March 16, 20171st2ndFinal
ETSU323365
Florida334780
Stats at a GlanceETSUUF
FG Percentage.403 (25-62) .481 (26-54)
3P FG Percentage.375 (9-24) .318 (7-22)
FT Percentage.600 (6-10) .778 (21-27)
Offensive Rebounds1312
Defensive Rebounds1926
Total Rebounds3238
Turnovers1715
Steals912
Bench Points1825
LeadersETSUUF
PointsT.J. CROMER - 19
ROBINSON - 24
ReboundsTEVIN GLASS - 9
HAYES - 7
ROBINSON - 7
AssistsJERMAINE LONG - 6
HILL - 5
StealsDESONTA BRADFORD - 2
H. MOSQUERA-PEREA - 2
A.J. MERRIWEATHER - 2
HAYES - 6
BlocksHAYES - 2
ROBINSON - 2
No. 13 Bucs open NCAAs Thursday vs. No. 4 Florida
The ETSU men's basketball team will begin its 10th trip to March Madness on Thursday against Florida.
No. 13 Bucs open NCAAs Thursday vs. No. 4 Florida
Thursday, March 16, 2017

ORLANDO, Fla. (March 15, 2017) – With hopes of picking off another major program in the NCAA Tournament, the ETSU men’s basketball team makes its 10th overall trip to March Madness on Thursday, as the No. 13-seeded Buccaneers (27-7) take on No. 4-seeded Florida (24-8) at approximately 3:10 p.m. at the Amway Center.

The contest will be broadcast live to a national television audience on Tru TV, with the always present possibility of being aired on the main CBS network throughout the game. Fans can also listen live via the Buccaneer Sports Network’s radio broadcast, while Westwood One affiliated stations across the country will also carry the game on traditional and satellite radio.

After claiming both the 2017 Southern Conference regular season and tournament championships, the Buccaneers -- who have made previous trips to the NCAAs in 1968, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 2003, 2004, 2009 and 2010 – enter this contest as an upset pick by many national pundits. The Bucs have won 13 of their last 15 games, including a current three-game winning streak, while the Gators have lost three of their last four contests.

The Bucs do have a history of making news in the NCAA Tournament, holding first round wins over Florida State (1968) and Arizona (1992), while also giving others teams a significant scare through the years. In 1989, the 16th-seeded Bucs lost by just one point to No. 1 Oklahoma, and the team later lost three-point games to Iowa (1991), Wake Forest (2003) and Cincinnati (2004).

This season, the Buccaneers -- under second-year head coach Steve Forbes -- are 27-7 overall, with the second most wins in school history. Led by a talented group comprised of four-year players, junior college contributors and major program transfers, this edition of the Buccaneers once again take aim at making another run in the NCAAs.

 

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.

 

ETSU in the NCAA Tournament

The Buccaneers are making their 10th trip all-time and their second straight visit to the NCAA Tournament ... ETSU first made the NCAA postseason in 1968, defeating Florida State before being eliminated by losses to Ohio State and Marquette ... The Bucs later made trips to the NCAA Tournament in 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 2003, 2004, 2009 and 2010 ... Highlights for ETSU in the tournament include wins over Florida State (1968) and Arizona (1992) in the first round, as well as a near miss as the No. 16 seed in 1989, losing to Oklahoma by one point in that game ... The Bucs have also had near-miss upsets in four other trips to the NCAAs, losing by just three points to Iowa (1991), Wake Forest (2003) and Cincinnati (2004), and also giving No. 1 Pittsburgh a in 2009 before falling 72-62 ... For more ETSU NCAA History, see Pages 10-12 of this posteason guide.

 

Last time out

ASHEVILLE, N.C. (March 6, 2017) – The Buccaneers are going dancing! ... When Steve Forbes was hired as the men’s basketball coach at ETSU on March 31, 2015, he promised that the Bucs would have a program of “first, best and most.” Less than two years later, Forbes made good on that guarantee.

... Avenging two losses to UNC Greensboro during the regular season, the ETSU men’s basketball program made history, dropping the Spartans 79-74 in the championship game of the Southern Conference Tournament and earning the program’s 10th trip all-time to the NCAA Tournament. ... In front of a sold out crowd dominated by ETSU fans and before a national television audience on ESPN, the 2016-17 Bucs improved to 27-7 on the season and are now tied for second on the program’s all-time list for wins in a season. ... Four players scored in double figures for the Bucs, with senior T.J. Cromer (Albany, Ga.) netting a team-high 23 points and going 11-of-11 at the free throw line, while senior A.J. Merriweather (Jackson) added 13 on 5-of-5 shooting. Hanner Mosquera-Pera (Istmina, Colombia) and Tevin Glass (Norcross, Ga.) each finished with 12, while David Burrell (Milwaukee, Wis.) pitched in with five points and tied the single-game tournament record with six blocks. Glass just missed a double-double as he pulled down nine rebounds.

