February 18, 20171st2ndFinal
ETSU244165
Chattanooga203151
Stats at a GlanceETSUUTC
FG Percentage.532 (25-47) .422 (19-45)
3P FG Percentage.467 (7-15) .300 (6-20)
FT Percentage.667 (8-12) .583 (7-12)
Offensive Rebounds45
Defensive Rebounds2520
Total Rebounds2925
Turnovers1719
Steals146
Bench Points1712
LeadersETSUUTC
PointsT.J. CROMER - 15
A.J. MERRIWEATHER - 15
Tre' McLean - 11
ReboundsH. MOSQUERA-PEREA - 8
TEVIN GLASS - 8
Tre' McLean - 6
AssistsT.J. CROMER - 4
A.J. MERRIWEATHER - 4
Greg Pryor - 3
StealsDESONTA BRADFORD - 3
A.J. MERRIWEATHER - 3
JERMAINE LONG - 3
Greg Pryor - 2
Tre' McLean - 2
BlocksDAVID BURRELL - 1
DESONTA BRADFORD - 1
Justin Tuoyo - 2
Bucs and Mocs set for rematch Saturday in Chattanooga
Junior guard Desonta Bradford had a team high 19 points in the first game between ETSU and Chattanooga.
Bucs and Mocs set for rematch Saturday in Chattanooga
Friday, February 17, 2017

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (Feb. 18, 2017) – There is one sure way to know the Southern Conference men’s basketball season is drawing to its close – when rivals ETSU and Chattanooga are meeting in a game that means something.

This will be the case once again Saturday afternoon at 5 p.m. inside McKenzie Arena, as the Buccaneers travel to Chattanooga to face the Mocs in a game between two teams in contention for the SoCon regular season title. The second-place Bucs enter the game at 21-6 overall, 11-3 in SoCon play, and are just one game back of Furman in the loss column of the league standings. Meanwhile, third-place Chattanooga is 19-7, 10-4, and just two back of the Paladins with four games to play.

A large crowd is expected in Chattanooga on Saturday, and ETSU fans are encouraged to purchase their tickets early by clicking here. Those unable to attend will be able to watch the game 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 currently ranked 13th in the most recent CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major national poll, are 35-47 all-time against UTC, as both teams are considered the most traditionally successful men’s basketball programs in the history of the modern Southern Conference. In all, the two teams have combined for 20 NCAA Tournament trips all-time (11 for UTC and nine for ETSU), and they have combined for 51 SoCon championships all-time.

For more on Saturday’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. Chattanooga

In what is widely considered the longest and most heated rivalry in ETSU basketball history, the Bucs and Mocs have met 81 times with ETSU trailing the all-time series 35 to 46 ... The two teams shared the same conference from 1979 to 2005, spending several years battling in the Southern Conference before both teams were reunited in the SoCon again beginning with the 2014-15 season ... The Bucs won the last meeting 76-71 back on Jan. 28, snapping a five-game winning streak for the Mocs.

 

Last time out vs. Chattanooga

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Jan. 28, 2017) – With the opportunity to best its archrival, the ETSU men’s basketball team went to the power game – and it worked. ... Senior forward Tevin Glass (Norcross, Ga.) posted his first career double-double and fellow senior post Hanner Mosquera-Perea (Istmina, Colombia) matched his career high with 18 points, as the Buccaneers bested longtime rival Chattanooga in an epic Southern Conference showdown 76-71 in front of a sellout crowd of 6,149 fans at Freedom Hall. ... Glass finished with 14 points and 12 rebounds on the night, while junior guard Desonta Bradford (Humboldt) posted a team high 19 points and senior guard A.J. Merriweather (Jackson) finished with 13 in the winning effort. Along with his 18 points, Mosquera-Perea finished with nine rebounds himself and was clutch in the final minutes, going 7-of-9 at the foul line. 

