March 04, 20171st2ndFinal
Mercer353166
ETSU343973
Stats at a GlanceMERETSU
FG Percentage.361 (22-61) .463 (25-54)
3P FG Percentage.348 (8-23) .308 (4-13)
FT Percentage1.000 (14-14) .679 (19-28)
Offensive Rebounds98
Defensive Rebounds2528
Total Rebounds3436
Turnovers77
Steals44
Bench Points1121
LeadersMERETSU
PointsDemetre Rivers - 18
DESONTA BRADFORD - 21
ReboundsDesmond Ringer - 8
Stephon Jelks - 8
DEVONTAVIUS PAYNE - 7
AssistsJordan Strawberry - 3
T.J. CROMER - 5
StealsRashad Lewis - 3
T.J. CROMER - 3
BlocksStephon Jelks - 2
TEVIN GLASS - 3
Mercer awaits as Bucs open SoCon Tourney Saturday
Junior forward David Burrell reacts to the crowd during the Bucs' home win over Furman earlier this year.
Mercer awaits as Bucs open SoCon Tourney Saturday
Friday, March 3, 2017

ASHEVILLE, N.C. (March 3, 2017) – For the second straight year, the ETSU men’s basketball team will begin its run at the Southern Conference Tournament championship with a familiar opponent standing in the way – the Mercer Bears.

The Buccaneers, who enter this 2017 version of the tournament as co-Southern Conference regular season champions with a 24-7 overall mark and 14-4 league record, will begin play in the event on Saturday night at 8:30 p.m. inside the U.S. Cellular Center. Meanwhile, Mercer (15-16, 9-9 SoCon) will be looking to end its current five-game losing streak to ETSU. The Bears are also trying to finally break through against the Bucs in postseason tournament play, where ETSU holds a 2-0 all-time record.

ETSU fans looking to make the trip to Asheville can learn more about game day festivities and tickets by clicking here. Meanwhile, fans unable to be at the tournament in person can watch the games live via 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.

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 2017 postseason, 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.

 

Bucs ready to head back to Asheville

The ETSU men’s basketball team has enjoyed its share of success at the SoCon Men’s Basketball Tournament ... Six times the Bucs won the championship, which included four straight titles from 1989-92 and back-to-back championships in 2003 and 2004 ... While the Bucs are 32-20 all-time in the SoCon Tournament, their time in Asheville’s U.S. Cellular Center was particularly enjoyable -- including a string of 14 straight wins from 1989 to 1993 ... In fact, the Bucs played in the SoCon title game five straight years -- winning four of those championship appearances. ... In all, the Bucs have made six championship game appearances inside the U.S. Cellular Center, including a trip to the title back last season in 2016. 

 

ETSU hoping to add another NCAA trip

Having already made nine trips to the NCAA Tournament in its history, the ETSU men’s basketball team would like to reach double figures by adding another conference tournament trophy to its treasure chest ... The most memorable stretch in school history was from 1989 to 1992, when the Bucs made four straight trips to the NCAAS, were ranked in the Top 10 nationally (1991), and defeated Arizona in the NCAA first round in 1992 ... The Bucs only other trip prior to that run came in 1968 ... Other trips to the NCAAs came in 2003, along with three more berths in 2004, 2009 and 2010.

 

Last time out

GREENSBORO, N.C. (Feb. 27, 2017) – The ETSU men’s basketball team had to settle for a share of the Southern Conference regular season title, but the real goal still lies ahead later this week at the league tournament in Asheville, N.C. ... Having rallied from a 16-point, second-half deficit to tie the game with four minutes left in regulation, the Buccaneers’ momentum faded down the stretch as SoCon foe UNC Greensboro dropped the Bucs 72-66 inside the Greensboro Coliseum. ... With the loss, the Bucs fell to 24-7 overall, 14-4 in SoCon play, while the Spartans improve to 23-8, 14-4. The outcome also led to a three-way tie for the SoCon regular season title, with UNCG earning the No. 1 seed, Furman the No. 2 seed, and ETSU the No. 3 seed. The Bucs will now face Mercer in the quarterfinals of the league tournament Saturday at 8:30 p.m. ... The Bucs were led offensively by the inside duo of senior forwards Hanner Mosquera-Perea (Istmina, Colombia) and Tevin Glass (Norcross, Ga.), who combined to score 32 points, with Mosquera-Perea netting a team high 18 points and Glass adding 14. In addition, senior A.J. Merriweather (Jackson) finished with 13. ... For UNC Greensboro, guard Francis Alonso scored a game high 23 points, while forward RJ White finished with a double-double.

