February 27, 20171st2ndFinal
Stats at a GlanceETSUUNCG
FG Percentage.407 (24-59) .397 (23-58)
3P FG Percentage.214 (3-14) .435 (10-23)
FT Percentage.750 (15-20) .667 (16-24)
Offensive Rebounds1013
Defensive Rebounds2526
Total Rebounds3539
Bench Points41
Francis Alonso - 23
ReboundsTEVIN GLASS - 7
James Dickey - 11
AssistsT.J. CROMER - 3
Diante Baldwin - 6
Diante Baldwin - 3
James Dickey - 4
Outright title on the line for Bucs Monday at UNCG
ETSU's senior class will be looking to put their names in the history books as SoCon champions on Monday night.
Outright title on the line for Bucs Monday at UNCG
Sunday, February 26, 2017

GREENSBORO, N.C. (Feb. 26, 2017) – After having played 30 games already this season, the ETSU men’s basketball team’s goal of being crowned Southern Conference regular season champions will come down to one game on one night in the Greensboro Coliseum.

The Buccaneers (24-6 overall, 14-3 SoCon) have already locked up a share of the SoCon championship, but they can secure an outright title, the No. 1 seed in the conference tournament next weekend in Asheville, N.C., and an automatic bid to the National Invitation Tournament (NIT) with a win over UNC Greensboro in their regular season finale at 7 p.m. on Monday night.

Meanwhile, the Spartans enter the game at 22-8 overall and 13-4 in SoCon play, and with a win would share a three-way tie for first place in the league along with ETSU and Furman. While the Bucs would be the No. 1 seed with a win on Monday, they would drop to the No. 3 seed due to tiebreakers behind Furman and UNCG.  

Those unable to attend the game in Greensboro will be able to watch 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. Meanwhile, ETSUBucs.com will also provide live stats during the game.

The Bucs, who are currently ranked 11th in the most recent CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major national poll, are currently enjoying their longest win streak of the season with six straight victories heading into this matchup with the Spartans.

For more on Monday’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. UNC Greensboro

The Bucs hold a 14-10 lead in the all-time series against the Spartans, having won three of the last four meetings ... However, the Bucs did drop the last meeting back on Jan. 12 at Freedom Hall, 83-79.


Last time out vs. UNC Greensboro

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Jan. 12, 2017) – It took an 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 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, while teammates Diante Baldwin and Marvin Smith added 15 and 10 points, respectively. 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.


Last time out

CULLOWHEE, N.C. (Feb. 25, 2017) – The ETSU men’s basketball team never allowed Western Carolina to even entertain thoughts of an upset.  ... Holding an opponent to its lowest point total in a first half this season, the Buccaneers took a 32-12 halftime lead and led wire-to-wire in a 68-52 win over the Catamounts at the Ramsey Center. Senior guard T.J. Cromer (Albany, Ga.) scored a game high 18 points, while senior forward Tevin Glass (Norcross, Ga.) and junior forward David Burrell (Milwaukee) added 14 and 11 points, respectively, to lead the Bucs’ effort. ...           With the win, ETSU (24-6 overall, 14-3 SoCon) locked up at least a share of the SoCon championship, marking the program’s first regular season title since the 2006-07 season in the Atlantic Sun Conference. The win also sets up a showdown for the Bucs at UNC Greensboro on Monday night with an outright SoCon title on the line. ...    The ETSU defense was simply stifling in the first half, holding the Catamounts to just 12 points and a 23 percent shooting percentage (6-of-26) from the floor. Forcing 11 turnovers and outscoring WCU 13-0 on those miscues, the Bucs used a 17-0 offensive run midway through the half to build a 23-4 lead. ... From there, the Bucs maintained that advantage before Cromer capped the half with a 3-pointer to make it 32-12 at the break. It took the Catamounts 17 minutes of action to reach double figures.


Bucs currently ranked 11th by CollegeInsider.com

With their 22-6 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 (16th), Chattanooga (20th), UNCG (24th).


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. Marcus Reese (1981-84)................................... 1,157
  2. Alvin West (1988-91)........................................ 1,115
  3. T.J. Cromer (2015-present)............................... 1,104
  4. Major Geer (1988-91)....................................... 1,094
  5. Ben Rhoda (2002-06)........................................ 1,071
  6. Herb Weaver (1953-56)..................................... 1064
  7. Jalen Riley (2013-15)......................................... 1,056
  8. A.J. Merriweather (2013-present)....................... 1,038
  9. Willie Malone (1962-64).................................... 1,037

T-35. Andre Motley (1980-83)................................. 1,031

T-35. Adam Sollazzo (2008-2012)........................... 1,031

  1. Travis Strong (2003-08).................................... 1,030


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 a remarkable 9th nationally at 49.6 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, and are in the Top 20 in six categories, including field goal percentage, free throw attempts, scoring margin, steals per game, total steals turnovers forced and win/loss percentage  ...  A complete list of the Bucs current position in the national statistics can be found to the left of this note.


SoCon Attendance Leaders

ETSU leads all SoCon teams in home attendance this season, as the Bucs averaging 4,054 fans in their 15 home games -- a total of 60,809 fans ... In fact, the Bucs three times sold out their home of Freedom Hall, playing before 6,149 fans in each of those contests.


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 13-0 ... ETSU’s last loss when scoring over 80 points came last year when they fell 104-81 to Oakland in the Vegas 16.


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


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

At 24-6 so far this season, the Bucs are having their best season 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.


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 30 games of the year, the Bucs’ bench players have outscored their opponents in 22 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 7.0 points per game this year, and David Burrell (Milwaukee), who is averaging 7.9 points and 3.4 rebounds a game, have also provided much-needed production.


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.


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.