 

Last time out

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Feb. 15, 2017) – Trailing by seven points with five minutes left in regulation, the ETSU men’s basketball team made the plays it needed down the stretch to drop Samford 79-77 in a tough Southern Conference battle at Freedom Hall. ... The Buccaneers – who improved to 21-6 overall, 11-3 in SoCon play – needed a critical offensive rebound and put back from senior forward Tevin Glass (Norcross, Ga.), a game-winning basket with 10 seconds left from senior forward Hanner Mosquera-Perea (Istimina, Colombia), and a final defensive stop from senior guard T.J. Cromer (Albany, Ga.) all in the final minute to secure the win. Glass, who scored 12 of the Bucs’ first 15 points in the contest, finished with a career high and team high 16 points, while Cromer matched that figure with 16 himself and Mosquera-Perea netted 10 to lead the ETSU offense. ... Despite playing without star post player Wyatt Walker, the Bulldogs (15-12, 6-8) certainly performed well. Shooting 59 percent from the field in the first half and finishing at 50 percent from the floor in the game, the Bulldogs got double-figure scoring from three players, including a game high 21 points from junior guard Demetrius Denzel-Dyson and 19 from junior guard Alex Thompson.

 

ETSU and Chattanooga similarities striking

The rivalry between the Buccaneers and Mocs is in many ways directly related to the similarities between the programs. Both teams’ successes have mirrored each other:

                                                                         ETSU   Chattanooga

Overall championships                                       21             30

Regular Season (to include North Titles)            12             19

NCAA Appearances                                               9             11

Sweet 16 Appearances                                          1               1

Players of the Year                                                9               5

Coaches of the Year                                              8               7

 

The two teams have met six times in tournament title games, with the teams tied at 3-3 in those matchup ... ETSU won in 1992, 2003 and 2004, while the Mocs have victories in 1983, 1993 and 2016. Over a 17-year span from 1981 to 1997, the Bucs and Mocs represented the SoCon in the NCAAs a remarkable 12 times (ETSU four times and Chattanooga eight times).

 

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

At 21-6 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 13th by CollegeInsider.com

With their 21-6 start, the Bucs are currently ranked 13th in the most recent CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Poll, which was released on Monday ... The Bucs are joined in the ranking by Furman (12th) and Chattanooga (16th).

 

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 12th nationally at 49.2 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 ...  A complete list of the Bucs current position in the national statistics can be found to the left of this note.

 

Merriweather, Cromer eclipse 1,000 career points

During the win over Mercer on Feb. 11, 2017, senior guards A.J. Merriweather (Jackson) and T.J. Cromer (Albany, Ga.) both eclipsed 1,000 points in the same game ... Cromer was first to the milestone with a 3-pointer at the 17:05 mark of the first half, followed by Merriweather  with another 3-pointer at 16:02 on an assist from Cromer ... The two now rank among 40 ETSU players to have reached that 1,000-point threshold ... Their current standing is below:

  1. Herb Weaver (1953-56).................................... 1,064
  2. Jalen Riley (2013-15)......................................... 1,056
  3. T.J. Cromer (2015-present)............................... 1,039
  4. Willie Malone (1962-64).................................... 1,037

T-34. Andre Motley (1980-83)................................. 1,031

T-34. Adam Sollazzo (2008-2012)........................... 1,031

  1. Travis Strong (2003-08).................................... 1,030
  2. Bob Brown (1973-77)........................................ 1,022
  3. Gary McGinnis (1950-54)................................... 1,020
  4. A.J. Merriweather (2013-present)....................... 1,013
  5. Brad Nuckles (2002-07).................................... 1,001

 

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

 

To 80...And Beyond

ETSU’s magic number this season is 80... When the Bucs score at least 80 points, the Blue and Gold are are perfect 12-0 ... ETSU’s last loss when scoring over 80 points came last year when they fell 104-81 to Oakland in the Vegas 16.  

 

SoCon Attendance Leaders

ETSU leads all SoCon teams in home attendance this season the Bucs are averaging 3,904 fans in their 14 home games -- a total of 54,660 fans ... Last season, ETSU averaged 3,065 in 15 home games (45,981 total).

 

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.

 

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 27 games of the year, the Bucs’ bench players have outscored their opponents in 19 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 7.3 points per game this year, and David Burrell (Milwaukee), who is averaging 7.9 points and 3.6 rebounds a game, have also provided much-needed production ... Jason Williams set career highs for point (9), three-pointers made (3) and minutes played (20) in the win over The Citadel on Feb. 9.

 

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.

 

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.