 

The series vs. Mercer

The Bucs lead the all-time series over Mercer 18-8 ... The majority of the past 26 matchups were played over a nine-year span from 2005-2014, as the two teams were previously members of the Atlantic Sun Conference ... The Bucs have won the last five meetings between the teams, including a 88-71 win over the Bears last month in Johnson City. ... The Bucs are also 2-0 all-time against the Bears in tournament play, beating them once in the A-Sun title game in 2010, and in the first round of the SoCon Tournament in 2016.

 

Last time out vs. Mercer

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Feb. 11, 2017) – T.J. Cromer (Albany, Ga.) and A.J. Merriweather (Jackson, Tenn.) wasted little time reaching the 1,000-point milestone. ... The Buccaneer senior duo both reached their respective mark in the first four minutes of the contest as ETSU opened on a 22-8 run en route to downing Mercer, 88-71, in front of 5,225 fans on inside Freedom Hall.  ... Cromer entered the game needing only five points to reach the club, while Merriweather needed six and they combined for 38 points on 14-of-22 shooting. Cromer finished with 28 points and sits 36th all-time with 1,023 career points, while Merriweather is 39th with 1,004 career points. Cromer also added eight rebounds and six assists in 31 minutes. Ironically, it was Cromer’s second assist of the night which resulted in Merriweather’s 1,000th career point as the Jackson, Tenn. native drained his three-pointer at the 16:02 mark, while Cromer’s clinching bucket came one minute earlier. ... Meanwhile, juniors Devontavius Payne (Carbondale, Ill.) and Desonta Bradford (Humboldt, Tenn.) also scored in double figures. Payne finished with 18 points and Bradford totaled 11 points, seven assists and three rebounds. ... ETSU – who extended its home win streak to five straight games – improved to 20-6, 10-3 in Southern Conference play. The Bucs have now posted back-to-back 20-win seasons in the Steve Forbes era, marking the fourth time in program history ETSU has accomplished the feat in consecutive seasons. The 20-win campaign marks the 12th time the Blue and Gold have reached the mark since the 1988-89 season.

 

Bradford, Cromer earn All-SoCon honors

SPARTANBURG, S.C. (March 1, 2017) – As teams around the Southern Conference anticipate the start of the men’s basketball tournament Friday in Asheville, N.C., the conference office announced Wednesday that ETSU senior guard T.J. Cromer (Albany, Ga.) has been named to the All-SoCon first team by both the coaches and media, while sophomore guard Desonta Bradford (Humblodt) earned third team honors from the coaches. ... Cromer, a 6-foot-3 shooting guard, earned all-league honors after leading the Buccaneers in scoring with 18.6 points per game, while also helping power the team to a share of the SoCon regular season title and an overall record of 24-7. In addition, Cromer ranks second in the league and 21st nationally by averaging 3.1 makes from 3-point range per game, while also averaging 3.3 assists per contest. ... Meanwhile, Bradford – the Bucs’ 6-foot-4 point guard – is second on the team with 10.4 points per contest and leads the squad with 4.0 assists per game. He has also collected 4.5 rebounds, 1.1 steals and nearly one block per contest.

 

Bucs currently ranked 10th by CollegeInsider.com

With their 24-7 record and current , 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 UNCG (20th) and Chattanooga (21st).

 

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 10th nationally at 49.3 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.

 

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)............................... 1,113
  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)....................... 1,051
  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 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 926 consecutive games. ... ETSU was 0-for-8 in that 1987 game.  ... The Bucs currently rank as the 7th longest streak in the NCAA.

 

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.

 

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.

 

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.