November 10, 20171st2ndFinal
EAST TENNESSEE STATE323163
Northern Kentucky414081
Stats at a GlanceETSUNKU-M
FG Percentage.367 (22-60) .409 (27-66)
3P FG Percentage.111 (2-18) .273 (9-33)
FT Percentage.708 (17-24) .857 (18-21)
Offensive Rebounds1311
Defensive Rebounds3029
Total Rebounds4340
Turnovers2014
Steals89
Bench Points3519
LeadersETSUNKU-M
PointsDesonta Bradford - 15
MCDONALD - 22
ReboundsMladen Armus - 10
MCDONALD - 10
AssistsJalan McCloud - 2
HOLLAND II - 5
FAULKNER - 5
StealsBo Hodges - 2
Jalan McCloud - 2
Desonta Bradford - 2
HOLLAND II - 3
BlocksDavid Burrell - 2
Desonta Bradford - 2
MCDONALD - 1
GARRETT - 1
WALTON - 1
ETSU men set to open season Friday at NKU
The ETSU men's basketball team's senior class is ready to open the 2017-18 season.
ETSU men set to open season Friday at NKU
Thursday, November 9, 2017

HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. (Nov. 9, 2017) – In a matchup of two of last season’s top mid-major programs, the ETSU men’s basketball team will travel to face Northern Kentucky Friday night in the 2017-18 season opener for both teams. Tip is set for 7 p.m. inside BB&T Arena.

The game will air via live video streaming courtesy of ESPN3.com, and the Buccaneer Sports Network will have the live broadcast of the game on its radio affiliates and through the live link at ETSUBucs.com.

The Buccaneers, who captured the 2016-17 Southern Conference title a year ago and made the program’s 10th trip all time to the NCAA Tournament, will face a Norse team that won the Horizon League a year ago and also played in the NCAAs. This year, NKU is currently ranked 11th in the preseason CollegeInsider Mid-Major poll, while the Bucs are receiving votes in that ranking.

Coming into the contest, the biggest questions for the Bucs will surround replacing four starters and 62 percent of the team’s offensive production from a year ago. Preseason All-SoCon pick Desonta Bradford is the team’s lone returning starter, but head coach Steve Forbes – who enters his third season with the Bucs have posted a SoCon best 51 victories over his first two seasons – has reloaded the roster with a bevy of true freshman and junior college talent.

For more on Friday night’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 2017-18 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

When Steve Forbes was hired as the men’s basketball coach at ETSU on March 31, 2015, he promised that the Buccaneers would have a program of “first, best and most.” ... Less than two years later, Forbes made good on that guarantee as he guided the 2016-17 ETSU men’s basketball team to a 27-win season, both a Southern Conference regular season and tournament title, and a 10th trip all-time to the NCAA Tournament  ...  Overall, the Bucs have combined to win more games than any other program in the SoCon over the last two years (51) and have made back-to-back appearances in the league’s tournament championship game ... As the squad enters the 2017-18 season, the momentum and excitement around the program are high, but there will be challenges. ... Graduating four of its starting five players from a year ago, the Bucs have lost 62 percent of its offensive production from a year ago, along with its two best interior post defender.

 

The series vs. Northern Kentucky

Tonight’s game is a rematch of former Atlantic Sun Conference foes ... During the 2012-13 and 2013-14 seasons, the Bucs and Norse met four times, with ETSU holding a 3-1 advantage in the series ... The last meeting came on Feb. 6, 2014, with ETSU winning in Highland Heights, 64-50 for its second straight win in the series. ... Since that time, the Bucs moved on to the Southern Conference, with NKU leaving the A-Sun for the Horizon League.

