Cameron Jackson - 2
Bucs look to continue winning ways Monday at Wofford
Junior forward David Burrell scored 12 points on 5-of-10 shooting in ETSU's 79-72 win over Wofford last month.
Bucs look to continue winning ways Monday at Wofford
Sunday, February 5, 2017

ETSU carries four-game win streak into Spartanburg

SPARTANBURG, S.C. (Feb. 2, 2017) – After using a strong second-half effort to rally for its fourth straight win Thursday night at VMI, the ETSU men’s basketball team looks to continue its winning ways as the Buccaneers wrap up a brief two-game road swing Monday night at Wofford. Tip is set for 7 p.m. inside Benjamin Johnson Arena. 

Monday’s game will be televised on the American Sports Network. Click here for list of ASN Affiliates. The game will also be streamed live on ESPN3, while “Voice of the Bucs” Jay Sandos will have the call on WXSM-AM 640 The Extreme Sports Monster starting with the Atmos Energy Pregame Show at 6:30 p.m. 

ETSU (18-5, 8-2 SoCon) is eyeing its second five-game win streak of the season as the Blue and Gold are averaging 83 points, while T.J. Cromer (Albany, Ga.), Desonta Bradford (Humbolt, Tenn.), A.J. Merriweather (Jackson, Tenn.) and Tevin Glass (Norcross, Ga.) are posting double figures in scoring during this four-game stretch. Cromer is leading the pack at 19.0 points per game, while Bradford is at 18.3ppg, Merriweather is at 13.0ppg and Glass is at 10.5ppg. In addition, Bradford is shooting 58 percent from the field (19-of-33) and is 7-of-11 from beyond the arc, while Merriweather is shooting 60 percent (18-for-30). To go with his 10.5 points, Glass is averaging 6.5 rebounds during this run. A win at Wofford would not only extend ETSU’s win streak, but it will keep the Buccaneers tied atop the conference standings with Furman. 

Wofford (10-13, 5-5) has won five of its last seven and is coming off a 65-62 win at Mercer on Saturday as Eric Garcia drained the game winning three-pointer with 1.8 seconds remaining. The Terriers – who have won four of the last seven SoCon Tournament titles – are 8-1 at home this season with the lone setback being a 104-103 overtime loss to The Citadel on Jan. 2. Wofford is led by sophomore guard Fletcher Magee as he’s averaging 17.2 points per game and shooting 43 percent from beyond the arc, while Garcia is shooting 49 percent from three and averaging 14.1 points per game. 

The Bucs have won the last two meetings over Wofford and lead the all-time series, 34-9. ETSU defeated the Terriers, 79-72, inside Freedom Hall on Jan. 22 where four Buccaneers scored in double figures. Cromer and Bradford added 17 points, while Merriweather netted 16 and David Burrell (Milwaukee, Wis.) finished with 12 off the bench. The Bucs dominated in the paint as they outscored Wofford, 38-16, while scoring 21 points off 17 forced turnovers. ETSU has dropped its last three games at Wofford, and the Bucs are searching for their first win over the Terriers in Spartanburg since picking up an 81-61 victory on Jan. 25, 2003. 

For more on Monday’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. Wofford

The Buccaneers hold a dominating 34-9 advantage in the all-time series against the Terriers. ... The Bucs have won two straight in the series, including a 79-72 win earlier this season on Jan. 22 in Johnson City.

Last time out vs. Wofford

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 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).

Last time out

LEXINGTON, Va. (Feb. 2, 2017) – An impressive second half offensively was the difference for the ETSU men’s basketball team on the road inside VMI’s Cameron Hall. ... Shooting 69 percent from the field and 73 percent from 3-point range in the second half, the Buccaneers scored 54 points after the intermission and rallied from a seven-point halftime deficit to drop the Keydets 81-71 in Southern Conference play. With the win, the first-place Bucs improved to 18-5 overall, 8-2 in SoCon play, while VMI dropped to 5-16, 2-8. ... After combining to score just eight points in the first half, senior guard T.J. Cromer (Albany, Ga.) and junior guard Desonta Bradford (Humboldt) joined up to score 32 in the second half, with Cromer posting a game-high 24 and Bradford with 16 for the game. Meanwhile, seniors A.J. Merriweather (Jackson) and Tevin Glass (Norcross, Ga.) also helped power the win by providing 13 and 10, respectively. ... For the game, the Bucs shot 57 percent from the field and 45 percent from 3-point range, while out-rebounding the Keydets 35-34. However, things didn’t start that way in the first half. ... While the Bucs shot a respectable 44 percent from the field in the opening 20 minutes of play, they were just 1-of-9 from 3-point range and 2-of-5 at the foul line. Making matters worse, VMI out-rebounded ETSU 23-15 and used several of those boards to get second chance points, building a 34-27 lead at the break. ... After the intermission, the Bucs clearly listened to Forbes’ halftime speech, racing out with a 13-3 offensive run to open the second half and taking their first lead of the game at 40-37 with just under 16 minutes left in regulation. Unfortunately for the Bucs, after increasing their lead to 46-40, VMI regained some momentum and took the lead back at 47-46. ... There were five lead changes and a pair of ties over the next five minutes of game play before ETSU went on a 15-4 run, which was highlighted by a pair of threes from Cromer and single buckets from beyond the arc by Bradford and Merriweather. When the smoke cleared from that run, the Bucs led 69-59 and never looked back.

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

At 18-5 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.

Merriweather, Cromer nearing 1,000 career points

Entering Monday’s game with Wofford, senior guard A.J. Merriweather (Jackson) currently stands at 985 points for his career, while fellow senior T.J. Cromer (Albany, Ga.) stands at 954 points ... Both players are trying to join a group of 38 ETSU players in the 1,000-point club. 

Bucs currently ranked 12th by CollegeInsider.com

With their 18-5 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 Chattanooga (13th), Furman (20th) and UNCG (22nd).

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 19th 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 68.3 clip vs. UDM is the seventh highest percentage in a D-I game this year ... 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. 

Streaking

The Bucs are searching for their fifth straight win tonight, which would match their longest win streak of the season ... During this streak, four Bucs are averaging double figures in scoring - T.J. Cromer (19.0ppg), Desonta Bradford (18.3), A.J. Merriweather (13.0) and Tevin Glass (10.5) ... As a team, ETSU is averaging 83ppg, while shooting 51 percent from the field and 70 percent at the free throw line. 

To 70...And Beyond

ETSU’s magic number this season is 70... When the Bucs score at least 70 points, the Blue and Gold are 16-1 this season with their lone blemish being an 83-79 setback to UNCG on Jan. 12. 

Bradford’s production key to Bucs’ surge

Junior guard Desonta Bradford (Humboldt) has put up strong numbers in recent games, having produced offensively in the closing minutes of wins over Samford (1/25) and Chattanooga (1/28) ... In fact, in his last four games, Bradford is averaging 18.3 points and 5.3 rebounds, while shooting 58 percent from the floor, 64 percent from 3-point range and 76 percent at the free throw line. 

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

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 23 games of the year, the Bucs’ bench players have outscored their opponents in 16 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 6.8 points per game this year, and David Burrell (Milwaukee), who is averaging 8.1 points and 3.4 rebounds a game, have also provided much-needed production. 

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.