November 13, 20171st2ndFinal
East Tennessee State393776
Savannah State313061
Stats at a GlanceETSUSSU
FG Percentage.431 (28-65) .309 (17-55)
3P FG Percentage.314 (11-35) .212 (7-33)
FT Percentage.750 (9-12) .667 (20-30)
Offensive Rebounds1213
Defensive Rebounds3227
Total Rebounds4440
Turnovers2020
Steals86
Bench Points4922
LeadersETSUSSU
PointsDevontavius Payne - 28
DASENT - 12
ReboundsDavid Burrell - 12
GLENN - 6
TEAM - 6
AssistsDesonta Bradford - 8
DASENT - 3
FENNER - 3
StealsDesonta Bradford - 3
SELLERS - 2
BlocksDavid Burrell - 2
ORIZU - 1
GLENN - 1
Savannah State next up for Bucs Monday night
Senior guard Desonta Bradford had a team high 15 points in the Bucs opener at Northern Kentucky.
Savannah State next up for Bucs Monday night
Sunday, November 12, 2017

SAVANNAH, Ga. (Nov. 12, 2017) – Looking to secure its first win of the season, the ETSU men’s basketball team will return to the hardwood on the road Monday night, taking on non-conference foe Savannah State. Tip is set for 7 p.m. inside Tiger Arena.

The Buccaneer Sports Network will have the live broadcast of the game on its radio affiliates and through the live link at ETSUBucs.com. In addition, live stats will also be available by clicking the link to the right of this story.

The Bucs, 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 Savannah State team which it defeated last season in Johnson City. However, the Bucs are coming off a season-opening loss at Northern Kentucky last Friday night.

For more on Monday 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. Savannah State

This will be only the second meeting between the Bucs and Tigers, with ETSU holding a 1-0 lead in the series after dropping Savannah State 92-71 last season back on Dec. 29, 2016 inside Freedom Hall.

 

Last time out against Savannah State

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Dec. 29, 2016) – Playing its final pre-conference tune-up game of the early season, the ETSU men’s basketball team stymied Savannah State’s high-powered offense and got a career high 30 points from senior guard T.J. Cromer (Albany, Ga.) on way to a 92-71 win over the Tigers inside Freedom Hall. ... Facing a team that entered the game leading the nation in 3-pointers made and averaged 86.2 points per game, the Bucs held the Tigers 15 points below their season average for points. While Savannah State would hit 15 3-pointers on the night, the Bucs nearly matched that number with a season high 14 makes themselves and set a season high with 24 assists on 31 made shots from the floor. ... Along with Cromer, the Bucs also got 17 points from junior guard Devontavius Payne (Carbondale, Ill.), while senior post Hanner Mosquera-Perea (Istmina, Colombia) and senior guard A.J. Merriweather (Jackson) netted 13 and 11 points, respectively. Meanwhile, freshman guard Jason Williams (Detroit) also played well, collecting a game high six assist and two steals on the night. ... ETSU came out on fire offensively in the first half, shooting over 60 percent from the field and 50 percent from the 3-point arc on way to building a 19-point lead at 26-7 with 13 minutes left before the intermission. However, the Bucs went cold at that point, suffering through a five-minute stretch that saw them make just one field goal, allowing the Tigers to outscore them 21-10 over a particular stretch and make it 36-28 with 3:58 left in the first half. ... The Bucs regrouped at that point to finish the half up by 11 at 44-33. Payne was the highlight of the first half, posting a season high four 3-pointers and leading all scorers with 14 points in the opening 20 minutes of play. ETSU also held a 16-8 edge on points in the paint and a 24-10 advantage in bench points in the first half. ... After the break, the Tigers would cut the lead to nine with the first basket of the second half, making it 44-35. However, that would be as close as they would get the rest of the way, as Cromer – who scored just five points in five minutes of play in the first half – would find his range and score 15 of the Bucs’ first 21 points in the second half.

 

Last time out

In a season-opening contest between two NCAA Tournament teams from a year ago, the squad replacing four starters looked the part against a team that returned the majority of its weapons. ... With its starting lineup from a year ago still intact and featuring preseason Horizon League Player of the Year Drew McDonald, who scored a game high 22 points, the Northern Kentucky men’s basketball team put together a more fluid and complete effort to cruise past ETSU 81-63 at BB&T Arena. ... These same two teams will meet again later this year on Dec. 6 at Freedom Hall in Johnson City. ... The stats certainly told the story on this night, as the Bucs committed 20 turnovers and managed only three assists. ETSU was also just 2-of-18 from 3-point range, as senior David Burrell (Milwaukee) was held to only two points and two rebounds, and ETSU’s starting lineup combined to go just 10-of-29 from the field. Meanwhile, NKU dished out 17 assists and committed just 14 turnovers, with McDonald joined in double figures by Lavone Holland and Carson Williams with 16 and 15 points, respectively.  ... For the Bucs, preseason All-Southern Conference pick Desonta Bradford (Humboldt) had a team high 15 points, while newcomers Jalan McCloud (Fort Worth, Texas) and Kanayo Obi-Rapu (Greensboro, N.C.) collected 11 and 10 points, respectively. Another couple bright spots for the Bucs included freshman post Mladen Armus (Belgrade, Serbia) grabbing a team high 10 rebounds and scoring seven points, while fellow freshman guard Bo Hodges (Nashville) had six boards and seven points.

 

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.

 

Newcomers bring production in opener

Despite the loss in the season opener at Northern Kentucky, newcomers Jalan McCloud (Fort Worth, Texas), Mladen Armus (Belgrade, Serbia) and

Bo Hodges (Nashville) provided glimpses of their potential. ... McCloud -- a fifth year graduate transfer -- posted a double digit scoring effort with 11 points, while grabbing six rebounds, dishing out two assists and grabbing two steals. ... Meanwhile, freshmen Armus and Hodges produced as well, with Armus collecting a team high 10 rebounds and scoring seven points, while Hodges scored seven points and six boards.

 

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

 

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

 

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.

 

Three game road swings a challenge for Bucs

As the Bucs open the season with a three game road swing, it won’t be the last time ETSU faces that challenge this year. ... In fact, the Bucs will open SoCon play with three straight road games, and then end the season with three more league games away from home.

 

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.