 

Last time out against Northern Kentucky

HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. (Feb. 6, 2014) – Just when the ETSU men’s basketball team looked like it was “pressing” on offense, it was the Buccaneers’ pressing defense that led to a victory. ... By utilizing a full-court defense midway through the second half, a lethargic ETSU team found new life and overcame a seven-point deficit to drop Northern Kentucky 64-50 in Atlantic Sun Conference play at the Bank of Kentucky Center. ... The Bucs were led by junior guard Rashawn Rembert (Tampa, Fla.), who scored 12 of his game-high 20 points in the second half, as ETSU improved to 13-11 overall, 6-5 on the season. ... Along with Rembert, the Bucs got 16 points from junior guard Jalen Riley (Racine, Wisc.), while freshman guard A.J. Merriweather (Jackson) nearly posted a double-double with nine points and 11 rebounds on the night. The Bucs’ pressure kept NKU from being efficient on offense, as the Norse finished the game shooting 33 percent from the field. In addition, ETSU forced 11 turnovers on eight steals, and won the rebounding battle, 35-34. ... The story of the first half was the disappearance of ETSU’s offense midway through the first 20 minutes. After building a lead of 24-18 on a 3-pointer by Riley with the 8:05 mark, the Bucs did not score again and looked on as Northern Kentucky went on a 15-0 run to close out the half and lead 33-24 at the break.

 

Last time out

ORLANDO, Fla. (March 16, 2017) -- A magical season for the ETSU men’s basketball team came to an end in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, as the No. 13-seeded Buccaneers dropped an 80-65 contest to the No. 4-seeded Florida Gators inside the Amway Center. ... When a 3-pointer by senior guard T.J. Cromer (Albany, Ga.) on the first play of the second half gave ETSU its first lead of the game at 37-35, the large contingent of Bucs’ fans that traveled to Orlando roared their approval. ... However, over the next 10 minutes of play, the Bucs would connect on only one field goal and looked on as the Gators pulled away to a 16-point lead and never looked back. ... With the loss, the Bucs end their season with a 27-8 record, a mark that features the second highest win total in school history. Meanwhile, the Gators improved to 25-8 and move on to face No. 5 seed Virginia in the second round on Saturday. ... For the game, Cromer finished his career with a team high 19 points, while junior forward David Burrell (Milwaukee) netted 11. Meanwhile, Florida got a game high 24 points from Devin Robinson, while both Kasey Hill and Chris Chiozza finished with 14 points each. ... While the final result was not good for ETSU, the Bucs did stand toe-to-toe with the Gators for the first 25 minutes of play. ... In the first half – while the Bucs struggled with some early turnovers – Florida took advantage by cashing in on several transition scores, taking a 14-6 lead five minutes into the game. The Gators’ cushion remained eight midway through the half when the Bucs woke up offensively with a 14-6 run powered by eight straight points from Burrell, which included two 3-pointers, tying the game at 28.     ... The contest stayed close the remainder of the half, with the Bucs scoring their final bucket of the opening 20 minutes on a layup by Cromer, making it 33-32 in favor of the Gators at the break. Before the intermission, ETSU shot 48 percent from the floor and got a team best 10 points from Cromer. Meanwhile, the Gators were just 1-of-10 from 3-point range, but were 8-of-13 from the free throw line while the Bucs did not take a shot at the charity stripe the entire half. ... After the break, the Bucs took their first lead of the game by opening the half with a 3-pointer by Cromer to make it 35-33. Unfortunately for the Bucs, the Gators responded with three straight 3-pointers of their own to manufacture a 9-0 run and retake a 44-37 advantage with 15 minutes left in regulation. ... At this point, the decisive stretch of the game doomed ETSU. In all, the Bucs would go from the 17:53 mark of the second half to the 7:40 mark with just one field goal – a 3-pointer by junior guard Jermaine Long (New Orleans) – as the Florida lead only grew, capping out at 59-43. ETSU cut the Gator advantage to 10 at 62-52 and had a chance to get to within single digits following a Florida turnover with four minutes left, but the Bucs were unable to convert on the other end of the floor and the Gators were never threatened again. ... For the game, Florida held ETSU to 40 percent shooting and forced 17 turnovers on 12 steals. They also held a sizeable advantage for points off turnovers (20-5) and fast break points (18-2), scoring 47 points in the second half, the highest total relinquished by the ETSU defense all season.