 

The series vs. Florida

This will be the first meeting between the Bucs and Gators in over 37 years ... Having met four times from 1970 to 1980, Florida holds a 4-0 record over ETSU.

 

Last time out in the NCAAs

NEW ORLEANS (March 18, 2010) - Giving up a season high 54 points in the first half and facing a team that was hitting on all cylinders offensively, the 16th-seeded ETSU men’s basketball team had no answers for No. 1 seed Kentucky in the first round of the NCAA Tournament at the New Orleans Arena. ... The Wildcats, considered by many to be the most talented team in the tournament, certainly looked and played like a team destined to win a national championship en route to a 100-71 victory over the Buccaneers. It was the largest deficit in ETSU’s nine trips to March Madness. ... Kentucky (33-2) definitely shot the ball much better than the Bucs had expected, making a season high 15 3-pointers, shooting 52 percent from the field, and 46 percent from beyond the arc. In addition, the Wildcats posted an impressive 27 assists on 31 made field goals.

 

Cromer goes for 41, continues to build legacy

Senior guard T.J. Cromer (Albany, Ga.) has certainly made his last season in Johnson City a historic one ... Currently, with 651 points on the year, Cromer ranks fifth on the ETSU all-time single-season scoring list, and is just 19 points away from moving into third place in that ranking ... In addition, he has 103 made 3-pointers on the year, which ranks second all-time and is just five makes away from the top spot on that list ... In the SoCon Tournament, Cromer’s 41 points in a win over Samford was the first 40-plus effort in a SoCon Tournament game since Steph Curry scored 43 in a win during the 2009 event, and it was the first 40-plus effort by a Buccaneer since Tim Smith (Newport News, Va.) accomplished the feat in 2005. ... In that 41-point effort, Cromer’s nine made 3-pointers ranked second in school history and tied the SoCon Tournament mark for threes in a game.  

 

ETSU’s own version of “one-and-done”

While Power 5 programs such as Kentucky and Duke have defined the term “one-and-done” to describe freshmen that play a single season before moving on to the NBA, ETSU has created its own version of “one-and-done” which relies on fifth-year graduate players and other transfers ... Last year, Cincinnati transfer Ge’Lawn Guyn (Lexington, Ky.) was one of these players for the Bucs, while this year Indiana transfer Hanner Mosquera-Perea (Istmina, Colombia) and Wichita State transfer Tevin Glass (Norcross, Ga.) have provided ETSU with a single-season boost of talent.  

 

Bucs set program free throw record

With a 19-for-19 effort at the free throw line in the SoCon Tournament title game win over UNCG, the Buccaneers set a new program record for free throw percentage in a game ... The previous record of 18-for-18 was set against Jacksonville in a game on Feb. 20, 2014.

 

Bradford, Cromer earn All-SoCon honors

ETSU senior guard T.J. Cromer (Albany, Ga.) and junior guard Desonta Bradford (Humboldt) brought home their share of hardware during the SoCon Tournament weekend ... Both players were named to the All-SoCon Tournament first-team, with Cromer being named MVP of the event ... Those awards came after Cromer was 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 earlier in the week.

 

Bucs currently ranked 8th by CollegeInsider.com

With their 27-7 record, the Bucs were 8th in the most recent CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Poll at the time of this notes package production ... This most recent poll was released on Monday, March 6.

 

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. Charlie Stuart (1974-77)................................... 1,217
  2. Kevin Tiggs (2007-09)....................................... 1,197
  3. T.J. Cromer (2015-present)............................... 1,187
  4. Wes Stallings (1983-86).................................... 1,181
  5. Micah Williams (2006-11).................................. 1,180
  6. Hal Morrison (1951-54)..................................... 1,171
  7. Marcus Reese (1981-84)................................... 1,157
  8. Alvin West (1988-91)........................................ 1,115
  9. Major Geer (1988-91)....................................... 1,094
  10. A.J. Merriweather (2013-present)....................... 1,076
  11. Ben Rhoda (2002-06)........................................ 1,071

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 49.1 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 three categories, including field goal percentage, free throw attempts and steals pre game ...  A complete list of the Bucs current position in the national statistics can be found to the left of this note.

 

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

At 27-7 so far this season, the Bucs are one win shy of the school record for victories (28), and are having their best season since the 2003-04 ETSU team finished the regular season and tournament with five losses ... That group 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 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 929 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 14-0 ... 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 first 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 34 games of the year, the Bucs’ bench players have outscored their opponents in 25 of those contests and have made major impacts on the Bucs’ success ... For example, junior David Burrell (Milwaukee) came off the bench to spark the Bucs’ win over UNCG in the SoCon final, providing a tournament record six blocks in just 19 minutes of action, with all those blocks coming in the second half.

 

Forbes makes USA Today list of “coaches on the rise”

ETSU head men’s basketball coach Steve Forbes was 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 ... In all, the Bucs’ seven-player recruiting class for this year included five junior college additions.