 

Bradford named preseason All-SoCon, Bucs picked 4th

ETSU senior guard Desonta Bradford (Humboldt) was selected to the Preseason All-Southern Conference team by the league’s coaches, and the Buccaneers were picked to finish fourth in both the coaches and media polls released by the SoCon offices earlier this year ... ETSU, the reigning SoCon tournament champion, was selected fourth in both polls, finishing one point behind Furman in the coaches poll with 64 points and two first-place votes, and garnering 178 points and four first-place votes in the media poll. The Bucs, who earned a share of last year’s regular-season title at 27-8 overall and 14-4 in the league, put Bradford, their lone returning starter from last year’s squad, on the preseason all-conference team.

 

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 to help give ETSU a jolt of competitive talent ... In 2015-16, Cincinnati transfer Ge’Lawn Guyn (Lexington, Ky.) was one of these players for the Bucs, while last year Indiana transfer Hanner Mosquera-Perea (Istmina, Colombia) and Wichita State transfer Tevin Glass (Norcross, Ga.) provided ETSU with a single-season boost of talent during the 2016-17 campaign ... This year, guard Jalan McCloud (Forth Worth, Texas) is carrying on the tradition after transfering into ETSU from Texas Western Southern.

Bucs ranking among nation’s best statistically

The Bucs ranked highly in multiple NCAA statistical categories a year ago. A complete list of the Bucs final position in the national statistics can be found to the left of this note.

 

2017-18 ETSU squad among the best ever at ETSU

Along with making program history thanks to a 10th trip all-time to the NCAAs and another conference title, last year’s ETSU team also ranked among the best teams ever in multiple single season statistical categories. They included:

Wins................................................................. T-2nd, 27

Free throws made.............................................. 2nd, 597

Blocked shots.................................................... 2nd, 162

Points............................................................... 4th, 2782

Assists............................................................... 4th, 516

Scoring margin................................................ T-4th, +9.8

Field goals made................................................. 4th, 960

Field goal percentage......................................... 6th, .488

3-pt. FG made.................................................... 6th, 265

Rebounding margin............................................ 6th, +4.2

3-pt. FG percentage........................................ T-4th, .382

Winning Percentage........................................... 8th, .771

Rebounds...................................................... T-9th, 1269

 

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

 

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 posted back-to-back seasons with wins over teams from “Power 5” Conferences ... The Bucs dropped Atlantic Coast Conference foe Georgia Tech in 2015-16, and followed that victory with a win over Mississippi State in 2016-17 ... 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 over an SEC foe since dropping the same Bulldogs back in 2010.

 

Bucs among nation’s best in attendance growth

The ETSU men’s basketball team continues to reap good news from its historic 2016-17 season, learning earlier this year that the program posted the nation’s 15th best increase for average attendance from the previous year. ... The Bucs, who averaged 3,065 fans a game in 2015-16, watched as that number ballooned to 4,053 fans per game during the team’s championship run to the NCAA Tournament in 2016-17. ETSU ultimately led the Southern Conference in average attendance per game – selling out three games during the season versus Tennessee, Chattanooga and Furman – and was just outside of the Top 100 in overall attendance in the country out of 347 Division I teams.

 

Junior transfer Rodriguez to miss season

ETSU men’s basketball head coach Steve Forbes announced prior to the start of the regular season that junior forward Jeromy Rodriguez (Santiago, D.R.) will undergo a medical procedure and will miss the 2017-18 season. ... “This course of action is what’s best for Jeromy now and in the future,” Forbes said. “We will miss not having him on the court this year, but look forward to him joining us back on the court next season.” ... Rodriguez will still have two years of eligibility remaining when he returns to the roster in 2018-19.

 

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.